How much will light rail increase capacity?

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Transport
Tags: , , ,

A report a few months ago claiming that the CBD and South East Light Rail Line would be full almost as soon as it opens at the end of the decade raised questions about whether the $1.6bn being spent on the new line was money well spent. Perhaps it would have been better to spend a bit more and build an underground metro or extend the Eastern Suburbs Line from Bondi Junction instead.

One branch of the line from Kingsford is expected to have patronage peak at 2,968 passenger during the busiest hour of the morning peak, only 32 spots short of the inital capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour. That works out to 3 passengers per tram. But, to quote Obi Wan Kenobi from Return of the Jedi:,“What I told you was true, from a certain point of view”.

If patronage is that high, then it is possible to double the number of trams operating on that branch. In reality, light rail will provide an effective 75% increase on existing capacity.

Route of the CBD and South East Light Rail Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW)

Route of the George Street and South East Light Rail Line. Click to enlarge. (Source: Transport for NSW)

So what is the current capacity, and how much will light rail increase capacity?

The status quo

In 2010, the busiest hour during the AM peak sees 135 all stop bus services and 62 express bus services using the Anzac Parade corridor to reach the CBD, with these services having an average loading of 55 and 36 passengers per bus respectively. The all stop services tend to use Cleveland St, Foveaux St, and Oxford St to reach the CBD, while the express services tend to use the Eastern Distributor and then return along Elizabeth St in the opposite direction of peak hour traffic (the X39 is the only exception). All up, these buses carry 8,270 passengers but have a theoretical maximum capacity of 11,820 if all buses carried a full loading of 60 passengers each. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 40)

If the loadings for all stop services were as high as the express services then it could allow for fewer buses to carry the same level of patronage. Instead, there are more buses on the road than there need to be, leading to greater levels of congestion from the so called conga line of buses that often inhabit the CBD during peak hour. This also means that achieving the maximum capacity of 11,820 would mean maintaining the current delays this corridor suffers. In fact, delays would probably worsen.

Changes to the bus network

A redesigned bus network would see almost all of these all stop services cease travelling into the CBD, with passengers instead transferring to a tram at either Kingsford or Randwick to complete their journey. (Anyone travelling to the Northern end of the CBD could continue to take one of the express buses, which are set to be retained during peak hour.) By moving passengers from half empty buses onto high capacity and frequent trams, the vehicles used to transport passengers can be more efficiently utilised. This should minimise delays, allowing the actual journey duration to more accurately reflect the timetabled journey duration. That is the primary reason why adding a forced transfer for many passengers will actually lead to shorter journeys in practice, if not in theory.

Some bus routes will continue to operate into the CBD (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, pp. 39, 130-131), these include the 339, 343, 373, 395, and 396. (The 372 will only reach Central before turning left and heading West along Parramatta Road, while the 343/395/396 routes are set to be merged.) Based on current service levels, that’s about 25 all stop services. Meanwhile, an additional 4 express services per hour are expected to be added (Source: Sydney’s Light Rail Future, p. 18).

Proposed changes to the bus network in SE Sydney once light rail begins operating in 2020. Click to enlarge. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 130)

Proposed changes to the bus network in SE Sydney once light rail begins operating in 2020. Click to enlarge. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 130)

Assuming current loadings, that gives an expected patronage for all bus services of 4,530 with a maximum capacity of 5,460.

Light rail capacity

The CSELR is initially expected to operate 20 trams per hour during peak hour, splitting 10 trams along each of the two branches to Kingsford and Randwick. With a vehicle capacity of 300, that means an initial hourly capacity in each direction of 6,000 in total and 3,000 per branch. In the year 2021, right before the two branch lines merge at Anzac Parade and Alison Road, they are expected to carry 2,968 and 2,330 passengers per hour respectively. After they merge, more passengers are expected to board until loadings peak right before Central Station with 5,366 passengers per hour. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 117)

As mentioned previously, that the Kingsford branch is expected to reach 98.9% of its maximum hourly capacity is concerning, but easily rectified so long as additional services can be quickly added to the timetable. A full compliment of 30 services per hour gives a maximum capacity of 9,000 passengers in each direction.

2014-01-16 CSELR current and future patronage and capacity table

With 80 seats per tram, there will only be 800 seats per hour for each of the 2 branches. Given that the first tram stop on each branch is expected to have 826 passengers at Randwick and 1,456 passenger at Kingsford (see graph below), no seats will be available after the first stop until passengers start getting off from Central Station onwards. The net reduction in seats is one of the major losses from the change, but possible given the smoother ride of a tram makes passengers more willing to stand. Having more standing space also increases the total capacity.

Expected boarding levels in 2021. The scale on the left hand side is incorrect. Use the figures above each bar to determine loading levels. Click to enlarge. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p.  117)

Expected boarding levels in 2021. The scale on the left hand side is incorrect. Use the figures above each bar to determine loading levels. Click to enlarge. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 117)

Current vs future capacity

The Anzac Parade corridor’s patronage currently stands at about 8,270 during the busiest hour of the morning peak. With greater loadings on all stop services, this could theoretically be increased to 11,820. However, this would only further add to existing delays via higher dwell as more passengers boarded buses at each stop. Therefore, it could be argued that the current patronage of 8,270 is already above the maximum hourly capacity that does not result in delays and longer journey times.

A large scale reduction in bus volumes when light rail is introduced could potentially allow the remaining buses to operate without the previously mentioned delays. The remaining bus services, fully loaded, could carry 5,460 passengers per hour (comprised of 1,500 from all stop services and 3,960 from express services). Meanwhile, light rail is capable of carrying up to 9,000 passengers per hour. This provides a total maximum capacity of 14,460 passengers per hour.

2014-01-16 CSELR current and future patronage and capacity graph

This increase in capacity over the existing patronage, from 8,270 to 14,460, represents a 75% improvement. If it were attempted with buses alone then it would be accompanied by worsening delays and longer journey lengths. A greater increase in capacity could have been achieved via the construction of an underground metro or an an extension of the Eastern Suburbs Line, but the higher cost would be disproportionately larger than the improved capacity it would provide.

The main challenge in ensuring that this is a seamless process is that transfers are made as easy as possible, both in a physical and financial sense. Transfers must be physically easy, requiring simple cross platform transfers from bus to tram and vice versa. Transfers must also not impose a financial penalty, requiring some sort of multi-modal fare. While the former is part of the current proposal, the latter requires cabinet approval and no decision has been made on it yet.

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Comments
  1. Simon says:

    I don’t understand the point of this post. Is there a shortage of capacity on Elizabeth St for buses from the East? Not that I’m aware of. George St is where the issues are.

    Seems to conveniently ignore the effect of moving buses from George St to Elizabeth St.

  2. Simon says:

    I’m not sure how you (or the NSW government) get the capacity of the express buses. There’s practically no limit to these. You don’t even need to use Elizabeth St: you could use Castlereagh St.

  3. Alex says:

    Thanks Bambul for another great article.

    While I agree with your main point, there is also the issue of the extent to which the proposals to increase densities around the line particularly near its terminus in Kingsford (which you discussed in a post back in November) will increase demand above any additional capacity provided by light rail.

    As I said in a comment at the time, I understand the logic of increasing residential densities in areas served by new transport infrastructure but plans for new developments up to 20 storeys and to double the population of Kingsford seem excessive, especially if there isn’t a matching increase in employment opportunities in the area.

    Against this the planned 25% increase in maximum capacity seems quite inadequate, even allowing for the gap between current capacity and patronage – especially as there will be additional demand from people switching from cars to light rail because of the improved service.

    If any new transit-related development is relatively modest then the growth in demand will probably be able to be absorbed by the light rail. However, as I said before, if they are serious about 20-storey developments there would seem to be a case for a metro.

    On the other hand, I suppose this doesn’t have to be an either/or thing – if the light rail is a victim of its own success and demand outstrips capacity, a future government could still decide to build a metro or, as Infrastructure NSW proposed, extend the ESR with stations at Randwick and Kingsford.

  4. martin says:

    Interesting article. As simon says, I am a little confused about the point of this post…

    One of the main things I noticed, is that when you talk about capacity, you seem to only talking about vehicle capacity, not corridor capacity.

    Vehicle capacity between the modes is a very different beast. Traditionally, buses need a driver per vehicle, and while you can have a longer vehicle (or even a double decker vehicle), you are generally limited to a capacity of about 120 passengers per vehicle. Some european networks do have trailing vehicles being towed, however I have only ever seen this in operation on trolly bus lines.

    Trams, on the other hand, can be both longer than buses (Budapest has 53m Combino trams with a capacity of 352), and coupled (Paris regularly couples their 7 section citadis together for a combined length of 70m+ and a carrying capacity of 600+).

    Corridor capacity restrictions, however, deal with things like traffic light priority, the availability of multiple platforms at terminus (or even balloon loops to keep things moving), and having ‘sidings’ irregularly throughout the network to be able to ‘stash’ a broken down tram. To this end, having a mobile breakdown vehicle, and rapidly deployable ‘customer service agents’ can assist in maintaining corridor ‘health’.

    Basically, to determine its capacity, a decision needs to be made on what sort of ‘priority’ is to be given to the light rail. The higher the priority, the better the movement of passengers. 20 trams per hour is easily achievable – just go to Melbourne and watch the peak morning shuttle down St Kilda Road from Flinders Street station.

  5. TandemTrainRider says:

    iirc Germany has a maximum allowable tram length of 90m, and a lot of their designs/systems have trams that are multiples of 30m or 45m, with a 30m

    The San Diago LRT system is (AFAIK) 120m using multiples of 30m, with each 30m unit having a capacity of ~250 (236, I jsut checked) and seating for 64.

    Personally I think 45m is way too short for the platform design. Space should be allocated to allow extenion of the tram platforms to 90m.

  6. martin says:

    I agree. It is one of the problems that was obvious in hindsight with Melbourne’s platform stops.

    The stop needs to be at least long enough that two trams can fit onto it at the same time – passenger interchange where more than one line diverges is a perfect example of why it is needed. The other thing to take into consideration is future needs.

  7. Rails says:

    I read that Sydney City Council were the ones restricting the length of Light Rail stops in the CBD. If so, at least that is something that can be rectified in the future when you require more capacity.

  8. Alex says:

    I understand from reading the CSELR documentation and the previous posts and comments that the trams will be 45m and capable of being coupled, though only the special event platforms at Central and Moore Park will be 90m long.

    However I think Bambul you indicated in a reply on one of these posts that the trams were unlikely to be coupled in operation because of the potential to block traffic on cross streets, particularly going through Surry Hills.

  9. @Alex –

    That’s according to what I was told at one of the information sessions by a project engineer. He said it was more likely that the longer platforms would be used for multiple vehicles to be loaded/unloaded, but then travel separately due to the potential to block traffic on cross streets while travelling through Devonshire St. Though none of the official documentation mentions this, instead promoting the ability for 2 trams to be coupled together for utilisation of the 90m platforms. My guy feeling is that it will come down to traffic light priority through Devonshire St as well as actual trials. You never know until you try them out in action, and that is some 5-6 years away as it is.

    The other point of interest is the point that the biggest need for capacity would be during double headers (both the SCG and SFS) rather than a single match at one or both venues. Presumably the same would apply when there was an event at the racecourse that was timed to occur simultaneously with one or both of the sporting grounds. These would be the times when the 90m platforms would be most utilised.

  10. TandemTrainRider says:

    > If so, at least that is something that can be rectified in the future when you require more capacity.
    From the designs I’ve seen (posted here) some of the stations are located in places a 90m platform wouldn’t fit, and the Kingsford terminus IIRC couldn’t have it’s platforms extended without rail re-alignment.

  11. Rails says:

    TTR,

    Hmm, wasn’t aware of that, I haven’t actually been paying much attention to this project actually!

  12. In response to earlier comments:

    @Simon –

    The figures for express buses comes from the Sydney’s Light Rail Future document, which shows a slight increase in express buses by the end of the decade. As you state, this can be increased further, and is the case whether light rail goes ahead or not. The real bottleneck is in the corridor for all stops services via Central, where light rail serves to increase capacity.

    @Alex –

    A lot of this is still in the design/consultation phase, so figures can be a bit rubbery. What I have heard is that the Randwick/Kingsford/Maroubra Urban Activation Precinct plans are for an additional 30,000 dwellings in this area all up. Light rail will allow for about 6,000 passengers per hour above the current patronage (14k up from 8k). For the AM peak, a rule of thumb of twice this amount gives 12,000 passengers that can be carried each morning. Even if there are 4 CBD workers per 10 new dwellings (much higher than the city wide average of 1.5, which from what I’ve read is roughly in line with the Eastern Suburbs due to the large nearby employment hubs: hospital/university/airport/seaport) then all the new CBD workers should be able to be accommodated by public transport.

    This doesn’t factor in modal shift to light rail from cars (which will soak up spare capacity), but also fails to factor in additional express buses (which will create additional capacity). Lets assume they cancel each other out. So all up I’m probably a bit more confident in the ability of light rail to handle the large increases in residential densities.

    And, like you said, if the light rail is “too successful” then it can provide support for an extension of the rail line from Bondi Junction or for a new metro line under Anzac Parade. Either of these could possibly double the already enhanced hourly capacity from 14,000 passengers per hour to somewhere around 30,000, albeit at a much higher cost than the $1.6bn light rail project.

  13. Simon says:

    > The real bottleneck is in the corridor for all stops services via Central, where light rail serves to increase capacity.

    Well, via Broadway. Perhaps that’s what is meant? I’m not aware of a bottleneck on Foveaux St.

  14. Sam says:

    @Bambul
    If the light rail is “too successful” then it can provide support for an extension of the rail line from Bondi Junction or for a new metro line under Anzac Parade.

    The cost of Light Rail removes any likelihood of any future metro under Anzac Pde. Metro did make a lot of sense and would probably have been less than twice as expensive.

  15. OC says:

    This project looks like a boondoggle before construction has even started. At $1.6bn for a measly 25% increase in capacity the cost benefit ratio looks slim even before the obligatory cost blowout. Given the internal peer review is already suggesting the budget is understated you know the final blowout will be catastrophic. In addition the budget doesnt quantify the enormous economic cost to business and commuters of disruption as sydney’s main north south traffic artery is cut off for 3+ years!
    A far more sensible outcome would be an extension of the bus only lanes all the way into the city (combined with the construction of large multi storey offstreet parking structures at the shopping strips on the route),, the purchase of enough land around buys stations to construct busbays so buses can pass, bus prioritisation at traffic lights, rationalisation of some stops and the purchase of a large fleet of double decker buses. Down the track as this solution (essentially brt) reaches capacity you could plan for a metro.

  16. Simon says:

    OC, what do you mean about the bus lanes? The full length of George St until Bond St has bus lanes in both directions IIRC. Elizabeth St is almost there too, lacking the bit from Park St to Bathurst St southbound.

    A Bus only lane (i.e. kicking out taxis etc) makes sense for parts of George St and York St in the mornings. Perhaps that is what you mean?

  17. @Sam –

    Where did you get your “less than twice as expensive” figure from?

    The CSELR will cost about $130m/km while the NWRL tunnels will cost about $400m/km. That’s 3 times as expensive, and probably understates the ratio given the difficulty of building under the CBD (which a new underground metro would have to).

    The CBD Relief Line utilising the Metro West corridor was costed at $5bn back in 2012. That’s 3 times the cost of the CSELR before you even leave the CBD!

    The point can be made that these figures are inflated, but then the same argument should be applied to light rail’s cost.

    The reality is that either way, tunnelling will generally cost 4-8 times what building on the surface does. And this case does not appear far out of step with that rule of thumb.

  18. Sam says:

    Hey Bambul,
    I basically made the cost up based on cost per passenger estimates – probably about twice that of light rail due to larger potential passenger volume of the metro – but my point was I think the almost $2 billion spent on CSELR rules out the $4 billion (at least) required for any future heavy rail to the south east.

  19. Greg Seeney says:

    I think that looking to the future, if this line hits capacity and is a victim of it’s own success the next logical step is the Infrastructure NSW ESR extension proposal, going either Randwick and Kingsford or Randwick and Maroubra Junction. This would be complimentary to the light rail rather than overbuilding, and would relieve the line of many of the passengers transferring from buses.

    This would free up capacity on the light rail line to serve those further in, allowing the whole corridor to be built out/densified further. This would be much cheaper than building a new metro line in the CBD – a CBD route can go elsewhere. The fact is that we have a route into the CBD which is currently sitting there only 70% used in the peak, and we are better off using that capacity up.

    Current travel time from Bondi Junction to Town Hall is 10 minutes, so expect time from Randwick to be 13 minutes and Maroubra Junction to be 16/17 minutes – fast enough to encourage interchange. This relief point would also enable the light rail to be extended down to Malabar without capacity issues.

    Preference may be to bring the line to Kingsford rather than Maroubra to allow a future extension to Sydenham via Mascot, but I doubt that link would ever be high enough priority to jump ahead of other proposals such as a Northern Beaches line or the PERL, so a better approach to getting people from the south west to the eastern suburbs employment and education centers may be a bus priority corridor from Sydenham to Randwick stations via Mascot and Kingsford along Gardeners Rd. This would need some heavy priority work (especially crossing Princes Highway) to really entice people to transfer at Sydenham and Mascot for these destinations rather than heading via the CBD, or worse – driving in via the M5 tunnel!

  20. TandemTrainRider says:

    > I think that looking to the future, if this line hits capacity and is a victim of it’s own success the next logical step is the Infrastructure NSW ESR extension proposal, going either Randwick and Kingsford or Randwick and Maroubra Junction.

    Sorry to harp on this, but the logical thing to do is *design* in the capability of increasing the length of the trams. It costs nothing to do this now, and will mean the difference between millions and billions when the time comes for upgrades down the track.

    I’d suggest an ESR extension is more an alternative than complement to this LRT scheme. Potentially much greater capacity, but has the problem of other Sydney rail: a slow loopy alignment that might leave on-road transit faster.

  21. OC says:

    Simon, I mean exactly what i said. 100% coverage of the route between randwick/kingsford junctions and the terminus at circular quay with bus lanes. At the moment there are significant gaps in coverage (e.g. liverpool street westbound or phillip street after hunter street intersection). The latter may be after the majority of passengers has disembarked but causes buses to back up all the way down elizabeth street. Fact is there is an alternative that delivers much better capacity additions per $ spent. Hell just run double deckers on the eastern distributor! Max height allowed is 4.4m. Alexander Dennis manufacture double deckers of a height that just squeezes in (4.1-4.4m depending on model).

    The obvious rail solution is extending the eastern suburbs line down avoca and then anzac parade all the way to la perouse if need be. Would then allow kingsford/pagewood alignment to have elizabeth street capacity to itself. As far as am aware eastern suburbs isnt at capacity westbound into city (almost there from the south into city).

  22. Alex says:

    Interesting article on how light rail was retrofitted in Bergen, Norway: http://informatransport.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/norwegian-regional-city-proves-that-no-city-is-too-small-for-light-rail/ .

    Admittedly this is a much smaller city than Sydney and would have higher densities, though those along the CESLR are fairly high (or will be with the planned redevelopment). According to this article patronage is nearly 50% than initially estimated; a second extension to the line is under construction and there are demands for further extensions.

    Refreshing also that the line was built on time and under budget…

  23. OC says:

    Actually Bergen has a significantly LOWER population density than the CBD and the areas the tram will pass through which is part of the reason why the cost will be much higher (pop density of Bergen urban area is c2500 per sq km, Sydney south east of cbd is between 5000-9000 per sq km). This os because resumption costs and the cost of moving utilities will be very high (George Street will be horrendous). Bergen’s project for some reason also forced the utility company to pay all the utility relocation costs.This just shifts costs to utility customers it doesnt improve the cost benefit analysis.

  24. Peter Isaacs says:

    The cost of moving utilities in George Street should be zero! This street has had trams in the past and there is every probability that the rails are still there so why do the utilities need moving? They have already had trams passing over them. If the utility companies want easy access to their services then it is up to them to pay for it. If they were as responsible and forward thinking as they should have been then the utility services would be in easily accessable tunnels already but that would impact on their profits.

  25. Simon says:

    Peter, I don’t want to ever do business with somewhere you are in charge of.

  26. OC says:

    “This street has had trams in the past and there is every probability that the rails are still there so why do the utilities need moving?”

    1) The rails aren’t still there;
    2) They were there 53 years ago. Believe it or not things have changed in that time on George Street.

  27. Alex says:

    “This street has had trams in the past and there is every probability that the rails are still there so why do the utilities need moving?”

    I recall talking some years ago to a transport planner connected with the first stage of Sydney’s light rail project who said that the fact that streets like George Street had trams for many years would be a major plus if they were to be reinstated, as their presence had influenced the location of many of the basic utilities installed up until the 1960s.

    However, while I support the CESLR proposal (albeit with some misgivings) I have to agree with OC’s statement that a lot has happened in the past 53 years; for example the installation of new utilities, repairs and relocation of existing utilities. In addition any tunnels that cross under George Street may need upgrading, even if they were originally constructed to accommodate the presence of tram tracks over them.

    And of course it is unlikely that the new tram alignments will be exactly the same as the old ones. In fact, one of the first tasks which is about to commence is working out exactly where these services are: http://www.sydneylightrail.transport.nsw.gov.au/latest/notifications/current-works .

    Incidentally this reminds me of a probably apocryphal story I heard a few years ago. A chap was digging a hole in the cellar of his house in London for some renovations when part of the floor gave way. There was a clattering of bricks into a dark mysterious cavern below – and then a moment later a roar as a set of lights illuminated what was obviously a set of rails and a tube train passed underneath.

    When he contacted London Underground the response was “that’s interesting – we weren’t sure exactly where the line was in that section”…

  28. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    There are a number of factual errors made in the article above, such as being able to double the number of light rail trains on the Kingsford sub-route. The EIS clearly states that the interchange max capacity to handle bus/rail interchange is 2,000 passengers an hour. This is due to Anzac Parade being a traffic volume constrained arterial road, the LR decreasing traffic flow rates due to its priority at traffic intersections and the admission that in reality its max capacity of trams per hour from CQ is just 20 in peak times (10 each to Randwick and Kingsford).
    The current bus capacity calculated using actual bus capacity in the area currently used rather than Sydney Bus’ average see current peak hour capacity nearer to 17,000 per hour. A larger number than will be the case after $1.3bn has been thrown away on construction capital costs.
    The project team has admitted publicly that the EIS numbers are inaccurate and responded that it did not matter as private sector operators would work it out.
    The understatement of existing capacity and overstatement of future capacity is alarming.
    The 11,820 figure stated (referred to in article above and EIS) states max bus capacity is 60 passengers. FALSE – BLATANTLY UNTRUE.
    In the peak hours the highest frequency routes (such as 373 etc) use articulated buses with a passenger capacity of 121. Recent standard bus purchases take 82 passengers. Current standard buses used in the area also take 72, 67 or 63 passengers not 60.
    If all peak hour buses were replaced by articulated then max capacity would become 24,000 approx (197 * 121). Yes that is TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND passengers per hour. If the proposed train only lines were switched to bus only lanes along the footpath edges then bus journey times would decrease – yet another benefit for a 90% cheaper solution.

    The cost of buying an additional 130 articulated buses is less than one tenth of the construction cost of the CSELR and the operational costs are on a par when based on real world assumptions such as factoring in the rate of ‘free-riding’ on a one driver, no conductor 300 person tram (see Victorian figures on fare evasion on conductorless trams/trains). Or even look at the recent SMH articles on the $120m fare evasion on Sydney rail (and that’s where they have barriers to stop you getting out) – the CSELR will have no barriers at stops.

    Hold on, what about the additional 220 buses per am peak hour that will be removed from the CBD between Central and CQ (all but 4 coming from Parramatta Rd NOT Randwick/Kingsford). How will these potentially 13,000 to 17,000 passengers swap to the LR train that is already full from Randwick/Kingsford? It seems an awfully large number of people to put on a 6,000 per hour light rail operating at crush capacity. Equally the Melbourne experience suggests that in peak hours it is rare to sustainably achieve more than 70% of crush capacity as passengers crowd the entry/exit doors not wanting to miss their stops due to the over-crowding. If this is replicated in the larger Sydney LR trains we are down to 4,200 per hour.

    Curiously enough the express bus figures quoted of 36/60 passengers equate to 60% – perhaps Sydneysiders take up more room than ‘friendly’ Melbournites? The figure of 36 passengers though seems hard to accept given the express 37 buses in am peaks operate above crush capacity regularly (as I see them bypass me at the bus stop) and equally so the 39 express services according to feedback from other locals. Given the inaccuracy over bus capacity calculations in the EIS it does make you wonder about the express bus figures. Similarly the UNSW express services are often observed with little to no standing room.

    All this is why this bus region subsidises the rest of Sydney Buses due to its high profitability.

    But we need a solution that can grow as Sydney does. TNSW admit the CSELR can never expand its capacity due to the shared carriageway (cannot stop cars on Crown St etc every 30 seconds to allow 60 per hour frequency, or every 45 seconds to allow 40 per hour frequency). indeed the planners admit that 30 per hour frequency will cause traffic chaos as does the RMS’s own analysis.

    The only solution is underground heavy rail. Thanks to the WestConnex documents revealing that the current cost per km for boring a larger diameter tunnel (than required for two way heavy rail) is under $40m per km. Barry O’Farrell admitted this last week, as reported in the SMH putting the all up cost of heavy rail (in NSW) at $80m per km. Note in WA with river crossings, bridges, tunnels and construction restrictions the cost was even less.

    More functional, cheaper on total cost per max passenger capacity (including capital costs) is heavy rail (The ESR) but with possible rerouting to take account of both the increased population since the ESR was originally formulated (at the same time or slightly before the trams were taken out).
    This is all the more practical given the recent duplication of the heavy rail line to Port Botany.

    Cut & cover construction in the reservation along Anzac Parade from Kingsford Nine
    Ways south along the Anzac Parade reservation through to the area in the vicinity of Long Bay Jail where it would head west to connect with a spur line on the recently duplicated rail line to Port Botany (which has over 90% unused capacity).

    The WA Mandurah heavy rail construction was recently completed at a lower cost per km than the
    proposed Light Rail despite having several km of tunnels; river crossings requiring bridge construction as well as being built along the centre of a highway with no disruption to traffic flow during construction.

    This suggests that an updated ESR warrants serious consideration given the timeliness of current costing for a similar project demonstrates the significantly more favourable cost/benefit outcome.
    Cut & cover along Anzac Parade would allow minimal disruption as the reservation’s width is nearly double that of the Mandurah centre path (which required no road closures despite much of it built along the median of a highway) and would only require closures for cross traffic at a single point at a time.
    Such a project would allow stops at Maroubra Junction, Beauchamp Rd as well as a Bunnerong Rd station to serve both Port Botany workers and Matraville residents.
    Such a ‘loop’ (as opposed to the out & back LR) would have passenger capacity between 5 and 15 times that of the LR with the added advantage of shorter journey times, no loss of traffic lanes nor parking, no noise due to its underground nature, reduce congestion at Central Station by allowing commuters from the South & South West to directly access both Randwick and Waverley LGAs without transiting Central.
    Potentially cutting journey times for UNSW or PoW bound commuters by 25-35 minutes compared with the best times to be achieved by the LR.
    It has to be mentioned that the LR project director came from the failed Portland Oregon Light Rail projects (TNSW Press Release).
    Since the introduction of LR to Portland – public use of the routes replaced by LR, in a similar fashion to that proposed, has fallen. In contrast to the bus routes not replaced where public usage has increased.
    More alarmingly though is that not only has the Oregon legislature commissioned an inquiry into the probity, transparency and governance of the LR Authority but every LR project since they started in 1988 was between 90% and nearly 700% over budget. The size of their budget blowouts actually increased for each subsequent project.
    With this background, if the project director’s experience is anything to go by then extending the Eastern Suburbs Railway could end up costing less than this white-elephant project.

  29. michblogs says:

    It seems rather strange that the number of people getting on the tram at Rawson place, due to being forced off terminating Broadway buses, is so small.

    The assumption that people who currently get to sit on a bus for 40 minutes twice a day, will be enthusiastic about standing on a packed tram for 30 minutes twice a day, instead. It is even more heroic to assume that this scenario will also attract people who currently use cars.

  30. michblogs says:

    The other difference between the trams and a metro, is the huge improvement in travel time.

  31. michblogs says:

    One could also notice, that a metro doesn’t have to be all underground. You could run metro trains on the surface next to Anzac parade for about 3 km.

  32. michblogs says:

    ” I understand the logic of increasing residential densities in areas served by new transport infrastructure “….

    This illustrates the fallacy of applying generic sim-city type town planning concepts to specific cases. If you want to build high density transport and then rezone for high density residential within walking distance of the tram stops, then logically, you’d be building over most or all of Moore Park. How likely is that to happen ?

  33. Alex says:

    “This illustrates the fallacy of applying generic sim-city type town planning concepts to specific cases. If you want to build high density transport and then rezone for high density residential within walking distance of the tram stops, then logically, you’d be building over most or all of Moore Park. How likely is that to happen ?”

    Talking about fallacies – I think this is a classic straw man argument.

    Just because I agree with the logic of a general proposition doesn’t mean that I think it should be applied in all cases – or in this case, to every tram stop. As with any transport network there are going to be stops or stations that will function mainly as major trip originators in the morning peak, while others will become major trip destinations, with a reverse pattern in the evening. Other stops will operate as a mix of both.

    Moore Park will primarily be a major destination and origin station for sporting events, but presumably will function as a more modest traffic origin stop in the morning peak at other times. In fact my point as the rest of my comment makes clear is that I could understand the logic of a modest increase in densities in places like Kingsford, but I was concerned about the extent of development proposed.

    However, no matter what is planned in terms of rezoning for medium or high density development, I’ve no doubt that if the service is successful in increasing capacity and providing greater reliability and consistency particularly in peak hour that there will be an increase in demand for housing close to key stops like Kingsford. This in turn will lead to pressure to increase densities.

  34. TandemTrainRider says:

    While I don’t profess any great insight into the pros and cons of this project, I must say Andrew has highlighted most of my concerns about it. For me, it’s hard to see how it satisfies my usual “what problem are we solving here?” question.

    That said, I don’t think it’s practical (as distinct from reasonable) to compare heavy rail projects in the eastern states with the Mandurah project. That was done exceptionally well by Aussie government standards. If we could do that in NSW, we’d have a lot more PT. We almost certainbly would *not* have an extended ESR, because the idea of that being built to Mandurah prices is fantasy.

    Also, using Portland as the case against LR is probably like using NSW as a ‘typical’ example to show why heavy rail is a bad idea. For any number of reasons – not least because it was built where it was easy to build rather than in response to specific demand – Portland has been one of the worst of the Nth American LRT schemes. It is disturbing if the Sydney LRT project director was sourced from Portland, and perhaps there is more in common with these projects than we might have imagined: namel they are both being built by a government keen to show they support light rail rather than to actually solve any particular transport problem.

  35. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    Alex’s comment:

    “However, no matter what is planned in terms of rezoning for medium or high density development, I’ve no doubt that if the service is successful in increasing capacity and providing greater reliability and consistency particularly in peak hour that there will be an increase in demand for housing close to key stops like Kingsford. This in turn will lead to pressure to increase densities.”

    Is absolutely correct, if the LR trains increased transport capacity then perhaps some of the assumptions of ‘benefits’ would be justified. The spin document ‘Summary of business case’ claims one of the benefits is decreased journey times overall. That claim is patently false, again a point that the deputy-project director admitted at the only public Q&A group session held.

    The current bus carrying capacity was not known by the project team, was not calculated by the project team but was picked up from an error-ridden consultant’s report to Randwick City Council. When I challenged them on its accuracy they revealed where it was taken from originally.

    The underlying assumptions for the CSELR have never been released to the public DESPITE many individuals and groups seeking them since the first major spin document was released in April 2013. TNSW committed in writing to including them in the EIS.

    As with many other TNSW ‘commitments’ they did not carry through on the undertaking. In fact since April 2013 I have had over 30 questions outstanding concerning just the claims made in that 6 page document. Just one question was answered in the EIS.

    Back to the capacity issue – traffic congestion increases under the LR scheme as Anzac Parade becomes no-right turn for all but 3 cross streets or side streets. Some venues, such as Souths Juniors require a nearly 3km detour to reach due to this (for example). The EIS declares that there will be no right turn (as phasing times do not allow it) for traffic at the Nine-Ways (soon to become 4 ways) intersection for traffic coming from the single entry from Bunnerong Rd and Gardeners Rd.

    Using current traffic statistics suggests that this alone will force over 2,000 additional vehicle movements (just in peak hours) through an additional 4 or 5 intersections.

    The EIS claims a multi-hundred million dollar benefit from reduced traffic congestion, yet the RMS’ modeling suggests billions of dollars in traffic congestion costs.

    Perhaps this is why the underlying assumptions cannot be revealed.

    Another comment on you cannot us WA construction costs to compare with NSW does have some substance – after all throughout the entire time the Mandurah Heavy Rail was being built the contractors were having to compete with the massive demand (& salaries) coming from the Resources Construction Boom.

    Yes, something is indeed wrong with NSW transport construction costs.

    There was a claim that building a Heavy Rail tunnel costs $400m per km. Sorry but the WestConnex documents clearly show the cost to be below $40m per km – that loss of an extra zero makes a big difference.

    When you factor in the benefit of underground tunneling vs above-ground road closures (major arterial roads at that) for 3-4 years then there is no contest.

    Curiously enough despite the EIS stating that the noise from the work in residential areas will not permit sleep BUT dues to the thousands of residents impacted it would be too expensive to provide alternative accommodation.

    The people of NSW need fast efficient public transport solutions that can expand capacity through the future. This knee-jerk uncosted election promise fails on all three counts as many experts have written.

    Isn’t pride a costly thing for taxpayers to bear?

  36. @Andrew Roydhouse –

    Which WestConnex documents are you referring to?

    The total cost of WestConnex is an estimated $11.5bn for 33km of freeway. Only part of this is tunnel, but even if the whole length was tunneled then that works out at about $350m/km. The surface portions are going to be cheaper than this, meaning the tunnels are probably cost closer to $400m/km or $500m/km.

    But even sticking with the very conservative $350m/km, this is still almost 10 times the $40m/km figure previously quoted and almost 3 times the cost of the CSELR on a per km basis. So I would be very keen on seeing a source for it.

  37. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    Smoke & Mirrors – costs and claims

    In the documents released and trumpeted by BoF initially and then again in both Nov/Dec as well as more recently (BoF – Heavy Rail cost $80mn per km) there were some snippets of information heavily buried amongst much spin. Comparing these figures with those publicly available for the WA Mandurah heavy rail (which included tunnelling in the city, bridges, river crossings etc) provide useful information.

    In one section BoF declared that the cost for boring two 14km long tunnels, each with the capacity for three semi-trailer (carrying 2 TEU containers) lanes PLUS safety space on either side of the tunnel would cost $1bn.

    So that is a total tunnel length of 28 km for $1bn so divde by 28km provides a cost per km below $40mn.

    More recently was this with the capital cost per km for heavy rail from BoF article “Planes, trains and cars all tied up in planning for Badgerys Creek”, SMH 6 Feb 14 – price per km in second last paragraph.

    Now the diameter for a traffic tunnel capable of carrying three semi trailers (fully loaded) and tunnel side space is GREATER than that required for a tunnel to carry 2 double decker heavy rail trains and side offsets (see INSW discussion of using the vacant heavy rail tunnels in the City (Wynyard) for buses vs double decker trains). Boring a lower diameter tunnel will lower the cost accordingly.

    Indeed NSW Treasury et al justified creating the dog’s breakfast more commonly known as the NorthWest project – boring a single deck capable tunnel instead of double deck capable, as it was $225mn cheaper to do so for the15.5km tunnel. The fact that the costs flowing from this decision – creating an incompatible add-on is estimated to cost (in present value terms) between $700-1,200mn as well as potentially discouraging public transport use due to the inconvenience (and lack of capacity) at the required interchange.

    Now with traffic tunnels there is the additional cost for ventilation (extraction of poisonous fumes & particulate) which is many times the requirement for electrified heavy rail. With heavy rail a large proportion (up to 100% actually) of the ventilation (extraction) is achieved through the movement of the trains through the tunnel forcing the air flow and the stops along the tunnel route providing the exit/inlet.

    For example, if you stand on the train platforms at Bondi Junction you can feel the increase in air pressure as soon as the train enters the tunnel from Edgecliff, and as the train accelerates away from Edgecliff the rush of air into Bondi junction station increases.

    With a traffic tunnel this is not the case.

  38. @Andrew Roydhouse –

    I see. You’re just talking about tunnelling costs (the entire project doesn’t end once the tunnels are bored, it merely brings you to the equivalent starting point for a surface project). While I still didn’t see a link to a source for the $40m/km figure for WestConnex, I’m happy to take that figure at face value.

    When you look at the tunnelling costs for the NWRL, with its dual 15.5km tunnels and $1.15bn cost[1], it gives you $37m/km (using your methodology of doubling the length when dual tunnels are bored). This is almost identical to the $40m/km cost you cite for the tunnelling costs for WestConnex.

    Now, obviously each tunnel is different, as you pointed out. The NWRL example is quite deep and long, with few points of access, while a road tunnel needs to be larger and so costs more due to greater spoil that needs to be carried away. But the ballpark figures are roughly the same for any given length of tunnel when you compare apples with apples.

    [1] Source: http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/tunnelling-contract-north-west-rail-link

  39. Daniel says:

    I was a bit disappointed with the scale-back from a metro line to a light rail for ANZAC parade. But then again it’s not all bad news; in Germany light rail has often been a metro by stealth in cities such as Frankfurt and Stuttgart and soon Karlsruhe (with its tram-trains). If the services get congested; it can be justified building a cut-and-cover tunnel and shallow underground station especially for the light rail (pre-metro AKA U-Stadtbahn).

  40. Tim says:

    Hi Bambul
    I know this is an old post but there’s a typo you might want to fix.
    “That works out to 3 passengers per tram” should surely say “300”
    Cheers

  41. @Tim –

    Spare capacity of 32 passengers per hour on the Kingsford Line. That has 10 trams per hour, so that works out to 3 passengers per tram. Technically it’s 3.2, but I rounded down.

  42. Maria Bradley says:

    Who is the author of this blog? This blog is being quoted by people and Im not sure how this information can be taken seriously when there is no name attached.
    Name, credentials please!

  43. Maria Bradley says:

    The main challenge in ensuring that this is a seamless process is that transfers are made as easy as possible, both in a physical and financial sense. Transfers must be physically easy, requiring simple cross platform transfers from bus to tram and vice versa. Transfers must also not impose a financial penalty, requiring some sort of multi-modal fare. While the former is part of the current proposal, the latter requires cabinet approval and no decision has been made on it yet.

    This is so ridiculous
    Seamless transfers????
    Many people will need to use 3 modes of transport instead of 1
    eg Coogee residents will need to catch a bus to Avoca St Randwick, walk to High St and then get on a train instead of catching 1 bus- this will be fun in the rain
    Parents bringing children to emergency or ambulances coming to the Childrens Hospital need to enter via busy Belmore St and then try to cross High St into hospital with 67 m train in the way
    Even if you took the train to the hospital, you have a really long walk from terminus to Childrens Hospital.

    Still no decision on fare cost?????

    Is this whole project just a bad nightmare and why would someone devote their enegy to a blog on this? Just Weird

  44. Hi Maria,

    Author information is in the About link at the top.

  45. Maria Bradley says:

    My last question hasnt been posted
    Just in case
    Are you and/or the two men listed above being paid or sponsored by TNSW?

  46. Hi Maria,

    The only individual mentioned in the blog post is Obi Wan Kenobi, who is a fictional character from the Star Wars movies. There are a number of individuals who have posted comments, well more than two. I’m not entirely sure who you are referring to, so I can’t comment on others. Happy to add additional information if clarification is provided.

    But I can confirm that I do receive any payment of any kind from Transport for NSW, nor have I ever in the past. This is an independent blog.

  47. Maria Bradley says:

    Hi Bambul
    Can you ask why TNSW did not provide a detailed tree plan with the EIS 2013 when the project was approved and how the project was approved without one given it is a required statutory item.

    Also why are there so many stops outside the Racecourse area ( 2) and only one at the hospital

    And what is train capacity in 2016 and what will it be in 2026?
    Thanks!

  48. Hi Maria,

    You’d have to ask TfNSW about what was or was not included in the EIS. I did read a lot of that document, but it was about 600 pages and a while ago so I can’t help you off the top of my head. However, TfNSW have full time staff whose job it is to answer those sorts of questions, so probably better to go to them directly.

    As I understand, there are 3 stops adjacent to the racecourse, principally due to the large geographic size of the land it occupies and that the light rail route passes next about half of its edge (about 1km-2km in length by my very rough estimates based on the times I’ve walked the perimeter). However, only 1 stop is next to the entrance of the racecourse, the others are on the 2 ends of Wansey St.

    Meanwhile, the light rail passes alongside the hospital for only a short distance and so there is only really scope for 1 stop. To add a second would mean very closely spaced stops, add to dwell times and construction costs. The move these days is towards longer stops spacing with higher quality stops and faster journey times.

    The capacity of a Sydney train is about 1,200 passengers per train, consisting of 900 seated and 300 standing. However, crush capacity is higher, though it can result in delays and thus actually reduce line capacity. Daily patronage is around a million trips and about 108 trains pass through the CBD during the busiest hour of the AM peak. By 2026 this is expected to increase to about 200 trains. However, that is contingent on signalling improvements on the T1 Western Line, on which we have heard more rumours than hard facts, as well as a fully utilised Sydney Metro (which will have a greater proportion of passengers standing rather than seated).

    If you actually meant light rail vehicle capacity, then the line when fully utilised is currently projected to carry 13,500 passengers per hour in each direction. This is explained in great detail in the blog post, so I encourage you to read it further if you want more details.

  49. John Bellamy says:

    Hi Bambul, do you still think its worth proceeding with the light rail, given TfNSW have come out and said 220 buses are to be removed for the light rail from entering the city with a capacity of 16,000 people per hour and to be replaced with light rail with capacity of only 6750 people per hour in the am peak entering the city from Kingsford and Randwick?

  50. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    Hi Bambul,
    in regards “If you actually meant light rail vehicle capacity, then the line when fully utilised is currently projected to carry 13,500 passengers per hour in each direction. This is explained in great detail in the blog post, so I encourage you to read it further if you want more details.”
    That is a piece of misinformation actually and TfNSW clarified that on Sunday on the SLR FB page.

    Tee Ming I am confused. I saw email saying that light rail carries 13,500 and article that light rail carries 6,750 each hour. Which is right
    Like · Reply · June 5 at 3:21pm
    Sydney Light Rail
    Sydney Light Rail Hi Tee, the services will carry 6,750 in each direction in the peak – so 13,500 per hour in total.
    Unlike · Reply · 3 · June 5 at 6:35pm
    Tony Prescott
    Tony Prescott Thank you for clarifying Sydney Light Rail. Can you comment on Andrew Roydhouse’s claims about bus capacity? We are being bombarded with information for which no counter-argument has been put forward. Incidentally, I suggest when calculating you stick with minimum 60 passengers per standard bus, not 50 ;)
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 7:37am

    Oddly enough the Transport Minister, Andrew Constance put out a piece (which I cannot locate on any Govt web site for some reason) that was distributed by a local Lib MP about the LR capacity. See below:

    “There’s been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the capacity of the light rail when it’s operating. Firstly, we can’t avoid the fact that we need to cater for growth in Sydney. The capacity that this new light rail service will add to our network is massive – we are talking 13,500 passengers per hour in addition to regular and express bus services.”

    Trouble is, he was confusing the issue even more.

    Equally, TfNSW via the SMH’s trap finally revealed the passenger capacity for the 220 buses removed from the city in the am peak hour as a result of the CSELR project. It is 16,000 passengers per hour INTO the city or otherwise known as PER direction. I have capitalised the key passages.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-new-light-rail-doesnt-deserve-to-be-called-public-transport-20160518-goxufp.html

    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story has been AMENDED TO MAKE CLEAR the statement about NET NEGATIVE PUBLIC TRANSPORT CAPACITY relates to CAPACITY INTO THE CITY. The Herald accepts the previously published statement “the net effect on public transport capacity is negative” was incorrect because the 220 buses will be redeployed into the public transport network. The story has also been AMENDED TO INCLUDE a Transport for NSW estimate of 16,000 passengers in 220 buses, and to make clear the 6,900 figure for capacity on the light rail is per direction.

    It is important to compare like with like.

    So 16,000 bus passenger capacity into the city replaced with just 6,750 (or 6,900 depending on which TfNSW source used) LR passenger capacity into the city.

    Of course, adding up the capacity into the city with the capacity out of the city, 6,750 + 6,750 = 13,500 passengers per hour.

    But then you need to do the same with the bus passenger capacity removed. Those 220 buses that were coming into the city then turn around and go out – so 16,000 + 16,000 = 32,000.

    Whatever way you look at it – public transport capacity into the city is reduced by more than 60%.

    The 220 buses per hour to be removed is still listed as one of the key benefits. It was first claimed in the Dec 2012 launch and then subsequently repeated in many other releases and publications such as the EIS and April 2013 Project Update.

    Sydney’s Light Rail Future (pdf 5.8MB)
    http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/b2b/publications/sydneys-light-rail-future.pdf

    Sydney’s Light Rail Future will reduce buses in the CBD by 180 in the morning’s busiest hour and when combined with bus network changes this will increase up to 220, helping to lower congestion caused by buses entering and travelling along CBD streets. page 7

    or

    Light rail would take 180 buses out of the CBD while additional bus network changes would bring this to a total of about 220 fewer buses entering the city centre in the morning peak hour. Many buses will also terminate earlier, allowing passengers to interchange to light rail. page 16

    But I prefer the confirmation published online on May 22, 2016 or in the print version on May 23rd by the SMH of the passenger capacity figure provided by Transport for New South Wales of 16,000 – for finally revealing the true extent of passenger capacity reduction.

    Note: The last quote (page 16) look at the last sentence. Not only will 220 buses be removed BUT MANY other bus services will be terminated earlier, allowing (FORCING more correct?) passengers to interchange to the light rail.

    Misses out that they may need to walk several blocks to do so such.

  51. Hi John and Andrew,

    Thank you for your questions. I’m going to take them as a comment and direct you to what I’ve said about the issue in the past. You are welcome to continue posting further comments if you wish.

  52. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    Hi Bambul – As TfNSW has now confirmed that the passenger capacity is only 6,750 an hour in one direction then surely it is worth a new post being created with this important confirmation of what has been previously disputed by yourself and some others?
    Since TfNSW has finally provided the figure of 16,000 passengers on 220 buses per hour into the city being removed – it is a straight forward comparison.
    Do you now agree that the CSELR will reduce the net public transport passenger capacity into the city in the am peak hour?

  53. Hi Andrew,

    The 67m trams will have a capacity of 450 passengers each. With 30 trams per hour, that’s 13,500 passengers per hour in each direction. On opening day the line will not be running 30 trams per hour, it won’t need to. It will run half that number, providing capacity for 6,750 passengers.

    It will be replacing 110 buses, which have average loads of 55 passengers each or 6,050 passengers in total. That’s 10% less than the initial capacity. In theory those buses could carry twice that number of passengers if they were all articulated bendy buses with a capacity of about 110 passengers each. However you could then match that by doubling the number of trams per hour, so capacity with trams would still be higher. That’s putting aside the fact that there just isn’t the road space to fit that many buses without significant additional dwell times, causing delays and actually reducing passenger capacity on the entire bus line. One major advantage of long vehicles on fixed guideways with many doors containing large spaces in their proximity is the reduced delays caused by this. That’s is why the corridor is being upgraded to light rail.

    The 220 buses figure is not per hour, nor is it even exclusively buses from the South East. It is for the entire morning peak and also includes buses from the North West as part of the Sydney Metro project (which also have much higher average loading a than the buses being removed on the South East corridor). As mentioned earlier, the correct figure for comparison is 110 buses with 55 passengers each.

    Once again, I’m happy for you to post comments here. But I’m quite busy and do not plan to spend my time correcting factual errors (as I had to do on the cost of tunnelling in the comments above). So while you are welcome to post comments here, to avoid embarrassment I recommend restricting those comments to actual comments rather than questions directed at me which will go unanswered in future.

  54. Andrew Roydhouse says:

    Thanks for the reply Bambul – but I provided the direct quotes from TfNSW documents that specifically stated 180 of the 220 buses ARE from the South East. It also states that they are into the city. Not into and out of the city – perhaps you are confusing buses with bus services?

    Removing a bus from the city does not allow you to double count it.

    Although the Transport Minister, Andrew Constance may have tried that last Friday in the emailed statement sent out on his behalf.

    TfNSW subsequently clarified that the 13,500 passengers per hour referred to counting the passenger capacity in each direction. Would you say that if you stopped all the LRVs from entering the city that you had removed 15 LRVs or 30? You could say 30 LRVs services or journeys were removed.

    That is very different to saying 15 LRVs were removed.

    Just like removing 220 buses vs bus services.

    Also in the State Transit Annual report it also makes it clear that it is 220 individual buses, as does the Transport Minister when he states that the 220 buses will be re-used in other parts of the transport network. Just not into the city – otherwise one of the claimed benefits of the project – reduced congestion due to the removal of 220 buses is not true.

    TfNSW separately has acknowledged that they can never achieve 30 trams an hour in each direction. As did their independent consultant’s report.

    The Reason: that would mean 30 going in and 30 going out = 60 in total movements through each intersection between Circular Quay and Alison Rd. So on average that would see 1 LRV per minute through each intersection.

    As a number of the major traffic light controlled intersections require a 140 second or 2 minutes 10 second phase cycle time (without allowing any time for a LRV phase which could be as long as 35 or more seconds in some cases) and have a conflicting pedestrian phase time of 44 seconds. it is impossible to achieve 1 LRV on average per minute without stopping traffic flow on every other phase.

    After I produced a document on this and distributed it at State Parliament – the design was changed from the previous plan and frequency decreased to 15 per hour in each direction. The ABSOLUTE maximum as per the signed contract and approval documents is just over 18.5 LRVs per hour. I can send you the links if you wish or images of the relevant pages.

    BTW it was the Project Director who revealed the information about the changed frequency to me not long before he was asked to re-apply for his position for which he was unsuccessful.
    Also there is no requirement on behalf of Altrac to EVER increase the frequency and their payment under the contract (profit) is not tied to increasing the number of trams per hour above 15. It simply states that in the future they MAY increase it to a max of under 19 per hour.

  55. John Bellamy says:

    Dear BB and AR,

    “220 buses will no longer enter the city in the am peak hour due to changes resulting from the CBD and South East Light Rail. Transport for NSW states that these buses have an estimated capacity of 16,000 passengers per hour and are to be replaced with just 15 Light Rail Vehicles with a total capacity of only 6,750 passengers per hour. This is a reduction of over 9000 people per hour”

  56. John Bellamy says:

    also BB – just wanted to check your maths about your info about the status quo at the beginning of this post?

    The status quo

    In 2010, the busiest hour during the AM peak sees 135 all stop bus services and 62 express bus services using the Anzac Parade corridor to reach the CBD, with these services having an average loading of 55 and 36 passengers per bus respectively. The all stop services tend to use Cleveland St, Foveaux St, and Oxford St to reach the CBD, while the express services tend to use the Eastern Distributor and then return along Elizabeth St in the opposite direction of peak hour traffic (the X39 is the only exception). All up, these buses carry 8,270 passengers but have a theoretical maximum capacity of 11,820 if all buses carried a full loading of 60 passengers each. (Source: CSELR EIS Volume 2, p. 40)

    If the loadings for all stop services were as high as the express services then it could allow for fewer buses to carry the same level of patronage. Instead, there are more buses on the road than there need to be, leading to greater levels of congestion from the so called conga line of buses that often inhabit the CBD during peak hour. This also means that achieving the maximum capacity of 11,820 would mean maintaining the current delays this corridor suffers. In fact, delays would probably worsen.

  57. John Bellamy says:

    So I have found myself asking people from TfNSW, Department of Transport, and ALTRAC if there are any good things about the CSELR and all I’m getting is silence.

    Noted with interest today there is $108 million in the budget for new buses.

  58. John Bellamy says:

    Still no responses – can’t anyone give me any good reason for why we should continue to build the light rail? Is there anything good about the light rail? Surely if there was, someone would say?

  59. Matthew Gee Kwun Chan says:

    If they extend it to La Perouse along Anzac Parade to meet up with the propose ferry wharf perhaps there maybe some benefit those travelling to UNSW and the CBD. On another matter, would there be benefits in extending the Dulwich Hill light rail to Hurstville? thanks

  60. Matthew Gee Kwun Chan says:

    as in Hurlstone Park, cross Cooks River, Earlwood, Bardwell Park and then somehow to Hurstville? thanks

  61. Andrew Roydhouse - TfNSW CSELR Community Rep - Kensington, Kingsford & Randwick says:

    Matthew,

    The TfNSW Environmental Impact Statement sets out in detail that there is no ability to extend the CSELR further as it can never increase its capacity to cope with the additional passenger load.

    Unfortunately, the TfNSW staff involved in the project before it was announced and shortly thereafter had no background in either buses nor light rail. They made many fundamental mistakes and made assumptions that do not reflect reality.

    For example, many of the 20 bus routes to be eliminated in the South East by the CSELR were incorrectly analysed for their capacity and frequency. Not one member of the initial project team knew about “peak loading” per journey. That is at what point on the service 394 to Circular Quay is the highest number of passengers carried?

    The CSELR project team assumed it was at Martin Place (just two stops from the end). The reality is that the ‘peak load’ for most of the AM services to be eliminated occurred no further into the journey than the stops outside Sydney Girls or Sydney Boys High Schools. Sometimes (for the buses via Kingsford) it was three stops earlier in Kensington.

    So, despite missing this crucial information and under-estimating required passenger capacity by as much as 60% on some morning services, TfNSW calculated that they could not provide enough capacity to extend the CSELR further out.

    Due to the serious under-capacity (especially on TfNSW’s own numbers at Kingsford) as there will be ZERO all-stops services past the Kingsford Interchange, instead of turning the buses around there they will become a non-stop service to UNSW as there is not enough capacity to carry them on the CSELR services. They terminate there and then need to turnaround.

    This then requires the buses to do a 5km detour to return to the Kingsford Interchange to commence their return journey – competing with other traffic in the now just 2 lane (each way) Anzac Parade due to the CSELR taking up four lanes (just over 2 taken up by the rail lines and just under 2 taken by the platforms).

  62. Matthew Gee Kwun Chan says:

    If it is ruled out, why would they put a short mention of light rail in the La Perouse wharf draft suitability report found at “http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/b2b/projects/la-perouse-kurnell-ferry-wharves-draft-feasibility-study-report.pdf”? thanks

  63. Andrew Roydhouse - TfNSW CSELR Community Rep - Kensington, Kingsford & Randwick says:

    As the community has begun to understand that the CSELR is cutting net public transport passenger capacity into the city – they have started asking why?

    TfNSW since the project was first announced in Dec 2012 (the route etc) have claimed as the number one benefit (in first 9 months of claims that is) that the CSELR would see the removal of 220 buses entering the city in the am peak hour. Of the 220 – 180 are due to the 20 bus routes eliminated from operating between Kingsford/Randwick and Central/Circular Quay and 40 are from other areas.

    All told I have come across over 57 different uses of this statement which specifically states:

    X “entering the city” or “entering the CBD”
    X “in the am peak hour”

    Every time.

    The SMH forced TfNSW to provide what the passenger capacity for these 220 buses entering the city in the am peak hour is. TfNSW provided the figure of 16,000 passengers = avg 73 per bus.

    Remember this capacity figure per bus to be removed!

    That is for 220 buses ENTERING the city in the am PEAK HOUR = going in one direction, that is into the city.

    This created a huge problem for TfNSW – it was finally confirmed by the State Govt that the CSELR was cutting net public transport passenger capacity INTO the city by over 9,000 passengers an hour.

    TfNSW had refused to provide a figure for those 220 buses.

    I tried to get the owner of this blog to run an ‘article’ on this but he has been ‘too busy’ for the last three years.

    Last week, marg Prendergast after a near two week delay in responding to questions from the SMH transport writer provided the information reported in the SMH article:

    See http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-light-rail-nsw-government-moves-to-quell-capacity-concerns-20160704-gpy0lo.html

    XXX “Transport for NSW said the removal of 180 buses – both CITYBOUND and OUTBOUND – from the city centre between 8am and 9am represents capacity for 9000 people.”

    NOTICE THE CHANGE – used to be just “entering the city” now they have effectively halved the claim by pretending it is two-way. Or was TfNSW misleading previously?

    Also notice that on May 22 TfNSW said the removed buses’ capacity averaged 73 passengers a bus – but now they carry just 50 (9,000/180)? Reads like a “Yes, Minister” script.

    XXX “The buses to be removed on routes from Randwick and Kensington will be the standard vehicles that carry about 50 passengers each – not the longer bendy buses that will remain on express routes to and from those suburbs.”

    NOTICE THE CHANGE – the same buses that TfNSW said carried 73 passengers now carry only 50?

    Now what is easily proven as TOTALLY FALSE is the claim that the 180 buses are only ‘standard buses’. A number of the 20 bus routes removed due to the CSELR are ONLY served by ‘the longer bendy buses’, others have around 25% of services using bendy buses.

    Such as the route serving UNSW – the 891 for example.

    In this Marg is either deliberately trying to mislead the community or has been misled herself – the outcome is the same though.

    If Marg is correct then the Premier Mike Baird, Gladys Berejiklian and Andrew Constance have been misleading the community since 2012.

    Either the over 57 times used statement, 220 buses from entering the city in the am peak hour was WRONG or Marg Prendergast is WRONG.

    They cannot both be true.

  64. Alex says:

    I wasn’t going to add to the latest round of comments but I feel compelled to say something.

    I broadly share many of the concerns that have been expressed regarding CSELR capacity. I think and have previously stated that a metro in the south east would have been a better choice, much as I believe that heavy rail would have been a better option for the northwest.

    However in both cases the government has decided otherwise. Contracts have been let, work is underway and in the case of the NW metro the tunnelling is complete. The construction of the CSELR may not be so far along but it has well and truly commenced. Even if it wanted to, it would be impossible for the government to extricate itself from the CSELR contract without paying hundreds of millions in compensation. And the government most certainly doesn’t want to do that and it won’t do that, no matter what cogent arguments have been or are advanced now against the project.

    n summary I think we can assume that for better or worse the CSELR is a fait accompli and that we now need to look at how we can make this project and the metro work effectively. However while this perspective provides some context, it isn’t the main basis for my post. Instead I wanted to make a few other important points:

    1. Bambul has provided a wonderful service through this blog over the past five years or so. He has researched, written and posted on a variety of transport topics. As I know from experience this is a very time-consuming exercise, which Bambul has undertaken on a voluntary basis. I don’t think he has been thanked nearly enough for providing this services so I would like to take the opportunity to do that now.

    2. While I greatly appreciate Bambul’s blog I don’t always agree with his conclusions – but that is fine. When I feel strongly enough about an issue I may make a critical comment and Bambul has always published these. Sometimes he will respond to my criticisms and other times not – and on some occasions we have to agree to disagree, but that is also fine by me.

    3. A blog is a lot of things but one thing it isn’t (unless explicitly stated otherwise) is a democracy. The person running the blog gets to write the posts and also to determine what comments, if any, will be published.

    In other words this is Bambul’s show – he gets to decide who goes on stage and the manner in which they do so. He also gets to decide what he will do in response. Earlier after participating in a protracted discussion he indicated that he was happy to continue accepting comments on this topic but he was no longer going to answer questions or engage in debate. That’s his call and while I can’t and won’t speak for Bambul I fail to see the point of trying to browbeat him into doing something he has indicated he doesn’t want to do, no matter how much people are convinced that they are right and he is wrong.

    4. Bambul is not the government – and while most blog writers would like to believe that their posts have some capacity to influence government decision-making, I think we would all admit that this is mostly wishful thinking.

    Therefore I also fail to see the point of trying to browbeat Bambul into agreeing to adopt an anti-CSELR stance through this blog. No matter how strongly they are convinced that they are correct, does anyone here seriously believe that if they did succeed in convincing Bambul to publish a post publicly supporting their position (which would in any case largely reiterate the points that Bambul has already allowed them to make via their previous extensive comments), that the government would suddenly turn around, agree with them and tear up the CSELR contracts?

    I will say two more things in conclusion. First, if people have strong views on these issues and they don’t like the way Bambul has handled these in his blog, they can always start their on.

    Second, I may or may not consider responding to any comments made in response to this post (subject of course to Bambul’s decisions on which comments do get published) but if I do I will respond only to those people who preface their comments by joining me in openly and genuinely thanking Bambul for generously providing this blog.

  65. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate your kind words. For the record I have a policy of always allowing comments so long as they are not spam/bots or become harassing/offensive. So far no comment has ever been disallowed for the latter. Anyone is allowed to comment, whether they agree with posts or not.

  66. Andrew Roydhouse - TfNSW CSELR Community Rep - Kensington, Kingsford & Randwick says:

    Alex, I too am grateful for Bambul’s blog and approach however I am disappointed that there had not been a follow-up once I offered to provide the publicly available TfNSW documents that definitively prove the CSELR is cutting capacity.
    I agree that there is no compulsion for Bambul to do so but remain disappointed given the excellent and detailed analysis he has brought to bear on other topics.
    It is shocking that the ESR could have been extended along its already surveyed and designed route through to Kingsford – for no more (and possibly less) than the significantly inferior CSELR is costing.
    Additional costs to the community could have been avoided and the likely negative net benefit (actual cost to the community) that this project delivers would not be impending.
    As one of the TfNSW CSELR Community Representatives I get to experience first hand the continued refusal to answer even the simplest questions at the supposed “consultation’ meetings.
    For example – according to the Conditions of Approval – Community Reps, Business Reps are supposed to be consulted equally as with Councils and other ‘stakeholders’ yet this has not been happening.
    Misleading ‘reports’ are produced (such as the Pedestrian and Cyclist strategy) that state it was distributed to stakeholders in 2015. It was not distributed to ALL stakeholders and indeed it has been put into action before it was finally revealed to the Reps in June 2016. Long after both TfNSW and ALTRAC started applying it.
    More like a “Yes, Minister” series than ‘consultation’.

  67. Alex says:

    Like Bambul I feel that I have already said my piece on the CSELR – and as stated earlier I also think that there is no point in arguing at the eleventh hour about alternatives, as the CSELR will certainly be completed.

    I will say however that while I have my doubts about whether an extension of the ESR could have been a direct alternative, it is the most obvious candidate to supplement the light rail in terms of capacity. This was one of the few points also made in the Greiner/Broad Infrastructure NSW report a few years ago which I agreed with.

    Today however another proposal was announced that could also act as a supplement for, rather than replacement of, the CSELR – a stage two optional extension of the private sector proposal for a Sydney West Metro Link: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/window-of-opportunity-for-new-metro-line-in-sydneys-west-closing-fast-20160628-gptfrj.html

    From the media reports the first stage appears to be a limited-stop metro from the CBD via the Bays Precinct, Strathfield and Olympic Park to Parramatta. The relationship of this line to the proposed light rail corridor much of which it appears to duplicate is unclear.

    The second stage comprises two options (presumably either of both could be built). The first is an express link link from Parramatta to Badgerys Creek via the Western Sydney Employment Area. The second is a link from the CBD end to La Perouse via Waterloo with two intermediate stops shown – one at Maroubra and another unlabelled station which appears to be either at UNSW or Kingsford (it’s a little hard to tell from the map).

    Unlike the initial corridor’s uncertain relationship with the WS light rail route, this proposal seems have been designed to supplement rather than duplicate the CSELR corridor- though with a planned completion date for stage 2 of at best of 2027 I’m not holding my breath.

    The rest of your comments relate to the state government’s poor approach to consultation in relation to the CSELR, which is an example of a much wider problem. Similar comments have been made in relation to consultation over WestConnex for example. It used to be said that even if the result was predetermined you had to at least hold a token trial before the hanging – now it seems you start putting a rope around the neck before the trial even begins.

    This is an critical area of public policy which we should attempt to change. While it is largely too late for the current process to stop or substantially alter the NW Metro, CSELR and the first stage of WestConnex, we should strive for much better consultations in relation to future major infrastructure projects.

  68. John Bellamy says:

    Thanks also to Bambul for the blog and putting up all posts without censorship. Alex, it is never too late to stop killing our beautiful trees, finish making George St beautiful, save our buses, and I suspect there will actually be a very good business case for providing a win win solution to the government, ALTRAC and the community for modifying the project so that it does not involve killing trees, cutting buses, or using tracks, poles and wires. :-)

    In the budget estimates this week, it looks like the government have finally come out and proved what we suspected all along that light rail + bus when the light rail commences will actually be less capacity than our current buses. (Both maximum or crush capacity and loadings or operational capacity) Love your thoughts, boys (and girls?) on this.

    In the Budget Estimates this week Marg Prendergast came out and said “Inbound to the city, the capacity currently is probably about 8,500 per hour.” Bambul, this almost agrees with your loadings figure of 8,270 on 197 buses from 2010.

    Marg then went on to say that “If we are looking at it with light rail, we are looking at about 11,000 in one hour”

    So, the questions are

    1) What is the maximum or crush capacity of current buses? (Average bus of 70 passengers, as per TfNSW and 115 person articulated or bendy bus)

    2) What are the current operational loadings of current buses?* (Average bus of 70 passengers, as per TfNSW and 115 person articulated or bendy bus)

    3) What will be the maximum or crush capacity of light rail plus bus from 2019-2029 (According to Marg Prendergast 11,000 passengers an hour)

    4) What will be the operational loadings of light rail plus bus from 2019-2029?

    *Operational loadings or operationally deployed as per Ms PRENDERGAST: What is shown on the back of the bus is different from what is actually operationally deployed.

  69. John Bellamy says:

    Dear Bambul, do you still standby your capacity figures?

  70. Hi John. You are welcome to post as many comments here as you like. So long as you are not being offensive or hateful (which you have not done in the past and I am confident that you will not engage in at any point in the future). I’ve addressed your questions numerous times. I do not intend to repeat myself further.

  71. You have criticised the EMM report as it didn’t take into account the express buses? Can you prove that? The 20 bus routes to be eliminated as per the Environmental Impact Statement and 220 buses in the morning peak hour, do not include the peak express buses? Do you have updated infomation not available to the public?

    I’ll also take it that means you still stand by your capacity figures.

    Did you make a comment on the Auditor General Report on your blog anywhere? http://www.audit.nsw.gov.au/news/cbd-and-south-east-light-rail-project

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