Sydney’s CBD has been sentenced to a future of congestion, noise, pollution and economic disadvantage by a Transport Plan recently released by the State Government
Like the State Plan it is a plan to deceive, using selective arguments and pages of spin to gloss over its defects.
Key to the plan is its rejection of light rail in favour of more buses, argued in a one-page pro-bus rationale which ignores both international trends and local experts who have made a strong case for light rail based on detailed research.
This will cost Sydney dearly in many ways, both economically and in terms of amenity. Here are just some of the compelling arguments in favour of light rail the state plan has ignored:
The CBD already suffers 7,400 buses per day and growth estimates predict this will increase to 9,400 by 2021.
One light rail set can replace three buses. Do the math! With a single driver, light rail has lower operating costs even while offering the convenience and efficiency of a conductor.
Sydney’s bus system is at capacity yet still carries fewer than half the passengers our trams carried in the 1940s.
Trams, although wider than buses, actually take up less road space because they travel on rails and do not meander between traffic lanes. Such predictability also makes trams much safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.
Their higher capacity would reduce or eliminate that bane of inner city bus travellers - standing helplessly at a stop while bus after bus roars past, full.
Buses are also subject to ‘bunching’ whereby buses on the same route catch each other so passengers suffer a feast-or-famine effect and waiting times can double from say ten to twenty minutes.
On the other hand, fewer trams travelling on their defined routes are far easier to regulate.
Buses cause much of the congestion they suffer from. Already in the CBD peaks, long lines of buses queue up nose to tail along George Street, with space for layovers at a premium.
Buses are far noisier than trams especially as they hurry to make up lost time, roaring along often only a metre or so from pedestrians. Read the rest of this entry »