THE Committee for Perth says light rail outpaces buses both financially and for moving more people.
The Barnett government has “deferred” its high-profile election policy to install light rail through North Perth up to Mirrabooka, in favour of looking at fancy buses which it reckons can do the job for far less money.
Trouble is, experts say even the best buses in the world won’t do the job nearly as well.
Describing itself as an apolitical think-tank advocating for Perth’s future, the committee says light rail “delivers high volume passenger services more cost effectively and efficiently than bus because it requires fewer vehicles to move the same number of passengers”.
Its research shows property values shoot up around light rail, and routes with more than 2000 passengers an hour are cheaper to operate and maintain.
Greens senator Scott Ludlam backs the research and blasts the government for its about-face.
The Greens’ own study shows light rail helps urban redevelopment and high street regeneration, which would be warmly welcomed by North Perth traders the Voice spoke to.
Federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan doesn’t buy the state government’s excuses about having to reexamine buses in light of economic difficulties and the lack of federal funding.
“They knew perfectly well that Abbott wasn’t funding any rail projects,” Ms MacTiernan says. “There has been a complete and utter fraud perpetrated on the people of Northbridge and North Perth and going up to Mirrabooka that they were going to get this.”
As for explanations the Liberals need to revisit the latest research on buses: “Bullshit,” Ms MacTiernan says. “Buses have been around for a long time.”
by DAVID BELL