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Passenger rail will not meet consumer needs with money better spent in expanding existing bus services, an independent Hills transport study has found.
Infrastructure SA today released its Mount Barker Mass Transit Study, in which it backed the State Government’s push for a rapid bus service but not passenger rail.
This is despite months of lobbying by both the Mt Barker and Adelaide Hills Councils, Kavel MP Dan Cregan and the SA Transport Action Group.
“Although a rail service could be re-established in the Hills, the existing train line would not achieve travel times competitive with current bus services or cars, despite claims to the contrary,” the report states.
“The small proportion of passengers who commute to the CBD will be required to use private vehicles to travel to stations at trip origin, interchange to a broad gauge service to reach ARS, then travel from North Terrace to their final destination, each element adding to the overall journey time.”
Travel by rail would take over 70 minutes from Mt Barker to the city, according to the study.
This compares to 39 minutes via a rapid transit bus.
Kavel MP Dan Cregan said he rejected the report’s findings on passenger rail.
“I reject the finding that rail is not viable,” he said.
“An alternative study has found modern railcars with higher power-to-weight ratios can do the trip to Mount Barker in as little as 45 minutes with $70M in track improvements.
“The government walked away from Globelink and I don’t want them walking away from this latest study, too.
“After Globelink and plans to cut Hills bus routes, my community has limited confidence in public transport announcements from the government.”
Recommendations include increasing Park ‘n’ Ride capacity, bringing forward the completion of Heysen Boulevard in Mount Barker, targeted investment to improve efficiency and bus prioritisation on Glen Osmond Rd and further investment in managed motorway initiatives to better respond to incidents on the freeway and enable rapid contra-flow.
Kavel MP Dan Cregan next to train line in Mt Barker. Picture: Supplied
Infrastructure SA also recommends that the Department for Infrastructure and Transport undertake the necessary studies to identify the longer-term corridor solution.
These should consider all transport modes and users, including freight, and should consider staging solutions so benefits can be realised earlier.
The study also confirmed commuters are impacted by congestion, which is concentrated on Glen Osmond Rd and the Tollgate Intersection but can flow up the South Eastern Freeway. It also identified that the main issue with the freeway was the large number of full or partial closures, which impacted travel time reliability.
Infrastructure SA Chief Executive, Jeremy Conway said an efficient public transport service was “more about the corridor than the mode”.
“Improved bus services will be better matched to the needs of residents in the highly dispersed, low-density hills townships who tend to travel to a wide range of work and other destinations,” he said.
“With an efficient corridor, a Hills (rapid bus service), similar to the O-Bahn in Adelaide’s north east, could reduce travel time from Mount Barker to under 40 minutes.”
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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