Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gold Coast gets Commonwealth Games - what about public transport?

Gold Coast Skyline
Early in the morning of Saturday 12/11/2011 it was announced that the Crime Gold Coast has won its bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Admittedly, the only competition was in tsunami hit Hambantota, a port city in recently war-torn Sri Lanka.

So where will the events be held? The athletics and opening and closing ceremonies will be held at a train-less and light rail-less 40,000 capacity Carrara stadium. Other venues will include Skilled Park next to Robina Station, Broadbeach, Southport Broadwater Parklands, Runaway Bay, Coomera, Labrador, Village Studios ( next to Movie World), and Hinze Dam. A few events will also be held at Chandler, Belmont, Cairns, and Townsville.

It's pretty obvious from this list (especially Carrara Stadium) that bus transportation will have to form the basis of most public transport for the games. BrizCommuter would hope that the extension of the Gold Coast light rail to Helensvale station will be expedited to allow for easy interchange with the Gold Coast Line. However BrizCommuter is not holding his breath for this. Going by the limited transport information in the games website, it appears that the Gold Coast line will sadly not be extended to the Gold Coast airport in time for the games as bus and taxi have been given as airport access modes. Hilariously, the same web page mentions the tacky Jupiter's Monorail as a public transportation option. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit's website mentions that bus lanes will be added to some Gold Coast roads as a side project (not as a result of the Commonwealth Games bid). The is no mention of capacity enhancements on the Gold Coast Line, which has lacking infrastructure such as the single track section between Coomera and Helensvale, and lack of overtaking opportunities for express services between Beenleigh and Brisbane's CBD. So the number of public transport improvements that can be directly attributed to the Commonwealth Games bid appear to be minimal to non-existent, and it appears that there will be a minimal public transport legacy from the Commonwealth Games.

BrizCommuter is also concerned as to where the money is going to come from for the Commonwealth Games. With a state government deeply in debt, and limited federal funding available, many urgently required public transport projects in SE Queensland have been dropped, delayed, or quietly forgotten about in recent years. Lets hope that funding for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 will not take yet more money away from SE Queensland's ailing public transport system, underfunded hospitals, police force, and education system.

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