Started by ozbob, April 22, 2011, 18:43:28 PM
QuoteGrowth on the state's public transport network has hurtled past long-term government predictions, with 93 million more trips taken on buses and trains last year than what was forecast for 2031.A report used by the NSW government as the "framework" for investing tens of billions in transport projects over the coming decades predicted rail growth would increase by 26 per cent between 2011 and 2031.However, the rail network reached and then exceeded that predicted figure by 2017, more than a decade early.The projection, made in the 2012 report, for bus growth was also reached 13 years early. Last year, the number of bus trips was 54 million higher than the forecast.University of Technology transport expert Mathew Hounsell said the figures reinforced the need for the government to invest more in the city's heavy rail and bus network."There is no plan to deal with this level of growth," he said."What we're now seeing is there's a lot more growth above what's forecast."Meanwhile, passenger numbers during peak times reached levels that can slow down services on nearly all metropolitan train lines last year.Trains on six out of 12 suburban lines reached their capacity during the morning peak in March 2019, according to Transport for NSW's latest data.All lines except the Central Coast and Newcastle via North Shore route experienced numbers at which "customers start to experience crowding and dwell times can impact service on-time running", for services arriving at Central Station between 8am and 9am.Asked how it would respond to the patronage, the state's transport agency said the department was "delighted" that demand was outpacing population growth."[The growth] is also a result of more frequent rail services and the completion of a new Metro Line," a Transport for NSW spokesman said.He said the government was spending more than $55 billion on major transport projects over the next four years, including the WestConnex motorway, metro rail lines, and the Parramatta light rail."The NSW government is delivering the largest transport infrastructure program this nation has ever seen," he said.While a public transport masterplan was released for NSW in 2018, Future Transport 2056, Transport for NSW said the report had no equivalent growth projection to the 2031 report.Patronage on public transport grew by 5.3 per cent in 2019 alone, far above that of population, which Mr Hounsell said indicated a behavioural shift in the community."There needs to be significant investment in the heavy rail system to cope with the increase in demand and changing habits. The Bankstown Metro won't address these problems," he said."There's no technical issues, it's just a matter of the politicians investing where they need to, not where they think there's more votes."Mr Hounsell said simple improvements to the city's traffic light network, bus stops and routes would have an immediate impact on the network, as well as other "low hanging fruit that doesn't get a ribbon cutting ceremony".He added the rapid growth on the network indicated that when the government invested in transport infrastructure, it was utilised."If you provide high quality public transport, high frequency public transport, people use it," he said.The biggest growth on the network came from Sydney's North Shore line, which jumped 37 per cent, and the T5 Cumberland line, which increased by 10 per cent.The government has added an extra 43,000 services to weekly public transport services since March 2011.Opposition transport spokesman Chris Minns said the acceleration in commuters was concerning because the government was "hitting the end" of its funded public transport infrastructure plans "at exactly the wrong moment for the growth of the city".The baseline 2011 figure for bus patronage in the masterplan was slightly higher than the actual figure recorded in the 2011-12 Transport for NSW annual report.
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