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Capital Metro

By Mark Parton MLA - 16 May 2014 195

light-rail

The closer we get to the magical fairytale of light rail in Canberra, the more it appears that the accounting on this big ticket item has come from the Brothers Grimm.

At the start of this week, Treasurer Andrew Barr was up in arms because of the story that the Canberra Times had run suggesting there would be a city wide levy on rates to pay for toy train line.

He told me that was just incorrect.

“Ok Minister, so you can categorically rule out a city wide levy ?”
“Oh no,” said Mr Barr, “I’m not in the business of ruling things in and ruling things out at this stage.”
“So was the Canberra Times correct in their suggestion ?”
“No they were wrong.”
“So you can rule it out ?”
“No I can’t”

It became an endless conversation and it left my listeners believing that there was as fair chance they would be subject to a city wide levy.

I spoke to the Chief Minister, the morning after the Federal Budget and she wasn’t much clearer.

I put it to her that government “didn’t seem to have any idea how we were going to find the money for this project.”

She explained to me that, it’s not like that I have no idea, it’s just that they have lots of ideas and they haven’t decided which one to go with yet.

And NOTHING is being ruled in or out.

I’m not diametrically opposed to light rail in Canberra. I think if we could wave a magic wand and create a line between Gungahlin and Civic tomorrow it would be wonderful for our city. But we can’t.

Is there anyone reading this who believes the project will be delivered on time and on budget?
Yes Capital Metro has the potential to genuinely propel our city into the 21st century, but at what cost?

What’s Your opinion?


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dtc 12:23 pm 20 May 14

JC said :

dtc said :

c. only links north canberra to the Highway and thus is of no benefit to people living in Tuggeranong or Woden etc

Really? I would have thought it links South Canberra to the highway, ESPECIALLY Tuggeranong.

North Canberra is linked by Northborne Ave, Gungahlin by Flemmington Road and Horse Park drive.

Of course Majura Parkway will help link Gungahlin to Russell, the Parl Triangle and Fyshwick without having to drive through the city.

So you are telling me that with out the parkway, no one in South Canberra can get to the highway? And that no one in North Canberra can get to Russell?

My point is not that the parkway does nothing, obviously it connects 2 spots. But all arguments against the tramway based on ‘it does nothing for me’ or ‘we dont need it’ apply equally to the parkway. We dont need it, there are existing roads that connect the same two spots. It does little for many people as it connects places they dont go. It costs money to build – $288m to be precise (budgeted) plus ongoing maintenance. In return it saves a few minutes of driving and reduces traffic through the city.

I know the tramway costs more and, sure, argue on the basis of economic return and ‘value for money’ and alternative options to achieve the same results. dedicated busways, for example, make sense to me.

But dont argue on the basis of ‘we dont need it’ unless you also make that argument against (for example) the Majura parkway.

HiddenDragon 11:16 am 20 May 14

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

bigred said :

Light rail will actually compete with the need for a second car in the household. Add in the capital cost saving if Households start getting rid of the other car, and you will see the real benefit. Because the link will be permanent people can plan with certainty. However, while I support the thing, I can see pollies abandoning it under pressure from those still residing firmly in the sixth decade of the last century.

Not too many households would be getting rid of a second car, I think. Unless you live walking distance to a station, and go where the tram wants to take you, it’s not that much use.

Precisely – anyone who’s lived and commuted in a city with real rail will know that it’s only useful if it’s practicable to get to and from the relevant stations at each end; otherwise it’s cars, buses etc.

The recently aired thought of a special rating zone near the proposed tram line might nudge some households to get rid of their second/third/fourth car but in this high income town, it will be a marginal decision for most. And I will believe the special rating zone when I see it – wouldn’t go down well in what is Labor/Green heartland; more likely the costs will be socialised across the length and breadth of the ACT.

dungfungus 10:59 am 20 May 14

dungfungus said :

montana said :

I’ve never understood why cities use Trams.

Is it because they are considered cooler than stinky old buses?

A tram isn’t going to get to point A to point B any faster than a bus, and if it does it was because there were upgrades made elsewhere, the same upgrades could have just been made for a bus.

Trams are struck to one route whilst buses can go anywhere.

Oh and trams cost heaps to install the tracks.

Am I missing something? what is the advantage of a tram over a bus?

A Metro – now that would be something!

A steel wheel on a steel rail has less rolling resistance that a rubber tyre on a bitumen road.
Trams look cooler than buses and cost heaps more. They also usually are powered by electricity which is perceived to be cleaner because the dirty bits involved in generating and transmitting the power are miles away.
What other reasons do you want?
Oh, and the tram salesmen have better deals than the bus ones.

Oh, and Capital Metro sounds groovier than Capital Tram.

dungfungus 9:59 am 20 May 14

montana said :

I’ve never understood why cities use Trams.

Is it because they are considered cooler than stinky old buses?

A tram isn’t going to get to point A to point B any faster than a bus, and if it does it was because there were upgrades made elsewhere, the same upgrades could have just been made for a bus.

Trams are struck to one route whilst buses can go anywhere.

Oh and trams cost heaps to install the tracks.

Am I missing something? what is the advantage of a tram over a bus?

A Metro – now that would be something!

A steel wheel on a steel rail has less rolling resistance that a rubber tyre on a bitumen road.
Trams look cooler than buses and cost heaps more. They also usually are powered by electricity which is perceived to be cleaner because the dirty bits involved in generating and transmitting the power are miles away.
What other reasons do you want?
Oh, and the tram salesmen have better deals than the bus ones.

Maya123 9:54 am 20 May 14

montana said :

I’ve never understood why cities use Trams.

Is it because they are considered cooler than stinky old buses?

A tram isn’t going to get to point A to point B any faster than a bus, and if it does it was because there were upgrades made elsewhere, the same upgrades could have just been made for a bus.

Trams are struck to one route whilst buses can go anywhere.

Oh and trams cost heaps to install the tracks.

Am I missing something? what is the advantage of a tram over a bus?

A Metro – now that would be something!

Apparently trams can carry more people. Also people are more willing to use them. I know that if I go to a strange city I feel more secure with trams, because the tram tracks give more surety where we are going. I feel that I am never quite sure where I might end up on a (strange) bus. Trams also have dedicated routes. Of course buses too could be given dedicated routes (at least on main, busier routes); meaning they would not be blocked and held up by cars, but they still can’t carry the same number of people; therefore more buses and drivers are needed.

montana 9:28 am 20 May 14

I’ve never understood why cities use Trams.

Is it because they are considered cooler than stinky old buses?

A tram isn’t going to get to point A to point B any faster than a bus, and if it does it was because there were upgrades made elsewhere, the same upgrades could have just been made for a bus.

Trams are struck to one route whilst buses can go anywhere.

Oh and trams cost heaps to install the tracks.

Am I missing something? what is the advantage of a tram over a bus?

A Metro – now that would be something!

dungfungus 7:51 am 20 May 14

nothappyjan said :

watto23 said :

I think the biggest issue with the light rail is it isn’t different enough from buses. We really need rapid transport between the town centres, however I suspect this will cost too much to build, whereas a tram down northbourne has a chance to be profitable. However that Rapid Busway from Civic to Belconnen that got canned a few years ago would be ideal. Build those between the Town centres, and by build i mean separate roads with no lights and maybe 1 stop at a major stop (easily can do underpasses of main roads that wouldn’t cost too much).

The Brazilians in Curitiba seem to have been doing this better than anyone for a very long time. Why can’t the ACT council learn from best practice rather than pretending to have a clue when they clearly don’t.

see it in action on SBS at http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/this-is-brazil/article/2014/04/23/episode-1-curitiba-belo-horizonte

or read about it at –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rede_Integrada_de_Transporte
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

You raise a good point. Car ownership per resident in Curitaba is exactly the same as Canberra (0.63). Brazil now has the world’s 6th largest economy but corruption and price fixing is still endemic.
The local executives of the the largest tram makers in the world are currently facing charges in Sao Paulo. The companies are involved are Canada’s Bombardier, Germany’s Siemens, CAF of Spain, Mitsui of Japan, Alstom of France and South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem.
The prosecutor’s office charged in a statement that the companies engaged in price fixing and said those that won bids then contracted the losing companies to provide services. Five contacts signed between 1998 and 2008 are being investigated.
Could this happen in Australia? Yes.

nothappyjan 9:46 pm 19 May 14

watto23 said :

I think the biggest issue with the light rail is it isn’t different enough from buses. We really need rapid transport between the town centres, however I suspect this will cost too much to build, whereas a tram down northbourne has a chance to be profitable. However that Rapid Busway from Civic to Belconnen that got canned a few years ago would be ideal. Build those between the Town centres, and by build i mean separate roads with no lights and maybe 1 stop at a major stop (easily can do underpasses of main roads that wouldn’t cost too much).

The Brazilians in Curitiba seem to have been doing this better than anyone for a very long time. Why can’t the ACT council learn from best practice rather than pretending to have a clue when they clearly don’t.

see it in action on SBS at http://www.sbs.com.au/programs/this-is-brazil/article/2014/04/23/episode-1-curitiba-belo-horizonte

or read about it at –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rede_Integrada_de_Transporte
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

davjp 9:19 pm 19 May 14

Still haven’t heard the positives of light rail over bases… anyone?

JC 8:56 pm 19 May 14

dtc said :

c. only links north canberra to the Highway and thus is of no benefit to people living in Tuggeranong or Woden etc

Really? I would have thought it links South Canberra to the highway, ESPECIALLY Tuggeranong.

North Canberra is linked by Northborne Ave, Gungahlin by Flemmington Road and Horse Park drive.

Of course Majura Parkway will help link Gungahlin to Russell, the Parl Triangle and Fyshwick without having to drive through the city.

milkman 8:44 pm 19 May 14

dtc said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

a. Massively cheaper than light rail, and it’s partly federally funded. It also won’t be subsidised when in operation.
b. Significantly reducing commute times, and other travel times, is not an economic benefit?
c. People in Woden and Tuggeranong never drive to Sydney? Or to Gungahlin?
d. Is any govt project delivered on time?

I’m not a big fan of the way the current local govt does things, but the Majura Parkway seems a heap better thought out than the proposed light rail solution.

a. a bit cheaper but still several hundred million dollars
b. you can use the perfectly good roads we already have that are more or less empty 90% of the time. Plus at least light rail receives some income to offset the cost, (non toll) roads receive no income whatsoever. Ever. And still cost money in upkeep
c. see (b)
d. you pay peanuts, you get cheap contractors.

You’re joking, right?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 8:25 pm 19 May 14

bigred said :

Light rail will actually compete with the need for a second car in the household. Add in the capital cost saving if Households start getting rid of the other car, and you will see the real benefit. Because the link will be permanent people can plan with certainty. However, while I support the thing, I can see pollies abandoning it under pressure from those still residing firmly in the sixth decade of the last century.

Not too many households would be getting rid of a second car, I think. Unless you live walking distance to a station, and go where the tram wants to take you, it’s not that much use.

bigred 7:46 pm 19 May 14

Light rail will actually compete with the need for a second car in the household. Add in the capital cost saving if Households start getting rid of the other car, and you will see the real benefit. Because the link will be permanent people can plan with certainty. However, while I support the thing, I can see pollies abandoning it under pressure from those still residing firmly in the sixth decade of the last century.

banco 6:53 pm 19 May 14

dtc said :

I trust that y’all complained about the Majura Parkway as well, since it

a. costs a lot of money
b. gives no economic return
c. only links north canberra to the Highway and thus is of no benefit to people living in Tuggeranong or Woden etc
d. isnt going to be delivered on time (dont know about on budget)

In other words, exactly the same arguments as are being put about light rail.

The one difference is that the parkway is generally out of sight and out of mind.

Oh, and how could I forget – its about cars and not public transport.

Majura Parkway is a lot cheaper than this white elephant (I know greens voters struggle with arithmetic) and we’ll be subsiding light rail’s running costs for ever more.

watto23 5:25 pm 19 May 14

I think the biggest issue with the light rail is it isn’t different enough from buses. We really need rapid transport between the town centres, however I suspect this will cost too much to build, whereas a tram down northbourne has a chance to be profitable. However that Rapid Busway from Civic to Belconnen that got canned a few years ago would be ideal. Build those between the Town centres, and by build i mean separate roads with no lights and maybe 1 stop at a major stop (easily can do underpasses of main roads that wouldn’t cost too much).

Mark Parton 4:51 pm 19 May 14

HiddenDragon said :

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

Hidden Dragon, you win the prize for the comment of the day on this thread. Well done. You’ve scored for yourself an unlimited travel free Capital Metro pass for 2016. Enjoy the Northbourne views !!

dtc 3:50 pm 19 May 14

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

a. Massively cheaper than light rail, and it’s partly federally funded. It also won’t be subsidised when in operation.
b. Significantly reducing commute times, and other travel times, is not an economic benefit?
c. People in Woden and Tuggeranong never drive to Sydney? Or to Gungahlin?
d. Is any govt project delivered on time?

I’m not a big fan of the way the current local govt does things, but the Majura Parkway seems a heap better thought out than the proposed light rail solution.

a. a bit cheaper but still several hundred million dollars
b. you can use the perfectly good roads we already have that are more or less empty 90% of the time. Plus at least light rail receives some income to offset the cost, (non toll) roads receive no income whatsoever. Ever. And still cost money in upkeep
c. see (b)
d. you pay peanuts, you get cheap contractors.

Postalgeek 2:18 pm 19 May 14

Decent bike storage on a light rail is about the only thing that might improve the proposition of light rail for me. It’s one of the few ways you could extend the otherwise narrow usage corridor.

Light rail in Phoenix have this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g-9yX5RkQ0

There are several other ideas for storing bikes on transport

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/3383699295/

Having said that, I tend to agree with others who question the cost vs benefit of light rail.

dungfungus 1:08 pm 19 May 14

HiddenDragon said :

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

Don’t give them any ideas, please!

HiddenDragon 12:28 pm 19 May 14

dungfungus said :

HiddenDragon said :

I suppose it’s too much to hope that local Labor will, with heavy heart etc. etc., drop their commitment to the northside trams and blame it all on the federal “horror budget” – that truly would be a silver lining (and would be a huge budget win, and a handy political win, locally).

Far more likely, of course, they will defiantly plough on, and raise rates and other taxes and charges to even more extortionate levels to keep the dream alive.

It would be a couple of giant redundancy packages for the Capital Metro Agency heavies if they close it out. The Green would be forced to retaliate to save face. Interesting.
What will happen to all Corbells solar electricity?

The giant redundancy packages would be a very, very small price to pay. Shane could mandate compulsory cycling for Civic and the inner north, as a face saving measure. The solar panels – well, some of them – will be re-oriented towards a Greenpeace satellite and reflected back, laser-like, at Joe Hockey’s inner south des res.

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