Questions of Capacity and Quality of Service
Terry Flynn’s submission on the CSELR contains calculations proving the proposed trams do not provide enough seating or crush capacity compared to existing buses. What is actually required for the future growth of public transport in the Eastern suburbs is double deck heavy rail. It delivers approximately 10 times the seating and crush capacity @ 20 trains per hour.
“The existing 891 bus service from Central to UNSW has 40 busses between 8 and 9 am. Each bus has at least 43 seats; therefore seating capacity exceeds 43 x 40 = 1720 seated passengers per hour. The proposed tram has seating capacity per hour of 1600 for a 20 tram per hour frequency.
Considering my calculations are based on only one bus route (891) using the smallest bus design, it is clear the current tram design is unable to provide the existing peak hour service to UNSW at the same comfort level with the proposed 20 trams per hour timetable. It is unlikely this tram frequency can be significantly improved upon, as the system frequency is limited by traffic light timing and motor vehicle congestion.
There is no good reason why the new trams cannot have a greater seating capacity. The existing low floor Sydney trams has a seating capacity of 74 seats for a tram length of 28.3m. That gives 2.6 seats per metre length of tram. Assuming a 45m long new tram using the same seat to length ratio, the new trams could have a seating capacity of approximately 117 seats. This results in a seating capacity of 2340 seats per hour, an improvement on the existing 891 service but still not enough in the long term when you consider the trams replace more than one bus service and student numbers at UNSW are increasing. I believe the trams need to be longer for UNSW services, and a 9 car 56m long tram might be a better option for the Central to UNSW service. Alternatively extra trams are purchased so that 2 trams coupled together run UNSW services during peak times. Both solutions require all the tram stop platforms to be lengthened.
Buss frequency 1.67 min 891
40 /hour morning peak
Chassis: Mercedes-Benz O405
Built By: Pressed Metal Corporation
Length: 11.1 metres
Seating Capacity: 43, 47 (buses 3134, 3143, 3237), 49 (buses 3083, 3112, 3113)
Bus seating capacity 43 x 40 = 1720 / hour
Bus standing capacity 12 x 40 = 480 / hour
Chassis: Volvo B12BLEA
Built By: Volgren (Dandenong & Tomago)
Length: 17.965 metres
Fuel: Diesel – Euro 5
Years entered service: 2009 – 2011
2.9 seats / m.
Chassis: Volvo B12BLEA
Built By:Custom Coaches
Length: 17.96 metres
Seating Capacity: 64
Years entered service: 2005-2006
3.5 seats / m.
Length 28.28m Width 2.65m Height 3.388mm Weight 36,000kg Seating Capacity 74 Standing Capacity 103 Total Passengers 223 ; 2.6 seats/m; Assuming 3 min frequency; Tram seating capacity 74 x 20 = 1480 / hour; Tram crush standing capacity 103 x 20 = 2060 / hour
New tram : 80 seats; 270 standing total 300 passengers; 45m; 1.77 seats / m:Tram seating capacity 80 x 20 = 1600 / hour
Using same seat length ratio of Sydney Vairotram 2.6 seats / m; Tram seating = 45 x 2.6 = 117 seats; Capacity = 117 x 20 = 2340 seats / hour; Crush standing capacity 103 x 20 x 45/28.28 = 3277 ”
Terry Flynn is a member of the Australian Railway Historical Society, international railway traveler and regular railway and bus user.
(Photographs of Central Station and George Street in 1920s)