By Lilia Guan
The New South Wales Government has announced that it has bought Metro Transport Sydney for $19.8 million – for both the Monorail and lightrail.
Premier Barry O’Farrell stated in a media release that Sydneysiders had never truly “embraced” the Monorail.
The purchase would allow the state government to tear down the monorail and extend the light rail on George Street.
“The monorail is not integrated with Sydney’s wider public transport network and has never been truly embraced by the community,” Premier O’Farrell.
“While it has been a controversial part of Sydney’s history for more than 20 years, the monorail is reaching the end of its economic life and the NSW
Government cannot justify costly upgrades like the purchase of new vehicles required to keep it running."
He stated this decision also paved the way for the development of a world class Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct as the NSW Government gets on with the job of making NSW number one again.
Under the deal, the NSW Government has purchased Metro Transport Sydney (MTS) for $19.8 million and – for now – the operation of light rail and monorail services will continue as usual as per the contract with Veolia.
Premier O’Farrell said the removal of the monorail will occur as soon as feasible after obtaining the necessary approvals and consulting with stakeholders.
Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian said the simplified contractual arrangements would make it easier for the government to expand the light rail network in the future.
“The NSW Government is committed to expanding light rail and extending the Inner West Light Rail to Dulwich Hill,” she said.
“This purchase gives certainty to transport planners and will ensure light rail is fully integrated with the wider public transport network.
“The Light Rail Strategic Plan – examining the feasibility of extending the light rail network through Sydney’s CBD, to the University of Sydney and the University of NSW – will be completed in the middle of this year, and the government looks forward to examining its findings.”
Sydney City Mayor, Clover Moore said this was “exactly what” Sydney has been waiting for from this government – “big, bold transport projects”.
“I welcome the purchase of Metro Transport Sydney which will help fully integrate the current light rail system into the expanded network now being planned,” he said.
“Removal of the ugly and intrusive monorail is also the right next step. Replacing it with efficient and effective light rail will improve transport access in central Sydney.”
The City of Sydney has committed $180 million for public domain works in George Street if light rail proceeds and a section of George Street is pedestrianised.
Mayor Moore said turning light rail along George Street will drastically reduce traffic congestion, making it easier for bus passengers and pedestrians to get around the city.
“Light rail can carry up to 8000 people an hour – a modern, low-floor tram will get more people across the city faster with low environmental impacts,” she said.
“I believed then that light rail was the better option for linking Darling Harbour to the city centre.”