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Commuters have been promised faster journeys on Sydney’s new CBD light rail from this week amid criticism over the operating speed of the $2.9 billion service.
Travel time on the light rail, which runs from Circular Quay to Randwick, blew out to more than 50 minutes in December, prompting questions over the effectiveness of the 12 kilometre service.
Travel times on Sydney's new light rail will speed up by around 5 minutes, according to Transport for NSW.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY
Journey times have recently sat somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes, but that’s expected to be reduced to 40-45 minutes from Monday.
While the speed limit on the light rail won’t change, a Transport for NSW spokeswoman said journey times would improve after more services are added to the network, dwell times are reduced and “teething issues” are resolved.
The dwell time is the amount of time a vehicle is stationary at a scheduled stop.
The spokeswoman added that improvements to the behaviour of both road users and tram drivers were expected to help increase the network speed.
Service operator Transdev told Parliament last year that projected travel times were 38-40 minutes.
Cricket commuters ride the new Sydney CBD light rail in January.CREDIT:ISABELLA PORRAS
The new line operates until 1am but the government is considering “enhancing” night services following the scrapping of Sydney’s controversial lockout laws.
Opposition transport spokesman Chris Minns said recent promises to improve the network were “vague and half baked”.
“At this point it’s more likely that this project has fundamental design flaws,” he said.
The light rail, which opened in mid-December, has an average patronage of 43,000 per day, with a southern extension to Kingsford still to open in March. It has completed more than 1.2 million trips since December 14.
Heavy rain last week resulted in light rail services running at a reduced frequency after problems in Chinatown, while the old light rail from Dulwich Hill also experienced delays due to flooding.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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