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Three minutes should be the benchmark for changing between heavy and light rail at Wickham station, according to a Maitland City councillor.
Some commuters from Maitland have expressed concern about a proposal to cut the heavy rail line at Wickham and replace it with a tram network into Newcastle CBD because of extra time and costs involved in changing from trains to light rail.
Cr Bob Geoghegan said commuters from outside the Newcastle region would be more likely to accept the proposal if they knew they would have to wait no longer than three minutes for a connecting service at Wickham station.
He said connecting services on transport systems such as the London Underground worked on a three-minute interchange benchmark.
“Experience has shown overseas that if you make people change modes [of transport] and make them wait longer than three minutes, it’s not popular,” he said.
“They do it elsewhere, so they should be able to do it here.”
Cr Geoghegan said the changeover time was one of the key issues in the debate over the future of public transport into the centre of Newcastle.
He admitted it would still take commuters from Maitland longer to reach Newcastle CBD using the light rail network, even with a three-minute interchange time, but he said tram stops would take travellers closer to their destination than Newcastle station.
Maitland Greens member Jan Davis said a three-minute interchange would not make the light rail service acceptable and she did not think it was feasible.
This article first appeared on www.maitlandmercury.com.au
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