Light rail will produce $4bn in benefits, while its estimated travel times have been revised downward according to the project’s Environmental Impact Statement and associated Business Case. In addition, a cut and cover tunnel has been confirmed for Moore Park. But most of the content in these two documents had already been released to the public.
Travel times previously estimated at 24 minutes between either Randwick or Kingsford and Sydney’s Central Station have been revised to 15 minutes from Randwick and 18 minutes from Kingsford. The travel times had been criticised for being longer than existing travel times on buses, particularly considering the additional travel time required for passengers required to make a transfer from bus to tram (or vice versa) as part of the planned bus network redesign. However, the new estimated times mean that travel to Central would now be faster by tram than is currently the case by bus, and also more reliable given that trams will travel the whole way entirely segregated from traffic, while existing bus routes must share some or all of their trip with private vehicles and can thus end up delayed in general traffic. While trips from Randwick to Circular Quay will be faster by tram than bus, trips from Kingsford to Circular Quay may remain faster by bus.
Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has also announced that light rail will cross Moore Park via a cut and cover tunnel. This was the preferred options for both TfNSW and in community consultations, but may result in a slightly longer journey as it requires an at grade crossing on South Dowling Street, whereas the viaduct option was a grade separated crossing over South Dowling St.
The Business Case finds that the light rail line will produce $4bn of benefits and cost $1.6bn to build, providing a Benefit:Cost ratio of 2.5 or $2.50 of benefit for every dollar invested in the project. It will also attract 76% of its patronage from existing or future public transport users, but also attract 17% of its patronage from car users, helping to take cars off the road.