CBD & South East Light Rail

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moa999
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by moa999 »

There is definitely some traffic light priority. Just watch any of the YT videos. Just not at enough intersections, and not timed well - even with the arrows on George St, the T light is about 3 seconds late and the tram has already had to slow.

Sat/Sun had increased dwells. They've already knocked 5min off end-end times today.

I don't see getting to 30min, maybe 35 at best.
But that requires better traffic light priority and quicker speeds (they weren't even hitting the slow limits on the weekend).

But pedestrian behaviour is still appalling.
As well as I counted 3 George St incidents in the city, we have a genius in Surry Hills at about 19min in this video.
https://youtu.be/rOdzTRim9wM
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Daniel »

It wasn’t just traffic light dwell on Sat - the operation was completely stuffed by that time through various incidents. Trams were waiting at lights with priority but not proceeding due to congestion. Those time should probably discounted before you overanalyse it tonyp.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Swift »

Saw the coverage in the Sunday Telegraph.
A litany of disappointments that doubles down my belief in giving opening days a miss.
A lot of the problems were caused by factors outside the control of the new tramway. Ie people's behaviour.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

Daniel wrote:It wasn’t just traffic light dwell on Sat - the operation was completely stuffed by that time through various incidents. Trams were waiting at lights with priority but not proceeding due to congestion. Those time should probably discounted before you overanalyse it tonyp.
Yes it would certainly be better to see such figures on a normal operating weekday in a few days time. An opening weekend isn't representative.

Traffic light priority is when the tram doesn't have to slow down much, if at all, upon approach, a la Canberra and Gold Coast. Anything less isn't traffic light priority. The priority also shouldn't lock out the tram coming the other way.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

The Telegraph rode it in this morning's peak and found that most people stuck with the bus because of the journey time. There is a film with interviews for those who can view the digital version.
Poor turnout on first real test for Sydney’s new $2.9 billion light rail
You’d have expected chaos as commuters hit Sydney’s new trams for the first time, but the reality couldn’t have been more different.

Ben Graham@bengrahamjourno news.com.auDECEMBER 16, 201912:28PM

It was expected that Sydney’s newest light rail network would be bombarded with commuters this morning as it was put to its first real test — the dreaded Monday morning commute.
The $2.9 billion CBD and South East light rail opened to the public for the first time on Saturday — a day that was plagued with technical faults.
But people didn’t seem to mind too much, after all it was free to use and those who had been drinking all day at the races had probably lost all concept of time.
This morning marked an altogether different challenge for the new service as suited people with briefcases made their way to the new tram stations.
Upon arriving at the service’s starting/ending point in Randwick this morning, news.com.au noticed something bizarre about the new service — barely anyone was using it.
We arrived just before 8am which you would expect to be one of the busiest times of the day — given it takes up to 50 minutes to reach the harbour from there.
There were a number of “ask me anything” stewards in high-vis jackets smiling and waving at us when we arrived, but they were the only ones on the platform.
One tram departed as we arrived and it had — we estimate — around a dozen people on it, and, even after waiting a few minutes, the platform was virtually empty.

There was pretty much nobody on the platform, at rush hour.Source:Supplied
The first tram we saw departing had around a dozen people on it.

The trams have a capacity to move up to 13,500 commuters per hour (6750 in each direction) during peak times and Labor had warned the trams would be opening at capacity.

They warned that commuters would be “standing like a bunch of sardines on the platform” when the trams started running — but it clearly wasn’t the case this morning.
We chatted to a few people who’d turned up, and they told us they knew the journey would take longer than the 35-minute bus journey they were used to, but they just wanted to try it out.
Running out of people to speak to, we jumped on board and the tram began jerking around the tracks and stopped at a couple of sparsely-populated stations at UNSW and Wansey Rd.
It began to pick up some speed as it cut through Moore Park, and some of those on board told us they were enjoying the ride.
One of them, Rachael from Randwick told us the tram seemed cleaner, less crowded and smoother than taking the buses, which had become a “nightmare” in recent years.
Others told me it they thought it was good that trams were taking traffic off the roads, but not everyone was impressed.
Linda Tinsley from the Blue Mountains was stood waiting at Central Station when we alighted in Surry Hills and she told us she’ll never use the service again.
“Saving even the smallest amount time is so important when you’re going to work on a morning like this,” she said.

She usually changes trains at Central, but thought she’d give the light rail a go because it seemed like a nicer way to get to work.
However, she was disappointed to find she had wait over 10 minutes for the next tram — they’re supposed to be every four to eight minutes between Circular Quay and Central.
She said she’d come this far, so decided to wait for the tram, but conceded that she’d probably be late to work this morning.
“It’s good for the tourists I guess, but not for this,” she said.
The service’s baptism of fire comes after an eventful weekend of tram action in Sydney.
By 3pm on Sunday some 115,000 people had ridden the tram service, with 80,000 on Saturday alone across 155 services between 10am and 1am.
However, the tram network’s inaugural weekend was not without hiccups, breaking down at Circular Quay just a few hours after opening.
The breakdown saw services out of action for some 40 minutes after a tram stopped at a bend in the track just before 2pm, blocking lines in both directions.
Brian Brennan, chief officer of light rail operations at Transdev, said the technical issue was caused by a power module, exacerbated by someone pushing the emergency handle and trying to exit the vehicle.
The module piece has been replaced and “we look forward to being back in service in the coming days,” Mr Brennan told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

Sunday was “largely very, very positive”, however there was a mechanical break failure fault on a tram at Surry Hills about 8.25am, which was fixed by a network technician and caused a “limited impact” of about 10 minutes, he said.
Passengers were also struggling to hear audio on board and driver announcements when the trams were fully packed, an issue which Mr Brennan said was being worked on with the expectation of being in a “much better space” in the next two weeks.
Airconditioning settings and filters will also be investigated with a solution possible within the same time frame.
The new light rail broke down just hours after it was officially opened to the public on Saturday, December 14. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

While Transport Minister Andrew Constance apologised to passengers for any inconvenience caused, he said it was a “super weekend” for the trams.
“I know there was one incident with a tram yesterday out of 155 services and we’re conscious of that,” Mr Constance told reporters in Sydney on Sunday. “But when you have 80,000 people get on the trams in one day, it is a super weekend for the trams, it’s opening, it’s the busiest weekend of the year for Christmas shoppers and I really do want to thank people for their patience.”
Opposition leader Jodi McKay says the “good will for stuff-ups” was gone after the construction of the network was plagued by delays and cost blowouts.
“There simply is no excuse for the incompetence of the Berejiklian government that we saw on day one,” she said on Sunday.
“The government must reassure the public that the light rail was ready to open yesterday, and guarantee that it will be safe and reliable.”
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by rogf24 »

One commuter said it was only 15 minutes Central to Randwick today.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/light ... aea3f48c4f
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

rogf24 wrote:One commuter said it was only 15 minutes Central to Randwick today.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/light ... aea3f48c4f
Not sure whether to believe that (would the control room allow it in such a go-slow regime?) but he included seconds so must have been timing it. It's certainly more like what it should be. Constance doesn't even know how may stops it has on the line. Nobody seems to be aware that it's only 8.5 km because the PR machine has been spitting out the 12 km (both lines combined) figure for years. A half hour journey is easy cheese, it's only a 17 km/h average speed which is considered slow in any system, modern or old. I don't know why most people talk around journey time figures higher than that. It's insane. Commuters at least have clear vision about the issue.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by STMPainter2018 »

Sydney's new light rail passes morning peak-hour test
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/syd ... 1576454285
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

Constance has been speaking some sense for so long now it's almost nostalgically refreshing to hear him talking through his hat again. His spin doctors need to give him a quiet update on what commuters think about their trip times, together with a note for his wallet about how many stops there are on each line.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Swift »

Seven News reporting on higher number of users in the evening than the dismal morning. I'm sure it's just would be commuters put off by the negative reports of other's experiences and better the devil you know with their known quantity buses.
Seven News will be reporting sardine conditions soon enough as more people get used to the idea of this option.
There were the infuriating shots of cars sitting across intersections blocking trams with a T light on and likely missing out on the phase.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by ed24 »

I gave it a go this afternoon from City to Randwick and return at about 4.15pm. Despite an approx. 15-20 minute gap from the previous Randwick service it was fairly quiet and busiest in the CBD section.

Big Bash on Wednesday night will be an interesting test. The TNSW event page says that there will be event buses ready but will only be used if required.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by neilrex »

How does a tram stopping on a curve block trams going the other way ? Even TfNSW would not be so dumb as to not realise that there has to be greater separation between the tracks on curves ?
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by moa999 »

neilrex wrote:How does a tram stopping on a curve block trams going the other way ?
Are you referring to the breakdown at CQ on Sat?
If so the tram stopped with its last section still on the crossover at CQ, having departed from the platform on the station side, thus blocking both tracks.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by rogf24 »

Swift wrote:Seven News reporting on higher number of users in the evening than the dismal morning. I'm sure it's just would be commuters put off by the negative reports of other's experiences and better the devil you know with their known quantity buses.
Seven News will be reporting sardine conditions soon enough as more people get used to the idea of this option.
There were the infuriating shots of cars sitting across intersections blocking trams with a T light on and likely missing out on the phase.
https://twitter.com/7NewsSydney/status/ ... 6473451522

They also mentioned that commuters thought the Randwick-Central section (like 9 News) was fast but the CBD section was slow.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

Randwick commuters probably did not have much past experience of a bus trip down George St to compare times.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by tonyp »

One of the people commenting on an SMH article has fortuitously dug out the business case document in which a 30 minute journey between Randwick and CQ is mentioned:

http://data.sydneylightrail.transport.n ... UMMARY.pdf

The reason they mentioned 30 minutes is because it's perfectly feasible. 25 minutes is feasible but 30 is being comfortable. (Yes I know they've added up 15 + 15 to equal 34 in this document but that's an error.) 40 or 45 minutes is just beyond the pale and the Minister is getting terrible advice if he's coming up with comments about bringing the time down to 40 over the next six months as though it's an achievement. That's just ludicrous. What a lot of Sir Humphreys he's got in his department there - I feel sorry for him!

There is no doubt that the journey time issue, reinforced since Monday by the sight of half empty trams with most commuters still on the buses, is a major embarrassment, but I have to say I could see it coming with the "expertise" they have had on board - plus it being a "French" tram system with all the notorious slowness that goes with that. On top of that, they've obviously failed to face off their roads people and implement a proper traffic light priority system. This launch most certainly hasn't been the way to make a positive first public impression for reintroduction of trams and of course the advocates for trackless "buses" and all that stuff are currently having a field day. Right project, worst imaginable implementation.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Daniel »

Turn up the doom and gloom! Sigh.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by moa999 »

tonyp wrote: The reason they mentioned 30 minutes is because it's perfectly feasible. 25 minutes is feasible but 30 is being comfortable. (Yes I know they've added up 15 + 15 to equal 34 in this document but that's an error.) .
If I recall, it was 15+15=34 because they had Central Rawson (now Haymarket) and Central Chalmers.

And CQ-Haymarket is timetabled today at 16min so not far off.

It's the slow speeds on the other section - 40kph up Devonshire, averaging about 30kph in the tunnel, 20kph turning into Allison etc that hurt it.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Linto63 »

Nice idea as it might be to think light rail should be given absolute priority, but looking at the big picture that would cause more problems than it solves. Because multiple sets of traffic lights are phased to work together to try and optimise traffic flow, the knock on effects of doing so would ripple far beyond the route of the cbd and the net effect would be even more congestion.

Still at least it is proving plenty of cannon fodder for those who like to complain endlessly about TfNSW or look back at the world though rose tinted colours to the halcyon days of the 1950s.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

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Linto63 wrote:Still at least it is proving plenty of cannon fodder for those who like to complain endlessly about TfNSW or look back at the world though rose tinted colours to the halcyon days of the 1950s.
So it's unreasonable to expect the light rail to perform as-promised in terms of journey times from very early in the piece after months of testing? You'd fully expect adding passengers into the mix might cause a few teething problems, but I doubt anyone here is unreasonable enough to criticise that.

I hope they can solve some of the timing issues that have been reported; aren't the bus services being truncated soon to feed the light rail? That will be the big test, of course. If by then the system still isn't working as-promised, it's only going to fuel the car-loving, public transport hating sentiment that is already very strong in the community. Part of the reason that sentiment is so strong stems from public transport users continually coming out second best; the prevailing attitudes here in this forum, "Oh it's just Sydney, you have to deal with it" or "take your rose tinted glasses off!" are likely contrary to how the average commuter feels about having to spend even longer on public transport to get around when they were told that wouldn't be the case for the multi-billion dollar price tag.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by J_Busworth »

When over $3 billion dollars of taxpayer money is spent on a project that is claimed to reduce travel times and improve public transport, I expect that money to be well spent and the project to deliver on its promises? If the project has failed to do that, we can't simply dismiss it as Sydney being Sydney. The standards being set by many of us here in the forums are literally copied and pasted out of the business case for the project. Those aren't unrealistic, those are what was promised. 30 minutes end to end, 15 minutes either side of Central. That the line is much slower than that, and that the now promised improvements will still leave the line slower than originally promised and buses can't be put down to Sydney being Sydney.

Whilst I have been able to identify a number of benefits the line brings, the biggest one continually spruced was that it would take buses out of the CBD. At the current speeds, it won't. At the current speeds all the same buses will still need to go up and down Elizabeth Street every day to meet the demands from commuters in a marginal seat. The tram fanboys and girls need to realise that the implementation of this project has been so poor, it is an embarrassment. Give it 6 months, I am willing to bet that travel times still aren't what they were promised at, the buses are still faster and that people are choosing buses over trams, like they did in the 60s.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by Linto63 »

Merc1107 wrote:So it's unreasonable to expect the light rail to perform as-promised in terms of journey times from very early in the piece after months of testing?
Of course there will always be teething troubles and irrespective of how much dry running is done in the lead up, there will always be a curveball that only surfaces after go live. The problem with many infrastructure projects is that the benefits are often oversold and the numbers based on perfect-world rather than real-world scenarios. The promised times were probably never realistic.
Merc1107 wrote:aren't the bus services being truncated soon to feed the light rail?
In April after the Kingsford branch opens. When the Eastern Suburbs line opened in the late 1970s it was envisaged that few buses would need to continue into the city with passengers to transfer to trains at Bondi Junction and Edgecliff. Turned out passengers didn't do so in the numbers projected, hence bus services had to be reinstated.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

Despite the claim of an 8 minute frequency from Randwick, I watched 4 inbound services arrive at Chalmers St in a little over 10 mins around 07:00 this morning.

Even stranger, two of the services were put into platform 2 while the closely following services used platform 1 and overtook the waiting sets.

Not many people on any of these services.
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by boronia »

Linto63 wrote:. When the Eastern Suburbs line opened in the late 1970s it was envisaged that few buses would need to continue into the city with passengers to transfer to trains at Bondi Junction and Edgecliff. Turned out passengers didn't do so in the numbers projected, hence bus services had to be reinstated.
A senior STA manager explained to me at the time that they didn't feel they were getting a fair share of the combined bus/train ticketing, and increased the through services to discourage transfer. The combo tickets were withdrawn soon afterwards
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Re: Light rail gets the green light: stage 1 UNSW to CBD

Post by rogf24 »

boronia wrote:A senior STA manager explained to me at the time that they didn't feel they were getting a fair share of the combined bus/train ticketing, and increased the through services to discourage transfer. The combo tickets were withdrawn soon afterwards
Good thing the government/TfNSW is now directly taking on the revenue risk now instead of STA or operators.
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