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The light rail express rumbles on

By johnboy 30 September 2008 60

Jon Stanhope has donned his Chief Minister hat to announce that he’s appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to prepare a business case for a light rail network here in the ACT.

They sound very bullish on the whole thing now:

    “I am extremely pleased to be able to announce that the ACT Government is moving ahead with its exploration of light rail and very much look forward to seeing the consultants’ analysis in a few weeks,” Mr Stanhope said.

    “Light rail captures the imaginations of many Canberrans and I am convinced that the time is right to get an independent view of its feasibility, and how such a major project might be staged.”

    Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves, said the Government had undertaken some preliminary assessments of the feasibility of light rail in 2004.

    “Since then, our population has grown, our urban form has changed, petrol prices have risen significantly, and climate change has emerged as a more urgent challenge,” he said. “That’s why the ACT has proposed light rail as a major infrastructure project to Infrastructure Australia. The business case will form part of the ACT’s detailed submission to the Commonwealth.”

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The light rail express rumbles on
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Pandy 9:21 am 02 Oct 08

Do the fat people who are light rail supporters exercise and think what they place in their mouths?

If not, why make the rest of us walk 15 minutes to a bus stop?

tylersmayhem 9:11 am 02 Oct 08

It would be so easy for me to catch public transport to work, I think it’s even a direct bus, but I don’t want to have to walk 15 minutes to the bus stop in the morning in the middle of winter to catch a bus – I know I’m lazy, but I bet so are alot of other people here.

Pollution, high fuel prices, obesity, blood pressure, heart attacks, future traffic jams blah blah blah.

I think you might have hit the nail on the head PsydFX – lazyness. I suspect it’s going to take lazy Canberrans one or more of the above to get of their lazy arses and use public transport. It the usual lazy moronic mindset of having to be forced the break a habit rather than do so by choice.

Granny 5:44 pm 01 Oct 08

Simply buy him a nice lunch and take him out window-shopping at a nifty little light rail boutique somewhere. Too easy!

Do I have to think of everything around here?

PM 5:40 pm 01 Oct 08

Aurelius said :

PM,
Show me a politician who’s spent billions of dollars planning for the long term?

Off the top of my head, I guess the Snowy River Mountain Scheme was long term and cost billions in equivalent dollar terms – happy to be corrected, and I’m not interested in a debate on the pros and cons of that particular scheme 🙂

But I take your view, which is why there needs to be community involvement in this issue if it’s to get up.

PM 5:37 pm 01 Oct 08

Granny said :

I find the concept exciting!

Then let’s just hope Big Kev 07 is excited as well!

Aurelius 5:35 pm 01 Oct 08

PM,
Show me a politician who’s spent billions of dollars planning for the long term?

Granny 5:31 pm 01 Oct 08

I find the concept exciting!

PM 5:21 pm 01 Oct 08

Are we considering the fact that whilst we don’t currently have a high-density population, we’re running out of space to expand within the ACT and this light rail thing will take a while to be implemented? I’m open about being in support of it now with the long term in mind because we need to get planning and trasport etc coordinated.

PsydFX 5:13 pm 01 Oct 08

I may be wrong, but I think one of the reasons that Canberra’s Public Transport doesn’t work is because Canberrans earn above the average income and parking here is relatively cheap – even though I cringe at paying $7.50. It’s just convenient to drive, and throwing money at alternative Public Transport probably wont change that.

It would be so easy for me to catch public transport to work, I think it’s even a direct bus, but I don’t want to have to walk 15 minutes to the bus stop in the morning in the middle of winter to catch a bus – I know I’m lazy, but I bet so are alot of other people here.

Aurelius 5:02 pm 01 Oct 08

ACTLightRail,
You can’t get 220 people into the three buses.
So why would any government give you billions of dollars to put them in a rail vehicle?
Wake up and smell the apple pie!
Of course, perhaps I am wrong, and the government will be supporting this project AFTER the election. But we’ve had elections before. And we’ve had politicians promising to spend billions on this before. Maybe I’m too cynical?

ACT Light Rail 4:48 pm 01 Oct 08

Where light rail systems have been introduced, patronage has increased significantly.

In fact PT use overall increases, that includes the local bus services.

Several governments have tried to ‘fix’ the Canberra bus system, and it still doesnt deliver the service that proper mass transit public transport will. Its a simple factor related to volume.

220 people = 1 light rail vehicle, 3 buses, 110 cars.

With light rail as the mass transit backbone, integrated with suburban bus services, the frequency of your hourly bus could be increased, and the overall time taken to get from point a in the network to point b will reduce as well.

HateMachine 4:31 pm 01 Oct 08

Why did monorails go the way of the dodo? Was it purely because of that Simpson’s episode?

Davo111 2:21 pm 01 Oct 08

competent people and competent drivers?

tylersmayhem 2:11 pm 01 Oct 08

I would almost guarantee there would be drivers, i think there would be too much of a risk otherwise (on the open road). If they were going to make it computerized, they would implement something like an above-road monorail (which failed horrendously in Sydney)

Hhmmmm – not sure how they’ve managed it in other international cities then?!

Davo111 1:56 pm 01 Oct 08

I would almost guarantee there would be drivers, i think there would be too much of a risk otherwise (on the open road). If they were going to make it computerized, they would implement something like an above-road monorail (which failed horrendously in Sydney)

tylersmayhem 12:55 pm 01 Oct 08

@Davo: most points good, but one overhead cost mentioned should not be required being an operator. I have taken public light rail in several countries that require no driver.

Aurelius 12:48 pm 01 Oct 08

Luther – Banks to Moncrieff (52kms); Hornsby to Sutherland (54kms)
My points (about Canberra being too sparsely populated to support a rail network; and any talk about such by politicians is apple pie) stand.

Davo111 12:25 pm 01 Oct 08

tylersmayhem said :

Fix the buses first and then see what happens.

…and I’ll continue to harp – how will the buses improve if people continue to refuse to use them? You gotta meet them half way people!

I agree with you, but i’m still against the tram idea – new trams won’t ‘make’ people take public transport. Sure there might be an initial rise, but then it will die back again when the fad wears off. I’d rather have the money spent elsewhere then putting in massive amounts on an unnecessary piece of infrastructure.

tylersmayhem said :

Buses are cheaper than trams

…and where is the proof or figures on this? Are you talking about establishing the service, or running it?

In my opinion, probably both. Trams cost heaps for initial infrastructure – tracks, new lights, overhead cables, maintenance yards, re-training drivers (i suspect paid the same as a bus driver), over night yards etc etc . They both require maintenance, and a driver, insurance, etc etc. From what i can see, the buses are cheaper, unless you can see otherwise?

luther_bendross 12:19 pm 01 Oct 08

Aurelius: after reading your statement that ” Canberra is almost as big as Sydney, area-wise, but with less than a tenth of the population.”, I thought I’d better consult Wikipedia for some advice:

SYDNEY:
Population: 4 284 379
Area: 12144.6 km²
Density: 2058/km²

CANBERRA:
Population: 340,800
Area: 805.6 km²
Density: 1005/km²

I’m no mathemagician, but 800 is not nearly 12000.

Aurelius 11:07 am 01 Oct 08

PeterH, Brisbane has a similar network – trains in some areas, buses in others. But at the same time, they’ve got much higher density residential areas, very frequent services to most major areas, and very little city parking.
I am not anti-light rail or anti-public transport. But the reality is that in Canberra, it’s been done badly. Fixing the system we’ve got makes more sense than putting in a system to fail alongside the one we already have.
Bus stops are not appealing places in winter. Buses take too long and are too infrequent for people to want to use them. The timetables, routes, bus-stops & interchanges, fares, and just about every other aspect of the current system is seriously broken. If you turned every bus into a tram, and made them run on rails rather than tyres, that wont change.
Having said all that, where I live there is no public transport. So whether Canberra has trams, trains, buses or hired helicopters, I’ll still drive.

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