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Capital Metro can repeat the Gold Coast’s light rail success

By Damien Haas - 16 June 2015 82

light rail artist impression

Higher than expected light rail patronage, overall growth in all public transport patronage and decreased road traffic…. how did the Gold Coast achieve this?

Page eight of the latest ARA Newsletter offers some insight:

Australasia’s newest Light Rail project on the Gold Coast recorded its 5 millionth passenger in April, reaching Year 2 patronage figures in its first 9 months of operation.

Redesign of the region’s bus network linking to light rail and heavy rail
helped drive 22.6 percent growth in Gold Coast public transport patronage.

Traffic volumes on the Gold Coast Highway fell 5 percent since introduction of light rail in July 2014. Pressure is growing for approval to proceed with Stage 2 that connects with heavy rail at Helensvale station.

What’s Your opinion?


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82 Responses to
Capital Metro can repeat the Gold Coast’s light rail success
damien haas 3:21 pm 18 Jun 15

Garfield said :

damien haas said :

Instead of reading what you want to see, read what I have written.

“The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.”

Federal *liberal* government aka the current government.

They haven’t specifically funded light rail – the funds have come from a general purpose infrastructure fund that is designed to get state governments to dispose of out of date assets and build new ones. The ACT government could have decided to use the money to construct bus rapid transit or a road or new public housing. Saying that the federal government has funded ACT’s light rail is disingenuous.

No, it is accurate.

This is what Joe Hockey, The Treasurer said:

“We will back metropolitan rail through our asset recycling program and the asset recycling program I announced in the last budget, $5 billion, I will reward State Governments that sell their assets and redeploy the capital into new productive infrastructure. The first government to sign up was the Labor Government in the ACT. Selling its TAB, selling public housing and redeploying the money with Commonwealth Government support into a new light rail project in the middle of Canberra.”

If you read the agreement, it cannot be used for any other project.

ChrisinTurner 3:17 pm 18 Jun 15

I suspect that many of the people using the Gold Coast light rail are tourists. Does Gungahlin attract many tourists? I also understand their system cost double the estimated cost and has one third the patronage estimated. Never-the-less I don’t think Gungahlin people will accept a light-rail transit time that takes 15 minutes longer than the current Red-Rapid bus to get to Civic, with only half the chance of having a seat. An ageing population does not want to become strap-hangers.

rubaiyat 3:08 pm 18 Jun 15

Garfield said :

damien haas said :

Instead of reading what you want to see, read what I have written.

“The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.”

Federal *liberal* government aka the current government.

They haven’t specifically funded light rail – the funds have come from a general purpose infrastructure fund that is designed to get state governments to dispose of out of date assets and build new ones. The ACT government could have decided to use the money to construct bus rapid transit or a road or new public housing. Saying that the federal government has funded ACT’s light rail is disingenuous.

…and as we know the present Federal Government would rather saw off their Right leg than do anything so productive as to fund rail or public transport, which is why they have slashed the funding to next to nothing.

If they had their way they would tear out all the Wind Turbines and solar panels as well. Because they may not be scientists but sure know when they blindly hate something.

dungfungus 2:12 pm 18 Jun 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

A quote from the linked to article on the ACT Light Rail site:

“The Canberra Liberals are wedging themselves with their increasingly belligerent anti light rail rhetoric. While pandering to a vocal minority makes for spirited media releases, it does not provide an alternative public transport policy. Whether they like it or not, at the next Assembly election the Canberra Liberals must have a light rail policy.”

You are obviously playing politics, not the issue. ACT Light Rail may as well become a branch of ACT Labor and stand at the upcoming ACT election.

No prizes for guessing who the Minister for Trams will be.

Says the Minister for Roads..

I have no aspirations to be “Minister for Roads” – we need roads for everything including cars, trucks, buses, trams, bikes, horses and camels etc. so you should be grateful for the fact that we some of the best in the world.
Also, you should have some respect for our roads as the revenue that accrues from all things that use the roads (except bikes and trams) will be crucial in getting the Territory to underwrite the massive shortfalls in passenger fares from the tram project.
It’s common sense you know.

Garfield 2:04 pm 18 Jun 15

damien haas said :

Instead of reading what you want to see, read what I have written.

“The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.”

Federal *liberal* government aka the current government.

They haven’t specifically funded light rail – the funds have come from a general purpose infrastructure fund that is designed to get state governments to dispose of out of date assets and build new ones. The ACT government could have decided to use the money to construct bus rapid transit or a road or new public housing. Saying that the federal government has funded ACT’s light rail is disingenuous.

damien haas 11:37 am 18 Jun 15

Instead of reading what you want to see, read what I have written.

“The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.”

Federal *liberal* government aka the current government.

rubaiyat 10:59 am 18 Jun 15

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

A quote from the linked to article on the ACT Light Rail site:

“The Canberra Liberals are wedging themselves with their increasingly belligerent anti light rail rhetoric. While pandering to a vocal minority makes for spirited media releases, it does not provide an alternative public transport policy. Whether they like it or not, at the next Assembly election the Canberra Liberals must have a light rail policy.”

You are obviously playing politics, not the issue. ACT Light Rail may as well become a branch of ACT Labor and stand at the upcoming ACT election.

No prizes for guessing who the Minister for Trams will be.

Says the Minister for Roads..

dungfungus 9:58 am 18 Jun 15

rommeldog56 said :

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

A quote from the linked to article on the ACT Light Rail site:

“The Canberra Liberals are wedging themselves with their increasingly belligerent anti light rail rhetoric. While pandering to a vocal minority makes for spirited media releases, it does not provide an alternative public transport policy. Whether they like it or not, at the next Assembly election the Canberra Liberals must have a light rail policy.”

You are obviously playing politics, not the issue. ACT Light Rail may as well become a branch of ACT Labor and stand at the upcoming ACT election.

No prizes for guessing who the Minister for Trams will be.

justin heywood 10:41 pm 17 Jun 15

“Traffic volumes on the Gold Coast Highway fell 5 percent since introduction of light rail”

That is a pretty modest reduction, since the tram runs down the Gold Coast Highway for much of its route. The locals avoid it.

“Redesign of the region’s bus network linking to light rail and heavy rail
helped drive 22.6 percent growth in Gold Coast public transport patronage.”

A good result to be sure, but comparing a tram running down the Gold Coast strip to the run from Gunghalin to Civic is a stretch.
The Gold Coast route connects a large hospital, a large university and then runs down a densely packed strip of holiday and entertainment venues. The nearest equivalent for Canberra would be a run from the ANU through Civic and the parliamentary triangle out to Manuka, and even that would be a pale comparison.

But while we’re on the subject of comparisons, Damien, I have two supplementary questions;
The Gold Coast route (13 km) reportedly cost $1.6 billion.
Canberra’s Metro (12 km) is claimed to cost around $800 million. Given the political incentive to minimise the expected cost and the long history of cost blow-outs in infrastructure projects,

Q1. What does ACT Light Rail consider the likely eventual cost?

Q2. How much is too much? At what point (if any) would ACT Light Rail concede that the cost of the current route outweighs the possible benefits?

rommeldog56 8:29 pm 17 Jun 15

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

A quote from the linked to article on the ACT Light Rail site:

“The Canberra Liberals are wedging themselves with their increasingly belligerent anti light rail rhetoric. While pandering to a vocal minority makes for spirited media releases, it does not provide an alternative public transport policy. Whether they like it or not, at the next Assembly election the Canberra Liberals must have a light rail policy.”

You are obviously playing politics, not the issue. ACT Light Rail may as well become a branch of ACT Labor and stand at the upcoming ACT election.

Mark of Sydney 7:04 pm 17 Jun 15

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

Not sure where you get that idea from. The Federal Government has contributed heavily to the Gold Coast light rail project. I don’t have access to up-to-date figures, but according to wikipedia ‘In 2009 the Queensland Government committed $464 million to the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project, supplementing $365 million committed by the Australian Government and $120 million provided by Gold Coast City Council.’

I’ve used the Gold Coast Light Rail, and it’s great. But unlike the proposed light rail here, it doesn’t take people from a dormitory suburb to the edge of the central activities district — a route that means it will only ever get significant patronage in one direction in the morning and the other direction at night.

If the first stage of the Canberra project could run to Barton/Kingston via Russell, and the Federal Government was willing to tip in 40% of the funding (as it did for the Gold Coast), it might just be worth a total project cost of say $1.2 billion. But the political reality means that the ACT will never get that level of support from the Federal Government. And failing that, I suspect it’s not affordable, given the cost of capital alone (@ 5% pa) would be $60 million a year, to which you’d need to add the operating and maintenance and depreciation costs.

rommeldog56 6:54 pm 17 Jun 15

damien haas said :

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

This claim is a distortion of the facts.

1) The ACT Gov’t has sold public assets to help fund Light rail.
2) It was the ACT Gov’t that nominated that the m$60 Fed’s contribution to that sale revenue would go to Light Rail.
3) The Fed’s did not contributte to Light Rail via Infrastructure Australia because the BCR was so weak (1:1.2).
3) The Fed’s tipped lots of $ into the Gold Coast Light Rail instead.

To claim that “The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra’ is simply not so.

And btw, I think the Goald Coast Light Rail cost about $1.4b ? For what ? A 5% reduction in traffic on the Goald Cost Highway (how would they have measured that, I wonder) ? Seems like a lot of $ for such a comparatively small reduction.

I hope all Gunners and North Canberra residents will enjoy having their bus routes “linked” to Light Rail.

damien haas 4:07 pm 17 Jun 15

The federal liberal government has funded urban public transport in one place only – Canberra.

To the tune of $60 million.

Further details here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2015/02/460-million-down-payment-on-800-million.html

rubaiyat 12:26 pm 17 Jun 15

There are hundreds of similarly successful Light Rail developments even though would never know it if you read (and actually believe) any of Rupert’s papers:

This one just came across my desk:

http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/06/amid-celebration-green-lines-first-year-call-more-light-rail

Typically public transport ridership is dramatically up and the public wants more, more, more!

rubaiyat 9:25 am 17 Jun 15

Interesting that despite the best most cost effective way of improving both overall transport and road congestion is rail, and to cut oil imports to improve our trade deficit, the Abbott government has slashed spending on urban rail projects from $514 million to only $17 million.

As with alternate energy the only thing that drives the conservatives is an irrational hatred that defies common sense or fiscal prudence. Hardly surprising as both are linked in not just their minds but in the minds of many of their followers.

I am following a thread on another website which caught my interest because of some spectacularly false claims “proving climate change is a fraud”. Specifically they claimed no hurricanes had made landfall in the USA in the last decade. That was a surprise to me, because I was in NY and New Jersey whilst they were still cleaning up after Sandy. That also ignored a string of other hurricanes going back all the way to Katrina.

What fascinated me was that despite this was so clearly a lie it went totally unchallenged, which shows the level of skepticism and knowledge of self proclaimed “Climate Change Skeptics”. Since then we have been playing a game of Bash the Shark where the “Skeptics” keep making up more ludicrous “facts”, rarely substantiated, and we track them down only to have them make up even more. Most are so ridiculous that it seems absolutely unbelievable that anyone can actually believe them, but there they are.

It is really scary that our Federal Government is so openly in cahoots with these fraudsters and liars.

…and that it forms their policy.

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