ELLENBROOK residents have reacted with scepticism to the State Government’s $49 million Budget allocation last week for a rapid transit bus line.
Construction will start before the end of the year.
The plan includes a 9km dedicated bus lane from the Ellenbrook town centre on Lord Street to Marshall Street in Dayton for a WA first in Rapid Transit buses.
Two sections of a single carriageway road would be built along Lord Street, as well as a 2km stretch between Gnangara Road and Park Street in Whiteman, plus a 2.8km stretch between Youle-Dean and Marshall roads. Another 700m of dual carriageway road would be built to link to Reid Highway.
The government plans to build bus stations at the Ellenbrook town centre and on Gnangara Road and Marshall Road.
Four new bus routes would be established to take commuters to Midland, Bassendean and Morley.
Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban said the news was exciting for the people of Ellenbrook and its surrounds.
“The Bus Rapid Transit is the first of its kind. It will cut congestion on Lord Street as cars and buses will be separated,” he said.
“This will make getting to and from Ellenbrook 10 minutes quicker.”
Residents on the Advocate’s Facebook page linked the bus line announcement to the next State election.
“Amazing how this pops up again with the election looming. Don’t be fooled,” Ian Hutchinson said.
“We will see what happens,” Linda Ward said.
“It’s election time again,” Sharon Worthington said.
“Saving 10 minutes off the journey,” Paul Doubleu said.
“Seriously, if I were to catch public transport to work, to get to work for 7am I need to leave at 5.14am.”
Opposition transport spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said the Bus Rapid Transit would create significant congestion in the area.
“The Liberals’ plan will just push congestion further south,” she said.
“After Marshall Road the buses mix with existing traffic.
“It’s simply not the type of transport that’s needed in these growing areas.”
Mr Alban said “there could not possibly be a single negative”.
“My understanding is buses would be in a separate lane,” he said.
“There would be no interaction with cars. Bridges and underpasses will be put in at Gnangara Road, Park Street and Youle-Dean Road to ensure continuous travel.”
“It is a great result for the Ellenbrook community, as well as the suburbs that rely on the Lord Street corridor as a vital access route to Midland, Bassendean and Morley.”
An extra 400 parking bays would be built to encourage the use of the Bus Rapid Transit.
“Three hundred of these bays will be provided at the Gnangara Road station,” Mr Alban said.
“The remaining 100 will be provided at the Marshall Road station.”
Ms Saffioti said building car bays is proof a train line to Ellenbrook is needed.
“Three hundred car bays mean they are expecting a lot of patronage,” she said.
“If this was a car park on the Midland line, it would be the third biggest after Midland and Bassendean.
“(The Liberals’) arguments about not needing a train line are completely false.”
Mr Alban said building a train line to Bassendean was not the answer.
“I’ve said this before, but the people of Ellenbrook go in all different directions,” he said.
“So it makes sense to divide the buses up to where people want to go.
“Most people – 75 per cent – still want to go in their cars.
“Less than 10 per cent of Ellenbrook’s population work in the CBD.
“The figure in between use the bus.”
City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright welcomed the announcement.
“People in the City of Swan have waited a long time for this,” he said.
“Hearing a firm dollar commitment to the project gives those who live, work and commute to Ellenbrook daily, some belief that they are being listened to.
“The infrastructure is however in urgent need, and we hope the State Government will make this project a priority.”
$340 million of the budget was allocated for other roads in the region, including the Swan Valley Bypass and Tonkin Highway upgrades.
Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin was also flagged for refurbishment.
The Lord Street upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Swan Hills MLA announces plans for bus route
Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban has announced his plans for a bus route to run from Ellenbrook to Joondalup.
Mr Alban said he would lobby for a bus route to run along Gnangara Road once it was completed.
“There is a surplus of buses running empty in Ellenbrook,” Mr Alban said.
“People want to go to Midland, Bassendean and Morley, but they need to be able to get to Joondalup as well.
“This is something we will work on getting underway.”