Berejiklian’s light rail to be caught short in peak hour

Berejiklian’s light rail to be caught short in peak hour–  The Australian.


When NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s controversial $2.1 billion CBD light rail opens in 2019, it will have 1000 more people wanting to use it than what her Transport Minister has said is its capacity.

Documents obtained under freedom of information show that in a Transport for NSW “CBD and South East Light Rail Project Benefits Realisation Plan”, dated April 2015, the document puts demand for the light rail at “14,547 morning peak one-hour demand growing at an annual rate of 1 per cent to 16,935 in 2036’’.

Yet in an answer to a question on notice from a budget estimates committee delivered last month, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said that from early 2019 light rail would have 15 services operating in each direction per hour, “meaning total hourly capacity is 13,500 in both directions”.

The Transport for NSW document also contains figures for demand “modelled for the business case” of the project — an earlier estimate — which has demand at 17,866 one-hour peak demand in 2021 growing to 22,533 in 2036.

Labor parliamentary secretary for transport Daniel Mookhey said the documents meant “Gladys Berejiklian and Andrew Constance knew that on the very first day of the Sydney light rail, 1047 people will stand by the kerb, watching packed trains go by’’.

Berejiklian’s light rail to be caught short in peak hour 2.jpeg

“If people are packed like sardines from day one, imagine what it will be like by 2036, when the area is surrounded by the high-rise apartments meant to pay for it,” Mr Mookhey said.

Mr Constance declined to comment yesterday, referring The Australian to Transport for NSW, which claimed the 14,500 figure would be met because the capacity figure Mr Constance cited did not refer to people jumping off and on the service at landmarks such as Central Station. “The capacity relates to the end-to-end journey, not the total number of customers to use the services in that time,” a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said. “The CBD and southeast light rail will have a total hourly capacity of up to 13,500 in both directions end to end.

“This will cater for around 14,500 people, which are expected to use the light rail at various points in the morning peak hour, with customers taking shorter trips and hopping on and off at popular hubs such as UNSW, the Randwick hospital precinct, Central and Town Hall.

“The light rail hourly capacity can increase up to 18,000 in both directions and will be supported by a redesigned bus network based on the patronage and demand evidenced by Opal data (i.e. actual origin — destination information) and include direct express buses between southeast and the CBD as well as improved connections for customers for cross-regional travel.”

Mr Mookhey said that if success of the light rail depended on passengers “jumping off every few stops and no one else getting on, it’s no wonder Andrew Constance labelled it a ‘dog of a project’ ”.

The Australian revealed last week that upon becoming minister after the 2015 state election, Mr Constance asked bureaucrats what it would cost to dump the project and was told there was “sovereign risk” in doing so and it would cost the taxpayer too much.

At the time, sources said, Mr Constance and his office believed the project — pioneered by former premier Barry O’Farrell and Ms Berejiklian as transport minister — was “a dog”.

Contact Andrew Constance 02 8574 5807 to cancel the light rail.

Call 2GB 131873

Avatar for John


Looks like it duplicates a lot of the train line through the CBD.  Most of Melbourne’s CBD tram network doesn’t do that.

Avatar for John


And if a tram breaks down ?  The new Edinburgh tram-line took far longer to build and cost far more than was said at the beginning, and has not had the finance to go as far as intended, and – in that city has few patrons compared with the excellent and flexible bus system.  But there are worse problems ahead with a metro system that does not connect with the present system and where more have to stand (impossible for some of the elderly), with West Connex, with the hideous buildings that are damaging so many parts of our Sydney, and the hideous “developments” destroying beautiful and productive countryside -with few trees or parks less alone houses built for our climate, and the over-riding of local Councils by the State Government. And behind all, the elephant in the room, the utterly unsustainable levels of immigration in Australia, supported by the Coalition, Labor, and the Greens – far, far more than the average of 70,000 a year not so long ago. I shall be voting for Sustainable Australia, with its call for a return to that average level (without changing the present comparatively small number of refugees) and its moderate positions generally. And since Pauline Hanson at least draws our attention to what those who benefit from high immigration, not least developers whether Australian or Asian, would want us to ignore, I think, despite all her ignorance on some matters, she will get my preference!  So many people feel they are not being heard by those in power.

Avatar for Howard


That means the light rail will move 13,500 more people in each direction than are moved today. So instead of 14,500 people not being moved, only 1,000 will not be moved. Sounds like an improvement of 13,500 out of 14,500 or close to 90%. The sooner it’s up and running, the better for those 13,500.

Avatar for F


That’s an interesting interpretation of the numbers. Unfortunately it’s not correct.

Avatar for John



@F What are the correct numbers, F? And why does the transport minister refuse to release them? Cancel the light rail – call Gladys Berejiklian 02 8574 5000

Avatar for Peter


Just build the thing and get it into operation.  Beyond me, why the first 2 kilometres is not finished and running by now!!

Avatar for John



@Peter Why finish something that there is no benefit for? 15 trams per hour at a nominal capacity of 4,215 or a crush capacity of 6,750 passengers per hour.

Apparently that is supposed to replace 220 buses inbound and outbound with a capacity of 16,000. A cut of at least 60%

At a cost of $3.5 Billion and rising for 30 trams, that’s $116 Million per tram, compared for $0 for using existing buses.

OR, for $3.5 Billion we could buy 3,500 Aussie made electric buses capacity 245,000 passengers.

Avatar for Tamas


Give it a rest. This is as bad as the SMH’s whining on westconnex. It’s a great piece of infrastructure and people will love it once it’s up and running. The fact that its theoretical capacity doesn’t meet computer projections about the future is utterly irrelevant to me.

Avatar for Ross


Perhaps they can check the dreamtime records on this? Check on what the town planners were thinking before Cook and Bligh messed things up? I doubt they thought shutting down and creating a life-scale model of Raqqa in one of their three major cities for four to five years a great use of urban space.

Avatar for Graeme


Extend the Eastern suburbs rail from Bondi Junction. The tunnels to Charing Cross already exist. Cheaper option I am sure but no costing has been done to my knowledge. This would service Randwick and Pagewood at least.

Avatar for John



@Graeme Costing done based on North West Metro tunnelling, $1.5 Billion all up to Kingsford, $2 Billion to Pagewood/Maroubra, and then you could even extend it to the airport and the west.

But whats the point, when high capacity solar electric buses require no infrastructure and carry more people. e.g. More people are carried on buses over the harbour bridge in the AM peak compared to trains!

Avatar for Roger


So this story is a beat up. There is a perfectly sensible answer to the alleged failing which shows there is in fact no failing and yet the article as written as if there is in fact a shortfall. It is also clear that the line has considerably more capacity by running more closely spaced services, which as with the existing light rail in Sydney is no doubt exactly what will happen if and when demand exceeds the initial capacity.

Avatar for John



@Roger According to Transport for NSW there will be no increase in capacity until at least 2029, and then it ‘may’ only be a slight increase.

Apparently the project was supposed to be done to get 220 buses off the road in peak hour with a capacity of 16,000 passengers per hour – inbound and outbound including Geroge St services.

Compare this to the crash capacity of the light rail at 6,750 passengers per hour on 15 trams! Is it worth it at $3.5 Billion and rising (incl. 15 years operating costs)

Why won’t transport release the true facts despite orders by NCAT and the IPC????

Avatar for Bradley


So if a 67m long train every 4 minutes won’t work, how do the people get by now?

The light rail will be an improvement, just a shame the trams weren’t kept back in the day.

Avatar for John



@Bradley A 67 metre long train carries 450 people crush (4 passengers per square metre standing), or a nominal capacity of 281 (2 passengers per square metre standing)

At a frequency of 4 mins this is 6,750 passengers per hour (Crush capacity)

Compare this to the 220 buses the light rail is supposed to replace with a capacity of 16,000 passengers per hour! (Inbound and outbound including George St services)

If you doubt the figures, please contact Andrew Constance, transport minister 02 8574 5807 to confirm! 🙂

Edit (in 2 minutes)



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