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Doubt on Perth LRT future

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Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby lunchbox » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:38 am

"WA Transport Minister Nalder returned from a research expedition to Singapore on Tuesday, and reportedly told The West Australian that he’d spoken to SBS Transit – operator of the city’s two light rail lines – and found Perth’s proposed MAX light rail project may not be the best option for public transport."

Quick question - where are the 2 LRTs in Singapore? Do they work, or not?
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:10 am

lunchbox wrote:"WA Transport Minister Nalder returned from a research expedition to Singapore on Tuesday, and reportedly told The West Australian that he’d spoken to SBS Transit – operator of the city’s two light rail lines – and found Perth’s proposed MAX light rail project may not be the best option for public transport."

Quick question - where are the 2 LRTs in Singapore? Do they work, or not?

This would be best on the Perth part of the forum.

The Singapore LRT is not even remotely comparable to what's proposed for Perth which is a street tramway like CSELR. Singapore LRT is light rail in the American sense but even more expensive, being largely elevated and automated. It must have cost them a bomb and cost a lot to run. It's silly to draw conclusions from it for Perth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Rai ... (Singapore)

Maybe it's a political beatup and precursor to talking up a case for "BRT"?

They would do well to observe Ottawa's experience with BRT:

http://www.globalsiteplans.com/environm ... challenge/

Ottawa was the inspiration for Australia's BRT projects, now it feels it should have done light rail in the first place.
Last edited by tonyp on Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby user13548 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:14 am

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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby Tim Williams » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:33 am

I do agree with comments re. unsuitability for Perth. These elevated LRT systems have been built and progressively brought into operation as the areas develop and the developing areas are/we be full of high rise.high density housing - quite different to Perth.

It needs to be remembered that Singapore has a small land area, restricts car ownership and therefore puts a lot of money into public transports. It cost a fortune to buy a car and then buy the restricted "operating licence" - hence high use of well funded buses MRT and LRT.

Australian cities are very large in area and low on population density, not ideal for public transport provision, Sydney and Melbourne do have reasonable population in the inner areas, but not Perth or Brisbane and Adelaide for that matter.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby 102 at 1625 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:53 am

Yes, but as tonyp says there was never a proposal to build a Singapore-style LRT in Perth, rather an on-street (albeit in dedicated lanes) Light Rail system more comparable to trams in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Even though I am supportive of implementing BRT instead of light rail due to budget constraints, I think the government is being a bit dishonest here.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby Tim Williams » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:05 pm

I think BRT has great merit for our large low population density cities - with buses fanning out on normal roads at the outer ends - The O-Bahn works well in Adelaide, but using ordinary busways as in Brisbane (and Perth?) works very well too and probably is more cost effective overall (normal roadway vs. specialised track - Normal buses vs. guidewheel equipped buses).
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby runawaybus » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:47 pm

It works well in Brisbane I think when I last visited that there are no feeder buses used on the Busways and most of them are directly into the CBD of Brisbane. This means passengers don't complain about changing from one vehicle to another.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby simonl » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:41 pm

yeah but I don't see the merit in closed busways like transmilenio. The brisbane busways are pretty good and not realising their potential with some inept management.

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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:46 pm

Having seen the press report I am incredulous at the amount of deceit employed to wriggle their way out of the light rail project. Not only is a completely false comparison made with something completely different in Singapore, but the Premier is pointing to the Gold Coast light rail as "unsuccessful" (it's been a runaway success) and that other states are getting cold feet on light rail (projects are still going ahead full-on in NSW and ACT).

Do they think people are stupid or what? Why don't they just stick to the original line that they can't afford it because Canberra won't contribute. Or is the truth politically inconvenient for some Canberra egos?
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby 102 at 1625 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:59 pm

It's likely the government doesn't want to blame it on Canberra because their election promise was supposed to be "fully funded" and "fully costed", rather than subject to federal government contributions. The argument about changing economic conditions is more convincing.

I bet 99% of the general public will never realise that Singapore's LRT is something entirely different. Not stupid, just unwary.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:34 am

Oh well, better start providing some information for Western Australians! I guess people expect politicians to lie anyway, it's just a question of how low can they go. Nalder would have been better going to Ottawa and finding out how "BRT" ultimately succumbs to capacity limitation and excessive operating costs.

http://www.railexpress.com.au/nalder-ba ... -backflip/

WA transport minister Dean Nalder is doubting the viability of a light rail line in Perth’s north, a week after Premier Colin Barnett said several states were regretting their decisions to install light rail.

Nalder returned from a research expedition to Singapore on Tuesday, and reportedly told The West Australian that he’d spoken to SBS Transit – operator of the city’s two light rail lines – and found Perth’s proposed MAX light rail project may not be the best option for public transport.

“In talking to the company that runs the two light rails in Singapore, they indicated that they haven’t been able to make it work and they wouldn’t be building additional light rail in Singapore,” Nalder was quoted in a report from The West Australian.

Nalder reportedly believes buses can perform the same task as the proposed light rail line, at half the long-term cost.

His comments followed comments from Premier Barnett in an interview with The West Australian a week ago, where the premier said there wasn’t enough money for both the Forrestfield Airport rail link and MAX light rail right now, and suggested light rail wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“I think the light rail has got some challenges,” Barnett was quoted as saying. “It hasn’t been an overwhelming success in Australia at all, and indeed some states regret their decision to go down that path.”

Barnett suggested Queensland was one such state now regretting its light rail decision.

G:link, the light rail line now operating on the Gold Coast, recently served its five-millionth passenger, 289 days after opening in July 2014. Operator TransLink said in May 2015 that passenger figures were exceeding expectations, with an average of more than 17,800 passenger trips made on the line every day.

Barnett, however, believes the project is one example for why light rail is perhaps not the best option for Perth.

“The project for example recently completed on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, really has not been successful on the information provided to me,” he reportedly said last week. “So there’s a bit of rethink about light rail.”

Before the last state election – and before Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to power – Barnett and former transport minister Troy Buswell were firm supporters of both the Forrestfield-Airport link, and the MAX light rail project.

“Today’s State Budget re-affirms our Government’s commitment during the March election campaign to deliver better transport options to this State,” Buswell said when handing down the 2013/14 State Budget.

“By 2020, the people of WA will be able to take an easy train ride to the airport to start their family holiday, or hop on the MAX light rail system to quickly travel across town.

“Our Government is investing in the future by building long-term assets that will be enjoyed and used for years to come.”

Anthony Albanese on Tuesday blasted the premier’s change-of-heart, and blamed the Federal Government, saying Tony Abbott’s “rail hang-up” has left Perth commuters hanging.

He cited documents obtained through Freedom of Information by The West Australian, which suggest Barnett was counting on Commonwealth investment before the election, and was now being forced to back-track on his support for light rail because of the unexpected lack of funding.

“Upon being elected, Tony Abbott cut $500 million public transport funding that was included in the 2013/14 Budget, allocated by the former Labor Government to progress the Perth Airport Link project and light rail,” Albanese said.

“Two years later neither project is certain to go ahead, with only conditional EPA approval granted for the airport link, while WA transport minister Dean Nalder signalled this week light rail may never happen at all.

“Meanwhile, as Coalition State and Federal Governments busy themselves finding excuses as to why public transport is too hard for them, Perth commuters have been forced to sit in traffic for increasingly long parts of their day.”

The shadow minister for infrastructure cited the recent Infrastructure Australia Audit, which showed just 5.5% of Perth’s passenger kilometres are taken on rail, compared with 15.5% in Melbourne and 12.3% in Sydney.

“This is not good enough,” Albanese assessed. “West Australians deserve better than two governments which won’t fight for them or help to address the increasingly long hours they are spending in their cars, travelling to and from drive-in, drive-out suburbs to their jobs and recreational activities.”
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:53 am

The main role model for BRT in Australia, particularly Brisbane, is closing today to be rebuilt as light rail:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-new ... se-in-june

At least Ottawa designed theirs for conversion, unlike some Australian busways that aren't profiled for conversion.

Somebody pass this on to Mr Nalder.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby 102 at 1625 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:00 pm

tonyp wrote:The main role model for BRT in Australia, particularly Brisbane, is closing today to be rebuilt as light rail

That link is about Ottawa. I can't find anything on the internet about a closure of the Brisbane busway.

Anyway, Dean Nalder is not proposing a busway, rather high frequency buses in bus lanes, still stopping at traffic lights etc. Keep that in mind.

A good opinion piece is in the newspaper today (can't find it online) about the government's light rail backflip. It makes interesting reading.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby 102 at 1625 » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:29 pm

Here it is.

IMG_0142.JPG
The West Australian, 16/07/2015, Page 19
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:42 pm

102 at 1625 wrote:That link is about Ottawa. I can't find anything on the internet about a closure of the Brisbane busway.

Anyway, Dean Nalder is not proposing a busway, rather high frequency buses in bus lanes, still stopping at traffic lights etc. Keep that in mind.

A good opinion piece is in the newspaper today (can't find it online) about the government's light rail backflip. It makes interesting reading.

Yes it is Ottawa. I meant that Brisbane was inspired by Ottawa (same consultants iirc).

Good opinion piece that at least informs the public of some facts.

The point about comparing the two modes in an identical priority environment is correct, but an articulated bus carries only about half as many people as the basic (approx 30 metre) articulated tram - and trams can be extended in length as demand expands, if required. A tramway is better able to add on more capacity as growth occurs.

Establishing the service initially with buses is fine as long as provision is made to upgrade later, as Ottawa seems to have done.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:07 am

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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:57 am

“The project for example recently completed on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, really has not been successful on the information provided to me,” he reportedly said last week. “So there’s a bit of rethink about light rail.”

Mr Barnett's example of an unsuccessful light rail project:

http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/new ... 7448259597

Something the bus services it replaced never managed to achieve, even with "one seat" journeys.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby simonl » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:34 am

Didn't take a crystal ball to see that the gold coast lr would be successful. Brisbane busway lr conversion is a loopy idea which has been discussed on other forums. E.g. what would you do with via captain cook bridge routes. Not sure what any of this has to do with lr's suitability for a route in perth. Perhaps we could get back to topic.

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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby Mr OC Benz » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:35 am

Interesting figures...

In the defence of buses here (although I'm a supporter of light rail too), the introduction of the 950 Superbus (about 15km in length) back in January 2014 which saw it replace four different bus routes had 3.7 million boardings in its first year of operation (17,000 per average weekday), up 39% on all four routes combined. So the simplicity and improvement to the level of bus service definitely can play a role in boosting patronage, but imagine what those figures might have been had it been a light rail route which would've stimulated far more potential in the development of town centres and urban villages which would help to improve on their current infill rates vs target. Never mind that though... Beaufort St is ultimately lined up as an underground heavy rail corridor anyway.

But for other corridors or parts of Perth suited to light rail development, there is so much more potential in light rail than to be more than just a form of commuter transport, which is exactly what many areas of Perth need to stimulate higher density development along these proposed transport corridors.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby simonl » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:26 am

tonyp wrote:The main role model for BRT in Australia, particularly Brisbane, is closing today to be rebuilt as light rail:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-new ... se-in-june

Correction, a 4-5km section of it will be.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:44 am

simonl wrote: Perhaps we could get back to topic.

It was introduced into the topic by Barnett and Nalder. The most interesting thing about it is that it indicates that modal interchange (the bogey often raised by one-seat-journey advocates) is not actually an impediment - provided it is done properly of course.

I'm with Mr OC Benz that much more can be wrung out of a bus system - but using more conventional methods like properly designed buses with 100% low floor and all-door entry, traffic light priority and dedicated lanes through choke points.

It's when people start talking about "BRT" that it becomes loopy and smelling of Sydney-style snake oil. Glossy visions of concrete busways with dinky little streamlined (tram-like but without tram capacity) buses running on them is a recipe for gross cost-ineffectiveness.

Note in this piece about Bustech's new electric bus that the operating cost of an electric vehicle is 80% less than a diesel vehicle:

http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/bus ... 7434702795

Operating costs are what works against the bus option. Of course, there's always electric buses then. Perth used to have some of those .... !
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:45 am

simonl wrote:
tonyp wrote:The main role model for BRT in Australia, particularly Brisbane, is closing today to be rebuilt as light rail:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-new ... se-in-june

Correction, a 4-5km section of it will be.

That's stage one. More will happen in the future.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby Mr OC Benz » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:06 am

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/289 ... d-traffic/
Talk about the new analysis involving the use of bi-articulated buses which would carry 200-250 passengers (compared with 300 on light rail).


tonyp wrote:It was introduced into the topic by Barnett and Nalder. The most interesting thing about it is that it indicates that modal interchange (the bogey often raised by one-seat-journey advocates) is not actually an impediment - provided it is done properly of course.

The good thing about Perth is people are already used to transferring modes or even between the same modes, so light rail, BRT or funicular, it won't be an issue. It's already common to transfer at least once or twice in a single journey to get to key locations in Perth. It used to be confined to just bus/train interchanges, but now basically anywhere that two routes cross paths at an intersection is considered adequate for transfers. It removes most unnecessary duplication on corridors, simplifies route numbering and is essential during peak times and school peak times to efficiently and effectively move people around the metropolitan area.

I'm hoping that if they do pursue the BRT option, in order for it to achieve full success without the threat of being watered down, it needs to be quarantined to operate independently to the rest of the bus network. The buses used with specific branding restricted to the same specific route branding and infrastructure. Allow other urban buses in to use stations and priority lanes where necessary for transfers etc but not vice-versa and keep to a minimum to avoid impact on the efficient operation of BRT services (This would also enable BRT buses to operate with all door boarding, proof-of-payment, off board ticketing etc while maintaining the standard procedures with less busy local buses). In fact I hope they still go for the transfer interchange option in Dianella as would've been the case with the light rail, so that before the line veers off to Mirrabooka, passengers have the opportunity to transfer onto local buses to head further north along Alexander Dr.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby simonl » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:11 am

tonyp wrote:That's stage one. More will happen in the future.

My understanding is that the LR is to go to predominantly areas unserved by the BRT with the BRT remaining through the CBD and in some other locations. Less vehicles on the routes from a few places being converted is expected to reduce congestion and increase patronage.

Of course, Jarrett Walker's viewpoint is that the CBD tunnel for BRT was never built so it can't be said that BRT has been tried and failed.
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Re: Doubt on Perth LRT future

Postby tonyp » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:30 pm

Mr OC Benz wrote:https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/28922808/bus-lane-to-hit-homes-and-traffic/
Talk about the new analysis involving the use of bi-articulated buses which would carry 200-250 passengers (compared with 300 on light rail).


It's all looking NSW-style flaky.

This idea went up a few years ago in NSW and iirc ran up against road regulations that effectively prohibited the use of bi-articulated buses. I imagine those regulations would be national.

In any case, bi-articulated, going by the Hess ones in Europe, max at about 200 passengers, still below tram capacity (or well below, depending on the length of the tram). And that would assume European-style passenger handling - plenty of doors (including behind the rear axle so that there are no "caves" in the bus), all-door entry, 100% low floor. There are quite a few institutional and systemic obstacles to fully optimised bus operation in Australia as you know! At least Perth is the most progressive city.

If they do BRT as you describe, then they're effectively building light rail - as long as it's designed to be convertible eventually.
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