Plans to terminate redundant monorail in Sydney CBD
26/03/2012 - The NSW government's plan to pull down Sydney's controversial monorail to make way for a development in Darling Harbour has been given a big tick of approval.
The NSW government has bought Metro Transport Sydney (MTS) for $19.8 million so it can have control over the monorail and light rail networks.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said it gave the government greater flexibility when it comes to planning future public transport, particularly proposed extensions to the light rail network.
"It means our options have increased in relation to light rail," she told reporters in Sydney.
Tearing down the monorail will also remove any constraints on the proposed new convention centre development in Darling Harbour, which is expected to be completed by 2015-16.
"The monorail's been around for 20 years, and many argue that its use-by date has arrived, and that is certainly the government's position," Berejiklian said.
The monorail, which came into service in 1988, could be pulled down in two to three years, but the government won't know for another 12 to 18 months the exact date.
O'Farrell said the monorail struggled right from the start, with patronage figures in its first two years half that predicted by the Unsworth Labor government.
"The real problem with the monorail I think for most Sydneysiders is that it doesn't actually go anywhere that you want to go," he said.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the move was the sort of "big, bold transport project" the people of NSW had been waiting for.
"Removal of the ugly and intrusive monorail is also the right next step," she said.
"Replacing it with efficient and effective light rail will improve transport access in central Sydney."
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief Brendan Lyon said few people would miss the monorail.
"It is an analogue mode in a digital world and is in the way of a range of important projects like Sydney's new convention centre," Lyon said in a statement.
The Sydney Business Chamber praised the monorail's removal, saying one of its "key restraints" was its isolation from the rest of the transport network.
But opposition leader John Robertson accused the government of being more interested in tearing down public transport than in investing in new projects.
"What we see is someone who wants to pull something down but he is doing nothing about actually improving congestion, improving travel times for people right across Sydney and NSW," he said.