Tribunal Orders on Sydney Light Rail Information

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has handed down a decision regarding the Freedom of Information request about travel time and capacity information on the CBD and South East Light Rail.

The original 2016 request was for information regarding the CBD and South East Light Rail travel times from Kingsford and Randwick to Circular Quay in peak hour and the operating capacity of the light rail.

You can find the full decision at this site: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5ca56082e4b0196eea405b11

The Tribunal Found that “I agree with the Applicant that it is reasonable to expect that the Transport Coordination Division may hold information that would fall within the scope of the access application. It is plausible to think that officers who appear in budget estimates hearings and parliamentary inquiries, produce marketing material and undertake regular media appearances in relation to the CSELR project would have been briefed in relation to the issues that they were discussing. It is reasonable to expect that at least some of this information would be held by those officers or by the Transport Coordination Division.”

The tribunal has ordered Transport for NSW to undertake further searches for the information, and a further case conference is to be held at 07 May 2019 at 9:30 AM, John Maddison Tower Level 10, 86 – 90 Goulburn Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000.

Documents, likely to contain the travel time and capacity estimations of the light rail have been found, but it is believed that the NSW Premier and Transport for NSW are refusing to release the documents, on the grounds they are ‘cabinet information’, despite having already released some of the other documents found that were marked ‘cabinet Information’

This freedom of information request is significant as it appears to confirm that the NSW Premier, Cabinet Members, Government Departments and public servants are able to release ‘cabinet information’ or ‘commercially confidential information’ if they choose to do so.

The Premier and Transport for NSW have also been given the opportunity to create a new public record with the information required with estimations of the travel times of light rail from Kingsford and Randwick to Circular Quay in peak hours and the operational capacity of the light rail.

To date, it is believed that the NSW Premier, Transport Minister and NSW Transport Department have not created a new public record, released the information or commented on the proceedings.

The next case conference is on:

Date: Tuesday 9th May
Time: 9:30am
Place: John Maddison Tower, Level 10, 88 Goulburn St, Sydney 2000.

Documents Released or Refused Access to date (with links)

1. Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail End State SCATISM Modelling Transport Modelling Assessment Released (Previously “Commercially Confidential”)

2. Strategic Plan – Options Identification Report (Booz & Co) Released (Previously “Cabinet Information”)

3. Strategic Plan – Integrated Transport and Land Use Milestone 5: Option Assessment (Booz & Co)Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

4. Strategic Plan – Integrated Transport and Land Use Milestone 5: Options Assessment Volume II Appendices (Booz & Co) Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

5. Transport Operations Report (Booz & Co) Released – Public Information

6. Strategic Plan – Transport Network Context (Trevor Townson Consulting) Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

7. Rapid Economic Appraisal Addendum Report 2: Bus Comparator (PWC) Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

8. CBD Bus and Traffic Network Plan for Light Rail – Discussion Paper (TfNSW) Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

9. CBD Bus and Traffic Paramics Modelling (SKM) – Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

Supplementary Documents Found (With Links)

SD1 CSELR PTPM- Round 5.3 Model Specifications – Version 3- 26 May 2014 (Summary Table; Summary Chart 2021 NB; Summary Chart 2021 SB) Released.

SD2 Correspondence – Standing Advice on Bus Changes (Standing advice) Released.

SD3 Planning and Infrastructure questions on Traffic and Transport (21 March 2014) TfNSW responses (21 March 2014) (EIS evaluation) Released.

SD4 – “Business Case: Project Brief: CBD and South East Light Rail” or “Final Business Case” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD5 – “Transport for NSW – CBD and South East Light Rail Detailed Economic Appraisal” or “PWC Final Report” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD6 – “Transport for NSW – Sydney Light Rail Strategic Plan: Preliminary Economic Appraisal (Draft report V1.0)” or “PWC Draft Report” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD7 – “Sydney CBD Bus and Traffic Paramics Modelling (Rev 2.0 Draft Final) (28 June 2012)” or “Draft SKM Report” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD8 – “Sydney CBD Bus and Traffic Paramics Modelling – Stage 2 (Rev 2.0 Draft Final)” or “Draft SKM Stage 2 Report” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD9 – “Sydney CBD Bus and Traffic Paramics Modelling – Independent Technical Review Stages 1 & 2 – prepared by GTA Consultants” or “GTA Final Report” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

SD10 Sydney CBD Bus and Traffic Paramics Modelling – Traffic Modelling Summary Report – prepared by GTA Consultants (February 2014) (GTA Draft) Released.

SD11 SE Corridor Maps. Released.

SD12 – “Initial Light Rail Operations Simulation and Analysis – Interfleet Technology 26 April 2013” or “Interfleet Document” Access Refused (Cabinet Information)

The original freedom of information request from December 2016 was seeking:

1.   Information revealing

a.   The licensed and forecast average operational loadings for the light rail vehicles in the morning peak hour from 8am – 9am on the CSELR

b.   The number of buses to be replaced by the light rail vehicles in the morning peak hour from 8am – 9am

c.   The licensed and average operational capacities of those buses.

2.   Documents revealing the details of any traffic modelling undertaken for the CSELR project. In this respect I specifically seek information which is not subject to cabinet-in-confidence provisions, which contains any of the following information

a.   Cost/benefit analysis between light rail and electric buses

b.   Cost/benefit analysis between light rail and business-as-usual (eg Our current buses)

c.   Forecast likely average light rail journey time from Kingsford to the City and Randwick to the City.”


1.   Information released or suppressed to date:

a.   The licensed and forecast average operational loadings for the light rail vehicles in the morning peak hour from 8am – 9am on the CSELR

Information released: Licensed capacity of light rail vehicles in the morning peak hour – 450 passengers per light rail vehicle or 6,750 passengers in one direction per hour.

Average operational loadings for light rail vehicles per hour: Information suppressed (cabinet information) or, possibly, not calculated.

However, this Information was calculated for the Inner West Light Rail in 2011, licensed and operational capacity were compared: (Maximum crush capacity and desirable capacity.)

SOURCE: GIPA Act Application 1314-35)

b.   The number of buses to be replaced by the light rail vehicles in the morning peak hour from 8am – 9am (Information released – 220 buses to be replaced by light rail in the morning peak hour.)

c.   The licensed and average operational capacities of those buses. (Information released – licensed capacity of 220 buses 25,300 passengers (115 passengers per bus) Operational capacity of buses – 16,000 passengers (73 passengers per bus.)

2.   Documents revealing the details of any traffic modelling undertaken for the CSELR project. In this respect I specifically seek information which is not subject to cabinet-in-confidence provisions, which contains any of the following information

a.   Cost/benefit analysis between light rail and electric buses (Information released – Previous government department claim that cost/benefit analysis was done between light rail and electric buses, however later information proves that this was not done.)

b.   Cost/benefit analysis between light rail and business-as-usual (eg Our current buses) Information suppressed (Cabinet information or, possibly, not completed.)

c.   Forecast likely average light rail journey time from Kingsford to the City and Randwick to the City.” Information suppressed – (Cabinet information, or, possibly information not calculated.)

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