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ON the one-month anniversary of Newcastle light rail commencing passenger services, the NSW government has announced more than 100,000 trips have been taken on the line.
"We've got the figures up to the 16th of March and we're looking at 108,000 passengers," Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said in Newcastle on Monday.
"That's a bit over 4000 a day, that's nearly double what we were forecasting and I think it's a vote of confidence from the community and the public that this a great integrated transport mode.
"So thank you to everybody who's been supporting light rail, long may it continue."
Mr MacDonald was joined by the owner of a hospitality business located only a few metres from the Queens Wharf light rail stop, but acknowledged not all traders would be feeling a similar, immediate impact.
"We hope this will grow, there's no doubt about it," he said.
"If you're getting more people into the city, we hope this will transform.
"There's still challenges on Hunter Street ... but if you're getting more people into the CBD ... then we hope that will support the businesses into the future."
PRESS CALL: Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald in Newcastle on Monday.
Three Bears Kitchen owner Tony Bowen said his business had recorded an increase in trade since the opening of the line.
"For us, it's been fantastic," he said.
"We've seen a lot of patronage on the light rail, which is obviously bringing more customers to us over the last four weeks or so.
"Weekends are back up again in comparison to what they used to be, which is great, and from our side, we can only see it growing even further."
Mr Brown, who has owned the Market Street business since 2016, said he believed the opening of light rail had helped return people to the city.
"Business is picking up all around for the people I've spoken to," he said.
"It has to be good for everyone within the city, if more people are coming back into the city."
He also said he believed parking issues had been overstated in recent years.
"The whole parking issue has stopped," he said.
This article first appeared on www.theherald.com.au
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