Less light rail cars (lets call them trams) are needed to move passengers along Anzac Parade than the current number of buses according to the Randwick Light Rail Pre-feasibility Study of 2011 (RLRPS).
There are 133 buses per hour moving past Moore Park at peak time making it the busiest point on Anzac Parade (source page 33 RLRPS).
The Study found that it would require just 45 trams per hour to move the same number of passengers through this point. That means one tram roughly equals three buses.
This is because a tram can carry more than a standard twenty four metre long bus. The thirty metre long trams of Luas Ireland can 256 passengers each. Standard Sydney buses carry 72 and articulated buses 115.
OK, that is what Randwick Council, the racecourse and UNSW were proposing in 2011. What’s happening now?
Well, for a start the State Government’s CBD to Kingsford light rail line will use 45 metre long vehicles and not the 30 metre vehicles looked at in the Randwick study. This gives more capacity.
Furthermore it does not seem to be the Government’s intention to replace all of the current Anzac Parade buses with light rail. This would fit with the Government’s promise to maintain existing express buses from Randwick Council’s southern areas.
Last week the Government clarified its proposal by releasing the following figures. The existing bus capacity is given as 10,000 passengers per hour, which is roughly what the Randwick Study suggested in 2011.
The Government is proposing to keep enough buses operating for 6,000 passengers and then to add to that enough light rail to provide another 9,000 per hour. This way the existing public transport carrying capacity along Anzac Parade will be boosted to a total of 15,000 per hour.
The Government is claiming that there will be “light rail services every 4-5 minutes from Randwick and Kingsford; every 2-3 minutes after merging on Anzac Parade”. Is this achievable? A 45 metre tram car should carry 300 passengers. That means that it would indeed have to run every 2 minutes along the Moore Park bit of Anzac Parade to provide the Government’s target of 9,000 passengers per hour. This seems to be achievable to me.
So unless some sort of technical problem emerges, on face value it seems that the addition of light rail plus a reduced number of bus services is the solution to congestion in both Randwick and the CBD.