Randwick Councillors call on State Government to adopt design changes for CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) – the Dulwich Hill to Central extension opens – and the global light rail market reaches towards $7.5 billion – March 28th 2014

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UPDATE: Figures for the passenger carrying capacity of standard and articulated buses (i.e. “bendy buses” ) have been corrected in this article as indicated.

CBD Kingsford lightrail routeGreens Councillor Murray Matson supported the call for changes but also took aim at local critics who are attacking the feasibility of a properly implemented CSELR light rail system as the best public transport solution for Randwick.

He drew a link from yesterday’s successufl opening of the Dulwich Hill light rail extention to the local situation. He said that,

“The maths just don’t work for those trying to claim that buses can carry more passengers from Randwick into the CBD than light rail. A properly implemented CSELR incorperating Randwick Council’s called for changes will work as light rail works like the Dulwich Hill extension are booming internationally with the global market likely to reach $7.5 billion by next year.

He explained further today,

“The CSELR will move 300 passengers per light rail car against 75 58 for a standard bus and 115 88 for an articulated bus. The CSELR running on dedicated light rail only lanes has a clear capacity advantage over buses which are predicted to run into a saturation point in the CBD beyond which they will not be able to be forced. The light rail capacity on the other hand can be further pushed up to 600 per trip by hooking two CSELR cars together.”

Councillor Matson stated that it is a mistake to focus too heavily on a simplistic bus verse light rail argument because the CSELR was not intended to totally replace buses anyway. He elaborated,

“People focusing on this bus verse light rail issue are forgetting that buses carrying 6,000 passengers are actually going to be retained alongside the new light rail cars along Anzac Parade making it a hybrid bus/light rail system. This, with the extra 9,000 to be added by the better carrying capacity of the CSELR, will boost the overall capability to 15,000 in peak hour. This is better than the 10,000 currently carried by buses alone along Anzac Parade.”

Councillor Matson said that the main selling point for him on the advantages of an integrated bus/light rail over just a pure bus system was the flexibility added by the CSELR. He said,

“In high demand situations the Government plans to double the potential capacity of the hybrid bus/light rail line along Anzac Parade line to 24,000 passengers per hour by simply hooking two light rail cars together. You can’t hook two buses together.”

Councillor Matson refutes claims by another Councillor that light rail is in decline around the world. He says,

“Light rail is actually an international growth industry with the global market for it predicted by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) to reach $7.5 billion by next year. Yesterday’s opening of the new Dulwich Hill to Central Station extention is part of the trend.”

Councillor Matson supported this statement with the following quote from an industry observer made just today.

“GIA announces the release of a global report on Light Rail. Global light rail market is projected to reach $7.5 billion by the year 2015. The market is driven by increasing popularity of light rail transit across various regions, owing to easy accessibility, reliability, and fast transportation services. Increased traffic congestion, rise in oil prices, and growing environmental awareness are few other factors driving the market for light rail. Various cities with an existing light rail transit system are in the process of extending their network, while others, which currently do not have a LRT in place, are setting up or planning for light rail transits.” (source –  Friday, March 28, 2014 PRWEB)

Councillor Matson concluded by saying,

“Globally the world is turning to light rail as an effective public transport solution to congested cities and all Randwick City Councillors have a duty to recognise this. The historic task of the current  Randwick Councillors is not to oppose light rail but to demand that the State Government provides an improved plan that adopts Council’s called for design changes.”

BACKGROUND DETAIL

The Randwick-Botany Greens support light rail but want changes to the design of the announced CSELR project in order to protect trees and open space.

The carrying capacity of a standard Sydney bus is just 75 passengers at 1.86 passengers per square metre of floor space. The capacity of the new light rail cars will be better with 300 passengers at 2.51 per square metre (assuming a 45 metre long and 2.66 metre wide body).

But it is not just about comparing the carrying capacity of a bus verse a tram. It is also about how much space is taken up on our congested streets and how much more space has to be wasted between two vehicles that have to follow each other. Light rail has a clear advantage here because the more people you can fit into one extended vehicle length the better.

An additional advantage over buses is that two light rail vehicles can be linked together thus collectively taking up less space on the road by removing the space between the cars and moving 600 passengers while doing it. The best bus option available in Sydney is an articulated vehicle carrying just 115 passengers.