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GOLD Coasters are shunning buses and trains in record numbers with more than one-in-two revealing that they only used public transport once a year.
In what looms as a worrying sign for the $1 billion rapid transit project, Gold Coasters are snubbing public transport and jumping in their cars instead.
The Your City, Your Say survey reveals that 54 per cent of locals say they use public transport only `once a year' and only 18 per cent of residents say they use public transport at least once a week.
A total of 47 per cent of respondents rated Gold Coast bus services as `poor to very poor'.
Support for the light rail project has increased since the last survey to 62 per cent of Gold Coasters, who rated their level of support for the controversial rapid transit system as moderate or high.
But when it came to the effectiveness of the rapid transit project's `community consultation', Gold Coasters delivered a scathing assessment with 60 per cent saying that communication had been poor or very poor.
Urban Development Institute of Australia Gold Coast president Steve Harrison, who is chairman of the rapid transit project business advisory group, told The Weekend Bulletin that the light rail project was critical for boosting growth in the city.
"The city has an extremely low usage of public transport at 4.4 per cent (one of the lowest in the country). Part of this can be attributed to the Gold Coast being a long, narrow, linear city,'' Mr Harrison said.
"An integrated, efficient and affordable public transport network will ease traffic congestion. This must include buses, light rail and heavy rail interconnecting throughout the city.''
Mr Harrison said the light rail system, along with the hospital, was one of the `few big ticket items' keeping construction workers employed.
"So far, 85 per cent of jobs have been awarded to Gold Coast workers in the design and construction phase of the light rail,'' he said.
"With Stage 1 under way, our focus is now on extending the light rail to connect with the heavy rail and ultimately to the airport.''
The survey results also showed that 28 per cent of Gold Coasters had considered leaving the city because of traffic congestion.
Gold Coast cab drivers also copped a whack, with 23 per cent of Gold Coasters saying that the cabbies had bad to very bad knowledge of local roads.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoast.com.au
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