Bus reps slam TAS light rail

The national and Tasmanian bus associations have taken a stand against a light rail proposal

Bus reps slam TAS light rail
Bus reps slam TAS light rail proposal
February 28, 2013

Calls for a
light rail system in Tasmania
are causing upset in the bus community, with the national and Tasmanian bus associations venting shared frustration earlier this week.

In a joint statement from the Bus Industry Council (BIC) and the Tasmania Bus Association (TasBus), TasBus General Manager Geoff Lewis says money would be better spent on services across the whole state rather than on one piece of rail.

The statement follows reports support has been growing for light rail from Hobart’s northern suburbs to Hobart’s CBD.

The state's government presented a business case for the light rail late last year.

"The cost to benefit ratios, across a range of scenarios in the final report tell us this project will provide too little for far too much money and they don’t even tell us what the forgone costs of spending the money are in other areas such as transport and health," Lewis says.

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps has called for studies on the proposed project to include a bus rapid transit option for comparison.

Apps says bus rapid transit systems can produce a much better cost-to-benefit ratio than light rail systems.

"Rather than focusing on the mode, the whole project should be focused on the rapid transit corridor and consider all of the options for that corridor," Apps says.

"Bus rapid transit provides all of the same characteristics as light rail at a margin of the cost, even the vehicles can look like light rail," Apps says.

Apps says a rapid transit corridor proposal should be presented in a professional way that considers all of the options about the mode of choice and the route.

"At least then any federal funding decision can be based on facts and not an attempted pork barrel," Apps says.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook