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A high-frequency shuttle service will connect the new Rockingham Train Station, the town centre and the city's popular foreshore precinct, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced today.
The $12.6million first stage of the Rockingham Rapid Transit System will see four modern, gas-powered buses provide a shuttle service between the new station and the foreshore precinct every 15 minutes with eight stops along the route.
Ms MacTiernan said today's announcement followed a commitment by the Gallop Government to introduce a rapid transit system for the city to coincide with the opening of the Southern Suburbs Railway from Perth in 2006.
"The Rockingham Shuttle will play a vital role connecting local residents with employment, educational and recreational opportunities," she said.
"The shuttle, combined with the Southern Suburbs Railway, will also help make the foreshore precinct and city centre the heart of economic activity for Rockingham."
The system will partly operate on existing roads and partly on a dedicated transitway.
An underpass at Ennis Avenue will be constructed to provide exclusive access for the transit system to the Rockingham Train Station and a transit mall will be built through the centre of the city, providing a right of way for public transport and cyclists.
"This system will offer a town centre service more advanced than anything currently available in Western Australia - neither the Perth nor Fremantle Central Area Transit systems have dedicated transit ways," the Minister said.
Ms MacTiernan said the route - linking the train station with the foreshore, city centre and Murdoch University campus - was designed to accommodate a future light rail system. Key components of a future light rail system such as the Transit Mall and the Ennis Avenue underpass would be delivered as part of Stage One.
"As surrounding development and patronage increases over time, the system's second stage - a light rail component - will be examined," she said.
One of the key tasks of the State Government's Rockingham Development Office will be to maximise development opportunities on the route of the transit system and therefore increase patronage potential for the system.
Transperth will also operate normal bus services from Rockingham and surrounding suburbs to the train station.
Rockingham MLA Mark McGowan welcomed today's announcement.
"The Southern Suburbs Railway is a wonderful development for our city and will ensure we have decent public transport via a route that people will want to use," Mr McGowan said.
"This new dedicated transit route through the city will boost local residents' access to the railway and act as a tourism asset for the city."
Mr McGowan said he was pleased that the State Government had factored a light rail system into future expansion plans.
"I realise some people will have wanted more but the shuttle bus is an important first step - as Rockingham grows and patronage increases, I'm sure a light rail option will become viable," he said.
Peel MLA Norm Marlborough said the vision of linking the rail with the city and the foreshore was about to become a reality.
"I have always taken the view that Rockingham must turn its focus to its principle asset - our magnificent coastline," Mr Marlborough said.
"This project achieves that vision and is part of the Gallop Government's commitment to building stronger communities."
Minister's office: 9213 6400
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