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Libs won't rebuild Adelaide's suburban tram network

Politics

The Liberal Party has promised to scrap the planned reconstruction of Adelaide’s suburban tram network as part of its public transport policy, which also involves splitting up the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

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Trams are “not viable, workable or needed beyond the Adelaide Parklands and North Adelaide, except for the existing Glenelg line,” says the Liberal Party’s public transport policy document, released today.

A Liberal Government would abandon long-held Labor plans to extend tram services to Norwood, Unley, Prospect and the Adelaide Airport.

The State Government’s map of the five proposed tram route extensions that make up AdeLINK. Some of the routes have been altered through subsequent Government announcements since the map was produced.

The Liberal policy document outlines four tram route options traversing the CBD, each of which it plans to send to its signature advisory body, Infrastructure South Australia, before making any commitment to them.

“Our vision is to link Adelaide’s main public institutions with our cultural precincts through an extension of the tram network to drive tourism and jobs growth throughout the City of Adelaide,” said the party’s transport spokesperson David Pisoni.

“The first component of this plan will see a Marshall Liberal Government correcting the Weatherill Government’s cynical decision to cut a right-hand turn from King William St into North Terrace.”

Ironically, the Liberal Party’s trams policy would inflict the same problem on commuters travelling to the west end of the CBD that it proposes to solve by building a right-hand turn onto North Terrace for those heading east.

Yesterday, Liberal Leader Steven Marshall told reporters he would “fix Labor’s tram mess” by constructing a right-hand turn from King William Street onto North Terrace, based on a low-reliability costing of $37 million.

Building the right-hand turn, he said, would allow commuters coming from Glenelg to reach the east end of the city without having to get off on North Terrace and wait for another tram heading east (he described that inconvenience as “an embarrassment for South Australia”).

But his own plans would force commuters coming from Glenelg to disembark on North Terrace and wait for a tram heading west (or make the transfer earlier in the route) to access the Royal Adelaide Hospital or the new university and biomedical precinct in the west end.

This is because the Liberal Party’s public transport policy envisages two optional tram routes from Glenelg, neither of which run directly from Glenelg to the West End.

The first option is a Glenelg to North Adelaide service, sending passengers directly down King William Street to O’Connell Street.

This would be an all-day service, with 10-minute frequency between 6am and 7pm and 15-minute frequency at all other times.

The Liberal Party’s proposed Glenelg to North Adelaide Tram route.

The second Glenelg route option would use the right-hand turn onto North Terrace to build a modest city loop running down Hutt Street onto Angas Street.

The service would only operate during school travel peak times and during festivals and events.

It could potentially link up to the first optional route to send commuters back to Glenelg.

The Liberal Party’s proposed Glenelg to CBD east end loop route.

Another option would send commuters from the Entertainment Centre around a more ambitious city loop through the East End and down Angas Street, past the Central Market and China Town on Gouger Street, terminating before West Terrace.

This proposed service would operate every 10 minutes between 6am and 7pm Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes at all other times.

The Liberal Party’s proposed Entertainment Centre CBD loop route.

A final route option would use existing tramline to shuttle commuters from the new Royal Adelaide Hospital to South Terrace, requiring no additional infrastructure.

The service would operate from 7am to 7pm on weekdays.

The Liberal Party’s transfer route to the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Premier Jay Weatherill told reporters at a press conference this morning that the Liberal Party had “had four years to develop their policies and now they’re saying ‘we’ll get back to you after the election’”.

“That’s totally and utterly unacceptable,” he said.

“Elections are for publishing policies and making commitments.

“They didn’t release any policies at all, what they released was the idea that we should have another inquiry.”

He described the Liberal Party’s commitment to a right-hand turn on North Terrace as a “cheap political point”.

Strip public transport out of DPTI

A Liberal Government would also remove public transport from the responsibilities of the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

It would establish a stand-alone South Australian Public Transport Authority (SAPTA).

The CEO of the new authority would not be “compromised by other departmental or political priorities”, the policy document says.

In addition, the Liberal Party is promising:

The Liberal Party is also proposing a redesign of South Australia’s public transport fares.

The proposal includes discounted fares on Saturdays, a daily cap on fares so that extra trips are free on Sundays and public holidays, and investigating whether periodical tickets like the 28-day pass can be made more “flexible” for when people go on holidays outside SA.

An underground train line to Victoria Square?

The policy document also says a Liberal Government would place “a renewed focus on the potential for” an underground railway link into Victoria Square.

The underground tunnel would link northern and southern train lines and include stops at Hindmarsh Square and Victoria Square.

“This is a long-term project, but is a commitment to encourage further city development around the future underground station locations,” the document says.

InDaily understands such a project would have a multi-billion dollar price tag.

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