Simon says guessed at light rail numbers add up, Alistair says they don’t

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SIMON Corbell says bus patronage figures reported in today’s “Canberra Times” for “routes in the Northbourne Avenue corridor” do not reflect bus patronage along the entire light rail route from City to Gungahlin and can’t be used as a comparison with predicted patronage for Capital Metro stage one.

“A detailed, thorough and conservative analysis by Capital Metro has projected daily patronage of 13,700 along the entire light rail route, not just at the Macarthur Avenue stop,” Simon says.

“The current patronage of 7996 passengers a day at the Macarthur Avenue stop on Northbourne Avenue does not take into account passengers who travel to and from the stops on either side of Macarthur Avenue in either direction,” Mr Corbell said.

“For example, it does not count any of the passengers who travel between Gungahlin and Dickson in either direction. Nor does it count any passenger who catches the bus to or from the City Interchange and any of the four bus stops on Northbourne Avenue south of the Macarthur Avenue stop.”

Estimated light rail patronage for the Macarthur Avenue light rail stop in 2021 is 10,100.

“The increase of 2,104 passengers on 2014 bus patronage at the same stop reflects a number of factors including an increase in population over the next seven years, improved land use in the City to Gungahlin corridor and the appeal of light rail,” Mr Corbell said.

“I am confident in the patronage projections by Capital Metro, which show that stage one of Canberra’s light rail network will be well utilised by the people of the ACT.”

The Liberals’ Alistair Coe, however, is not so sure about that.

“The bus patronage figures published today show insufficient patronage to warrant the construction of a light rail route,” Alistair said.

“Whilst the ACTION route 200 service is fairly well patronised during peak hours, during the rest of the day, the services along Northbourne are near empty.

“Given light rail will be operating all day and at a considerably higher cost than that of the bus services, the decision to go ahead with light rail does not stack-up.”

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