Light rail may displace 200 buses an hour

General news0

Light rail may displace 200 buses an hour

Jacob Saulwick

March 5, 2012

Unsustainable ... Sydney's bus back-up.

Unsustainable … Sydney’s bus back-up. Photo: Quentin Jones

SOME peak hour buses entering Sydney’s central business district from the north will be redirected to the Cahill Expressway and the Western Distributor to push them out of the centre of the city under a council proposal.

The City of Sydney’s latest transport plan, to go before a council committee tonight, includes new detail on how the city would restructure bus routes and taxi ranks to accommodate the proposed light rail and pedestrian conversion of George Street.

The proposal has been designed to feed into the government’s statewide masterplan, which will be finished by the end of the year.

It shows about 200 buses an hour could be excluded from the CBD if the government builds light rail down George Street and redesigns bus routes to accommodate the tram line.

While some commuters entering the city from Broadway or the eastern suburbs would be asked to change from buses to light rail under the proposed system, they would be promised faster travel times.

It can take more than 30 minutes to travel between Central station and Circular Quay by bus; trams could take 15-17 minutes.

”Business as usual for buses is unsustainable with 1050 buses per hour on 192 routes jammed into 20 streets,” the city’s manager of city access, Terry Lee-Williams, said. ”More thought is needed on how to make bus routes easy to understand, not have to go through the city centre empty, and the possibility of quality interchange to rail or light rail with a supportive and sensible fares policy,” he said.

While the government is ultimately responsible for designing bus services, the council has a role in managing their movement through city streets.

The plan would also direct some buses from the north directly on to the Western Distributor, allowing them to enter the city from the south, at Bathurst Street.

The state government is understood to be examining similar proposals to deal with the worsening crush of buses entering the city from the north.

The council is also proposing that when light rail is built down George Street, cab ranks be set up on cross streets to prevent taxis from circling the block.

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