The Knox Leader has reported on the renewed calls for the completion of the Knox tram issued by the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA):
A PUBLIC transport lobby group has again called on the State Government to fund a tram extension to Knox City shopping centre.
Public Transport Users’ Association spokesman Alex Makin said a tram line “must soon replace” the bus connection from the terminus at Vermont South.
“Transfers between buses and trams, no matter how seamless, are still physically inconvenient and complicated, particularly for elderly people, those with disabilities and small children,” Mr Makin said. “We need a constant (tram) link between Knox and Whitehorse if a tram line was built, it would enable the buses to be freed up for elsewhere in Knox.
Melbourne 2030 the State Government’s overarching Planning policy, states that The current project to extend the Burwood tram to Knox City is an example of what can be done, yet through failing to provide a timeline for the full completion of the Knox tram extension the very notion of the strategic direction provided by Melbourne 2030 is jeopardised.
Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the State Government should honour its election promise to provide the tram extension. He could not confirm or deny if a Liberal Government would implement the extension.
But Bayswater state Labor MP Peter Lockwood said the Burwood Highway extension, which he estimated would cost about $86 million, plus inflation, to build, was not presently needed as the bus link was doing “a good job”.
The estimated cost of $86 million, as quoted by Mr. Peter Lockwood for the full Knox tram extension is also questionable. Yarra Trams estimates that it costs roughly $3 million per kilometre for the construction of new track and overhead wiring and while this figure does exclude new stops and related road works, the extension of approximately four kilometres is more likely to be around $40 rather than $85 million.
However, Mr Makin said the Government was “more likely looking at around $40 million” for the project.
The approximately three kilometre extension from East Burwood to Vermont South cost $42.6 million, including the bus/tram interchange and associated landscaping it is therefore questionable that the missing link in this tram extension would cost $86 million.