The Hon. Michael Daley
Labor MP for Maroubra
Re: “Sydney CBD and South East light rail crowding rates exceed bus and train ‘crush capacity’” (Sean Nichols, SMH 21st Feb 2017)
Sean Nichols’ article highlights the responsibilities that will face both you as the MP for Maroubra and Councillors such as me when the State Government’s CSELR light rail opens in 2020.
The arrival of the light rail is now a reality that we will be called on as local representatives to make work best for our shared constituents.
I draw your attention to the capacity figures given by table 3.2 in the Council commissioned EMM report on page 9.
The table essentially says that the required combined light rail and residual bus capacity on the Kensington to Kingsford branch of the line in 2020 will be just 4,045 passengers per hour. But this can only be treated as theoretical because as Sean’s article makes clear a 100% occupancy level is unachievable as commuters would baulk at it.
The top line of figures in the role labelled “Interim” demonstrates what Sean is referring to. The most reasonable occupancy level that commuters will probably tolerate is given by EMM as being 80%.
This effectively means that there will have to be extra capacity found in the combined system light rail and bus mix flowing between Kingsford and Kensington. EMM states that the total effective capacity on opening day 2020 will need to be 5,056 passengers per hour.
EMM’s solution to finding this extra capacity is to simply keep more buses running, in this case 26 per hour as shown in the far right figure in the “Interim row. This may or may not be in the best interests of our residents. Will these extra buses actually provide access to where our resident’s want to go? This is the destination issue.
Then there is the occupancy issue. According to EMM the current average bus occupancy level is just 70% and not the suggested 80% for the CSELR. Should we not as local representatives be lobbying for the light rail to offer the same occupancy experience as what residents are currently accustomed to getting on buses?
Mathematics suggests that 70% occupancy could be achieved by running the light rail carriages at one every 5.6 minutes instead of the planned one every 8 minutes on opening day. I note that the frequency is already planned to rise to one every 6.5 minutes by 2031.
At Tuesday night’s Council meeting I will be moving that Council commission another study to look in more depth at EMM’s predicted light rail capacities. I want to suggest the obvious possibility of a variety of faster frequencies than just one every 8 minutes. I will also be suggesting that a more comfortable occupancy rate of 70% on the CSELR be aimed for.
I attach my proposed amendment for your interest. Should it be passed I ask that you lend the resources of your office to helping your local council achieve the best mix of occupancy rates and running frequencies for light rail and buses between Kingsford and Kensington.
These responsibilities of our constituents may become all yours alone if the pending merger of Randwick Council removes us Councillors from office.
If I survive the transition and remain in office I look forward to working with you to achieve the best light rail and bus service between Kingsford and Kensington for our residents.
I welcome any suggestions that you might have about my proposed amendment for Tuesday night.
CC Matt Thistlethwaite
Bruce Notley-Smith MP
Ron Hoenig MP