Tas light rail proposal downsized


A proposed light rail system in Tasmania has been downsized following debate at the annual TasBus conference

June 4, 2013

A hot topic at the annual TasBus conference, a proposed light rail system in Tasmania has been downsized.

The first stage of the proposed northern suburbs light rail project was reduced this week to a two-stop, 9km link between Hobart and Glenorchy.

Light rail advocates had hoped for a nine-stop 21km link between Hobart and Bridgewater.

The announcement follows arguments presented at the weekend’s TasBus conference for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System instead of the light rail project.

University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) Public Transport founding chair, Professor Corinne Mulley gave a BRT-focused presentation at the conference.

TasBus Managing Director Geoff Lewis says the presentation was a conference highlight.

"One of the things raised was frequency, frequency, frequency," Lewis says.

Lewis says Mulley argued it was possible for BRT passengers
to wait
no longer than 10 minutes for a bus, and that a BRT system
would be
cheaper
than light rail.

Lewis says Tasmanian Sustainable Transport Minister Nick McKim, who addressed delegates at the conference, has been one of the driving forces behind the rail.

"You see it is all being pushed by McKim in the Greens," Lewis says.

"They love their rail – it’s sexy isn’t it?"

The rail discussion at the conference attracted interest from the Mercury newspaper, ABC Television, Win Television and Southern Cross Television.

In total, the conference, held at Hobart’s Wrest Point Hotel from May 31 to June 1, attracted more than 100 delegates.

"The feedback was good, particularly on the program," Lewis says.

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