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A government document produced during the planning stages of Sydney’s new $2.9 billion light rail network shows the trams were supposed to travel much faster than the speeds they have achieved since the new network opened last weekend.
The report will be an embarrassment to the NSW Government that is struggling to explain to commuters why the expensive new trams can take 15 minutes longer to reach their destination than the buses they are designed to replace.
People have been overheard on the tram saying “walking is definitely quicker”.
However, transport bosses have rejected the document’s pledge and have said its timings it “predated final planning” approvals. Work was underway on reducing travel times, the body insisted.
The Transport Minister has said it was “nonsense” to compare tram times with buses.
On Saturday, the L2 Randwick line opened, the first new trams in Sydney since the opening of the L1 Dulwich Hill line in 2014.
The Government said 160,000 people took advantage of a free weekend of tram travel. However, on Monday, when the weekly commute began, there were far fewer people jumping on-board. At peak hours, some trams have had few people on them. Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has insisted the launch was a success. The government body said 44,000 trips were made on Monday.
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Don’t get excited. The trams aren’t actually this fast. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi.Source:AAP
Much of the criticism has been put down to unexpectedly long journey times. A trip through the CBD can take around 25 minutes. Some end-to-end journeys between the city have been taking 50-58 minutes compared with around 35 minutes on the bus.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has said the Government will “try and get as close to 40 minutes as we can”. But even that is still much slower that what was originally promised.
This article first appeared on www.news.com.au
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