Economic evaluation of Hobart's light rail plan released

TASMANIAN Minister for Sustainable Transport, Nick McKim, yesterday announced that the Stage 3 report of the Light Rail Business Case has been completed.

The proposed light rail service (LRS) would see light rail trains using the existing rail corridor from Granton through to Mawson Place, Hobart.

Mr McKim said the report, which assesses the overall costs and benefits of a light rail service on the northern suburbs corridor, has been considered by the Community Advisory Panel and is now available to the public on the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources website.
"This is the third report to be developed by the consultants, ACIL Tasman with the assistance of the Panel," Mr McKim said.
Mr McKim said the last stage of the Business Case is to develop a final report which is expected to be completed by September.

The report finds that the proposed LRS is expected to generate a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) marginally over 1 if using diesel vehicles or slightly below 1 if using electrified vehicles, provided patronage levels reach approximately 90,000 trips a week in Year 1, increasing to approximately 124,000 in Year 30.

A BCR of less than 1 suggests that a project is likely to cost the community more than the value of all the benefits gained from the project.

Current public transport use through areas near the proposed the northern suburbs light rail stations is estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 passenger trips a week.

The report identified factors that can potentially improve the BCR, by increasing passenger demand for light rail services, such as population growth and densification along the rail corridor, cost and availability of car parking in the Hobart CBD and significant changes to the price and availability of fuel.

The first stage of the business case found that a service operating beyond Claremont would not be viable as there would be a significant increase in operating costs beyond Claremont and a comparatively small, dispersed population.

More information about the report is available at <http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/miscellaneous/northern_suburbs_to_hobart_cbd_light_rail_business_case>.

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