06 June 2008

Public transport makeover promised for Adelaide

In his budget South Australia's Treasurer Kevin Foley has promised a radical overhaul of Adelaide's rail/ tram/ light rail transport system .

The Advertiser/ Adelaide Now reports:

The state's ailing public transport system has received a $2 billion injection described as the "single biggest commitment to public transport in the state's history" by Treasurer Kevin Foley. The centrepiece of the massive announcement is an extension of the Glenelg-city tramline to West Lakes, Port Adelaide and Semaphore at a cost of $162 million.

Over the next four years, $648.4 million will be spent on the first leg of the extension, the purchase of new light rail vehicles and buses, electrification of the rail network and a new ticketing system.

Speculation has been rife the Government would extend the tramline following the recently announced upgrade of AAMI Stadium.

Work will begin "immediately" on the first leg of the extension, to the Entertainment Centre, and trams are expected to be running on the new line by 2010.

A park-and-ride facility will be set up at the centre where western suburbs commuters can park their cars for a fee and commute by tram to the city.

To address capacity issues on the already overcrowded tram service, the Government has committed to buying or leasing six new or second-hand trams "immediately".

A further 15 hybrid tram-trains and 50 new electric trains will be bought and 58 diesel trains will be refurbished and converted to electric over the same period.

Mr Foley described the transport budget as a "blueprint for redeveloping our transport network that will help provide a framework for the future development of our city and state".

In the northern and southern suburbs, rail was the focus.

Electrification of the Noarlunga and Outer Harbour lines will begin at a total cost of $292 million and the start of concrete re-sleepering of the Gawler line will cost $116 million.

On the roads, an extra 80 buses will be added to the fleet over the next four years at a cost of $64.4 million.

This is in addition to the 133 replacement buses to be purchased under and $102.2 million program.

A long-awaited replacement for the more than 20-year-old Crouzet ticketing system has been promised with a commitment of $29 million to begin purchasing new machines.

For a map of the proposed changes see here.

Notwithstanding a question or two about details (eg how will standard gauge trams run on the broad gauge Port Adelaide rail track?) I'm obviously in favour of the proposals and look forward to seeing them implemented within Mr Foley's timeframe.

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