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Canberra Loves 40% rips into Andrew Barr over light rail

By johnboy - 27 August 2012 20

A new front opens in the electoral war with the normally Labor friendly “Canberra Loves 40%” giving Andrew Barr a serious kicking over perceived failings in his support for light rail.

Canberra Loves 40% spokesperson Phoebe Howe said, “The Minister’s response is very concerning and brings into question the capabilities of the ACT Treasurer, and whether the ACT Government can agree on their own priorities.”

“For years now, Canberrans have heard regularly from the ACT Government about the cost of Light Rail. If a Canberra resident writes to the Minister asking them to support Light Rail, they deserve better than a response implying that they haven’t thought about the expense.”

Having got our attention they let us know that this Thursday they’re holding a transport forum with Simon Corbell.

transport forum

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20 Responses to
Canberra Loves 40% rips into Andrew Barr over light rail
Felix the Cat 9:55 am 29 Aug 12

PA1 said :

The main point of Light Rail would be to replace the intertown routes (The main arteries of the network) which at peak can be very slow and crowded with a form of transport that would firstly has greater capacity and greater speed since it is usually on its own track rather than in the traffic. Light Rail would also reduce costs as there is less maintenance required and since it uses electricity rather than diesel also has lower fuel costs (In Melbourne the subsidy per passenger for trams is $1.94, whereas buses cost $4.95).

Peak hour is maybe 2 hours in the morning and couple more in the afternoon, so what happens with the LR for the rest of the day? Drive around empty like the buses do now? Might be low running cost because of no fuel (though at the rate electricity is rising it will match fuel soon) but you still need to pay a driver plus whatever other regular maintenance a tram requires, and of course put some money aside for future replacement trams. I doubt if many tourists have a want or need to go to any of the town centres, locals that don’t have a car would rather take a bus because they don’t first have to walk several kilometres to nearest town centre to catch it.

As much as I would like to see a LR/tram system for the novelty value it’s just not feasible from a dollars and cents business prospective.I cannot work out how anybody thinks it will be.

Dick Tracy 11:11 pm 28 Aug 12

Damien Haas said “It seems that Minister Barr has a form letter to send to peopel writing to him requesting that teh ALP deliver light rail. The response to Mr Hinchey is identical to that that ACT Light Rail sighted that was forwarded to us from another person (who did not wish to go public).

It is curious that Minister Barr is asking a member of the public for suggestions on how to deliver this infrastructure. i thought we elected MLA’s for their vision of how to make Canberra a better place.”

Why am I not surpirised that Barr, having just given away $0.8 million of rate payers money on some pre election pork barrelling with the motoring clubs, can only manage a form letter response with these guys. Irrespective of the merits, both are lazy gestures from a Treasurer who splashes the cash – remember the $ multi millions for the GWS AFL jerseys – without a clear vision for a better Canberra. So what is the Treasurer’s fix for crawling traffic and over flowing car parks ?

farnarkler 7:38 pm 28 Aug 12

Ok Mr Haas answer me this, how far is $800 million going to get you? Have you had a good look at the Gold Coast Rapid Transit website??? Their 13km light rail had a $949 million estimated project cost. $949 million in Canberra means you might get 17km which is about Gungahlin to Parliament house. If you want a Y axis light rail going from Tuggeranong through Woden and Civic to Belconnen and Gungahlin, it’s going to cost you about $3 billion (with the federal government putting in $1 billion). Where are you going to get that sort of cash???

PA1 7:22 pm 28 Aug 12

Felix the Cat said :

Supposing $800M or whatever the proposed cost for LR is this week just fell out of the sky and the rail line was built and the trains/trams were purchased it has to have patronage to make money. ACTION buses run on roads and routes can be revised as seen to be fit as new suburbs are built but LR is stuck on wherever the rail takes it, no flexibility. If you build it down the middle of Northbourne Ave it has to drive down the middle of Nothbourne Ave. it can’t detour into Lyneham or Ainslie or any other suburb or street unless a rail line is there. ACTION buses make a multi-million $ loss every year and yet they have the flexibility to drive on pretty much any road in any suburb they want (except some of the skinny ones in the newer suburbs), so how is LR going to be viable?

Flexibility of transport is a bit of a fallacy, as the main trip generators do not move (eg: Town centres). Most bus routes don’t even change too much from there original routes. What people want most is capacity, speed, reliability and frequency, which you can’t get from a bus route that is constantly changing.

The main point of Light Rail would be to replace the intertown routes (The main arteries of the network) which at peak can be very slow and crowded with a form of transport that would firstly has greater capacity and greater speed since it is usually on its own track rather than in the traffic. Light Rail would also reduce costs as there is less maintenance required and since it uses electricity rather than diesel also has lower fuel costs (In Melbourne the subsidy per passenger for trams is $1.94, whereas buses cost $4.95).

Although my personal preference would be a Automated Light Metro System (eg: Vancouver Skytrain)

Felix the Cat 4:13 pm 28 Aug 12

Supposing $800M or whatever the proposed cost for LR is this week just fell out of the sky and the rail line was built and the trains/trams were purchased it has to have patronage to make money. ACTION buses run on roads and routes can be revised as seen to be fit as new suburbs are built but LR is stuck on wherever the rail takes it, no flexibility. If you build it down the middle of Northbourne Ave it has to drive down the middle of Nothbourne Ave. it can’t detour into Lyneham or Ainslie or any other suburb or street unless a rail line is there. ACTION buses make a multi-million $ loss every year and yet they have the flexibility to drive on pretty much any road in any suburb they want (except some of the skinny ones in the newer suburbs), so how is LR going to be viable?

damien haas 3:09 pm 28 Aug 12

Id urge people to attend this forum on Thursday night. It will be a goodopportunity to put questions directly to the Minister and the Greens spokesperson on transport.

The deputy chair of ACT Light Rail, Ian Ruecroft, will also be attending as a member of the expert panel.

DrKoresh 8:51 pm 27 Aug 12

T_S said :

Oops, HTML quotes fail – my apologies. Here again is my comment (not DrKoresh’s) :

Simon Corbell recently announced that new cost estimates would be significantly less than the previous figures – http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/govt-lops-220m-from-rail-bus-costings-20120817-24ee9.html

Even with the initial cost estimates (which were criticised from all quarters), the independent URS consultants’ report concluded that the benefits of light rail outwieghed the costs, that we should plan for eventual light rail anyway, and that light rail “generates the best overall outcome for Canberra”.

I was not aware of this and in light of the new facts I do support the construction of light rail. My main concern with it is that the rail service would be inter-town, presumably and the intertown bus services already do a reasonable job of that. It’s services to the suburbs which concern me, but i guess if the majority of inter-town trips were by light rail it would free up buses to service the suburbs.

milkman 8:03 pm 27 Aug 12

Richard Bender said :

damien haas said :

Perhaps less focus on ideological reforms and more focus on service delivery that would benefit all commuters and residents might be a better focus for his energies.

I think I hear the pot calling out for the kettle.

Doesn’t make it wrong, though.

T_S 7:52 pm 27 Aug 12

Oops, HTML quotes fail – my apologies. Here again is my comment (not DrKoresh’s) :

Simon Corbell recently announced that new cost estimates would be significantly less than the previous figures – http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/govt-lops-220m-from-rail-bus-costings-20120817-24ee9.html

Even with the initial cost estimates (which were criticised from all quarters), the independent URS consultants’ report concluded that the benefits of light rail outwieghed the costs, that we should plan for eventual light rail anyway, and that light rail “generates the best overall outcome for Canberra”.

T_S 7:32 pm 27 Aug 12

DrKoresh said :

damien haas said :

Light rail would be awesome, but it’s just too expensive for too little return. Why spend 800 million or whatever the proposed figure was when for a fraction of that you can vastly improve the existing bus service?

Simon Corbell recently announced that new cost estimates would be significantly less than the previous figures – http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/govt-lops-220m-from-rail-bus-costings-20120817-24ee9.html

Even with the initial cost estimates (which were criticised from all quarters), the independent URS consultants’ report concluded that the benefits of light rail outwieghed the costs, that we should plan for eventual light rail anyway, and that light rail “generates the best overall outcome for Canberra”.

Richard Bender 7:31 pm 27 Aug 12

damien haas said :

Perhaps less focus on ideological reforms and more focus on service delivery that would benefit all commuters and residents might be a better focus for his energies.

I think I hear the pot calling out for the kettle.

damien haas 6:12 pm 27 Aug 12

DrKoresh said :

Light rail would be awesome, but it’s just too expensive for too little return. Why spend 800 million or whatever the proposed figure was when for a fraction of that you can vastly improve the existing bus service?

Ive been through several assembly elections and ensuing reviews, recommendations and implementations of the new bus policy that will lift patronage and deliver all the benefits that light rail would deliver, for less…

Guess what…

Bus patronage has flatlined. It isnt rising.

Canberra needs a modal change away from buses as its mass transit solution.

Build light rail now.

DrKoresh 4:05 pm 27 Aug 12

damien haas said :

It seems that Minister Barr has a form letter to send to peopel writing to him requesting that teh ALP deliver light rail. The response to Mr Hinchey is identical to that that ACT Light Rail sighted that was forwarded to us from another person (who did not wish to go public).

It is curious that Minister Barr is asking a member of the public for suggestions on how to deliver this infrastructure. i thought we elected MLA’s for their vision of how to make Canberra a better place.

Perhaps less focus on ideological reforms and more focus on service delivery that would benefit all commuters and residents might be a better focus for his energies.

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

Light rail would be awesome, but it’s just too expensive for too little return. Why spend 800 million or whatever the proposed figure was when for a fraction of that you can vastly improve the existing bus service?

SnapperJack 3:09 pm 27 Aug 12

Good on Andrew Barr for his negative response to this nonsense, in fact he was quite restrained. If I’d received a letter from Canberra Loves 40% I would have been nothing short of savage in my response. As an aside, is anybody surprised that the “spokesperson” for Canberra Loves 40% is named Phoebe?

damien haas 1:27 pm 27 Aug 12

It seems that Minister Barr has a form letter to send to peopel writing to him requesting that teh ALP deliver light rail. The response to Mr Hinchey is identical to that that ACT Light Rail sighted that was forwarded to us from another person (who did not wish to go public).

It is curious that Minister Barr is asking a member of the public for suggestions on how to deliver this infrastructure. i thought we elected MLA’s for their vision of how to make Canberra a better place.

Perhaps less focus on ideological reforms and more focus on service delivery that would benefit all commuters and residents might be a better focus for his energies.

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

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