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24 Jun 2017 Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin, Gold Coast Author: Paul Weston • Section: General News • Article type : News Item Classification : Regional • Audience : 28,945 • Page: 3 • Printed Size: 227.00cm² Market: QLD • Country: Australia • ASR: AUD 1,814 • Words: 423 • Item ID: 798460745

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Just a new set of wheels Figures show tram patrons are mostly former bus users PAUL WESTON

paul.weston@news.com.au

THE Gold Coast’s trams are successfully attracting passengers but independent research shows they are yet to make a dent on road congestion. The first stage of light rail from Parklands to Broadbeach has only switched regular public transport users from buses to trams. Transport consultant Eric Keys, in a paper for the Australasian Transport Research Forum, wrote: “While the G: Link is enjoying healthy rider-

age continues to exceed expectations, with an average of more than 18,200 trips made on the G: each day” was at odds with original project estimates. The Concept Design and Impact Management Plan had forecast a 59 per cent increase in daily regional public transport patronage from 124,500 to 197,750. Department of Transport and Main Roads data reveals 6.18 million light rail passen-

ship the available evidence shows the project has failed to deliver the key outcome of increased regional public transport use.” Public transport lobbyists have told the Bulletin a poor system of bus transfers in stage one was the cause of the failure. Mr Keys said the $1.3 billion first stage of Coast light rail had “successfully delivered its outputs”. But the claim that “patron-

gers in the 2014-15 financial year – about 18,200 trips per day – but that was offset by a decline of 6.15 million bus users. In 2008, TransLink forecast trams and the wider public transport network would remove 40,000 car trips. “In practice it can be observed that there has been no material change in public transport use and so it seems unlikely any mode shift has occurred,” Mr Keys said. RAIL

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spokesman Robert Dow predicts that once all the tram routes are built “it will end up one of the great world light rail systems”. “You will have this hard core of light rail supported by buses. It will be attractive to people. What has to happen is buses have to be given road priority,” Mr Dow said. He said it was important to understand that it would be impossible to reduce the numbers of cars on the road “in an absolute sense”. Expanding the light rail system would reduce some of the anticipated increase in vehicles as population increased on the Coast. “The bus network on the Gold Coast has been treated shabbily by TransLink. They have to increase the network, increase capacity and hours,” Mr Dow said. “At the moment some bus routes stop at four in the afternoon. It’s lunacy.” Tell us what you think at goldcoastbulletin.com.au

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26june2017  
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