Monday, October 12, 2009

Proposed Sydney CBD metro system

This is for a submission on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans for the proposed Sydney CBD Metro. Comments are invited on this draft (to be finalised by close of business 12 October 2009). These comments are based on the documents provided on the NSW web site (I was unable to find the advertised display at the Leichhardt Library).

The documents provided offer no alternatives to a metro and no overall transport plan for Sydney. As a result it is not feasible to assess the environmental or other value of the one option presented. Options which need to be considered are expansion of the heavy rail network, as Melbourne is doing with a detailed Victorian Transport Plan and light rail / guided buses in Adelaide.

The introduction of new telecommunications, including the NBN, will reshape Australian cities. Transport plans need to take account of this. One priority should be an integrated ticket system for Sdyney, similar to the successful Akbil system in Istanbul.

The availability of wireless telecommunications will also make older and slower transport options more viable, by providing services to commuters on route. As an example, the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway is being equipped with WiFi for passengers. Sydney's successful and popular MetroBus could be similarly equipped with WiFi and electronic signs.

Metros are very expensive long term projects which, even when they start on time (whereas several previous Sydney Metros projects have not) can be decades late and many billions of dollars over budget. The metro under construction at the Greek city of Thessaloniki only 9.6 km long but has taken thirty years to build.

Sydney needs to consider shorter term, lower cost projects which have a reasonable chance of success. The prime candidate for funding is the extension to the existing inner west Sydney Light Rail.

NSW should put on hold the plans for a proposed Metro and start to undertake transport planning.

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