Started by ozbob, April 12, 2010, 02:52:50 AM
QuoteGold Coast reluctant to give up carsMatthew Killoran | April 12th, 2010WEANING Gold Coast drivers from their cars and on public transport once the rapid transit system is built could be a hard sell, according to council figures.These reveal Coast residents rely on their cars more than the average Australian.The Gold Coast City Council research showed 45.6 per cent of homes on the Coast had two cars, compared with the national average of 36.8 per cent in 2008.The Coast's urban sprawl and an already inadequate public transport system was blamed for the high car dependency.Overcrowding on trains, late buses and inadequate bus-rail links were some of the reasons cited in the report.Experts said unless the billion-dollar rapid transit system ran at 10-minute intervals, was connected to existing heavy rail lines, had frequent east-west bus connections and was cheap, Gold Coasters would not use it.The first stage of the light rail will run from Broadbeach to Griffith University at Ashmore and is due to be completed by early 2014. A second stage is planned from the university to Helensvale, via Harbour Town, but no date has been set for its construction.Queensland Transport hopesthe rapid transit system will take 70,000 cars off the road.But Gold Coast Combined Chamber of Commerce president Bob Janssen, who has been closely involved with the rapid transit system, said linking the light rail line with western suburbs through buses and existing rail was vital to make it attractive."A lot of the traffic chaos that occurs can be contributed to the lack of east-west transport," he said.Transport Minister Rachel Nolan was confident Gold Coast residents would leave their cars at home."Six consortiums from all over the world vying for the light rail project don't think it's a hard sell, and neither do I," she said."It's well known that people in outer metropolitan areas tend to have a higher level of car dependence."Freelance public transport lecturer Tristan Peach, who specialises in car dependency, said the light rail needed to be high frequency."If it's running every 10 minutes people who live within 1km of stations will use it," he said.The light rail will use the go card travel card, but the exact rate at which it operates will not be known until after an operator franchise is chosen.Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said residents might be slow to take up light rail, but it would shift their attitude to public transport in the long run."The light rail will be frequent and it will free up buses from feeder routes from suburbs," he said.He said convenience, frequency and cost were the top three motivators for public transport.
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