Wanna take the tram east?

‘Well you might have to get off and walk says State Government’

THE State Government has failed to reveal how tram passengers will reach the East End via its new $80 million North Tce extension amid criticism the project is a “ribbon cutting” exercise before next year’s state election.

More than three weeks after the Sunday Mail asked the Transport Minister’s office how passengers would access the East End via the new network they are yet to provide answers.

A State Parliament public works committee on the ADELink project concluded that “passengers wishing to connect to the East End will need to change trams either via walking through Rundle Mall to the Gawler Place station, or changing at the Adelaide Railway Station platform”.

This is because trams will not turn right from King William St into North Tce due to height differences on each roadside and its potential to impact traffic flow.

In a statement, the minister’s office did not rule out that passengers would have to change trams, but does not believe this will be an inconvenience because it is commonplace in cities with extensive tram networks, like Melbourne.

A government spokeswoman said the extension would “provide a frequent and reliable link” between the Riverbank’s precincts.

“This extension will provide frequent services between the East End and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, SAHMRI, Adelaide Railway Station, Adelaide Convention Centre, the new Adelaide Festival Plaza, the Entertainment Centre and Glenelg.”

The government failed to answer questions on how frequent the trams would be, if any timetable modelling had been conducted or tram routes finalised, saying details would be provided “before services commence next year”.

The lack of planning has prompted concerns over how people with disabilities will navigate the new network.

Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent said while all trams are accessible for people with mobility aids – with the help of the tram driver – not all tram stops are.

“It’s important that people with disabilities are included and consulted at the initial planning stages – not after the track is laid,” she said.

Opposition transport spokesman David Pisoni said it was clear there had been little planning for the project because “this idea came too late to the department from cabinet”.