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Media Release

27/05/2003

Tram Jam Plan Slammed

Trains the only solution for Doncaster

Bumper-to-bumper trams unable to move along Bourke Street is where a proposal for light rail to Doncaster would lead, said the Public Transport Users Association today

"To carry a serious share of Doncaster's city workforce, you would need to run at least fifty trams each peak hour" said Anna Morton, PTUA Vice President. "Obviously, this is not going to happen."

Dr Morton said that to cater for expected passenger numbers, a regular train, not light rail, is required. She said that even though this might initially be more expensive, the ongoing costs of operating the line to a sufficient capacity would be much lower. "Only ten trains, rather than fifty or sixty trams, would be required for each peak," she said. "A tram would only be adequate if the government is planning to carry school children, pensioners, a minority of CBD commuters and nobody else."

Dr Morton said that the government's target of carrying 20% of all trips on public transport by 2020 meant that public transport must carry passengers who have a car available and are not necessarily travelling to the CBD.

Dr Morton added that a light rail service would take longer to get passengers to their destination, and would also require more vehicles and drivers to maintain off peak services.

"Trams are much slower than trains, and a new tram line would cause severe tram congestion in Bourke Street as it ran through the City, slowing down other tram routes and causing chaos for passengers and tram operators alike." said Dr. Morton.

"We call upon Minister Batchelor to show some forward planning and build heavy rail to East Doncaster. Light rail is counterproductive for this corridor, and we will actively campaign against these plans," concluded Dr Morton.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


Background facts and figures

  • In 1996 (the most recent census figures available), there were 51,135 workers in the City of Manningham (which covers most of the catchment of the Doncaster line). Of these, 13,371 travelled to work in the inner city with almost 5,000 going to the CBD itself.
  • Setting market share targets consistent with other corridors and the 20% by 2020 target, and allowing for some school and university students, this means that around 7,000 passengers must be carried on the Doncaster line in peak hour. With 150 passengers per light rail vehicle, this would require at least 50 trams over the peak period, or more than one vehicle every two minutes.
  • Conversely, this number of passengers could be comfortably carried on around ten Melbourne trains.

Comparison between light and heavy rail

  Tram (Light Rail) Train (Heavy Rail)
Indicative capital cost $300 million $400 million
Approximate operating costs $7m/yr $4m/yr
Fare Evasion High Low
Travel time (Doncaster Shoppingtown to City) 30-40 minutes 20-25 minutes
Vehicles required for peak hour services c.50 7
Scope for patronage growth (additional services) Limited Adequate
Passenger conditions Majority standing Majority seated
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Last Modified: 03 June 2003