Monday, October 19, 2015

Strong support for light rail reflected in polling

Community support for light rail and Capital Metro Stage One continues to be reflected in two recently conducted polls. One by the ACT Government showing support for light rail at 56% and one by the Canberra Times showing support at 49%.

In the Canberra times poll support for light rail was at 49%, with opposition at 47%. Support for light rail had increased by 5% since the last poll was conducted a year ago.

Tom Mcilroy of the Canberra Times discussing the CT poll results

WIN News reporting on the light rail poll results

In a poll conducted by Piazza Research on behalf of the ACT Government, support for light rail was at 56% with only 34% opposing light rail. The same questions have been asked over several polling periods now, with some trends beginning to occur.

"Support for light rail grew to 67 per cent in August 2015 after participants were told development "was part of a wider plan to connect the whole city with an integrated transport system". 

The report said 43 per cent of participants believed the government was "investing in light rail to upgrade or improve transport options", while 29 per cent thought it was "to reduce or prevent traffic congestion" and 24 per cent believed it was for political reasons. 

Asked if "traffic congestion will be problem for Canberra in the future", 69 per cent said "yes" in August. The result was down from 79 per cent in December 2014. 

Asked if  they would be "more likely to use public transport if it involved a light rail system within easy walking distance or was accessible via other means", 61 per cent of participants said "yes". Thirty per cent of participants said "no" and nine per cent were unsure. "

Full details of the Canberra Times poll can be found here.
Full details of the Piazza research poll can be found here.
Report carried by ABC Online can be found here.

Bizarrely the Canberra Liberals looked at the results and selected the statistics they preferred with MLA Alistair Coe issuing a press release titled 'Majority against light rail despite $50 Million in spending'.

This is not accurate as the survey showed 49% support for light rail, and 47% against.
Demonstrating further difficulty with maths, the Canberra Liberals release continues:

“The poll also shows that the majority of Canberrans would rather see investment in buses over light rail, with 52 percent of Canberrans believing that taxpayers’ money would be better spent on improving the bus network. This is compared to the 41 percent who support building light rail over investing in the bus network.
“The Canberra Liberals believe that investment in our bus network is the best way to improve public transport in Canberra. Buses provide a sensible low-cost option which will improve public transport services for all Canberrans."

The problem with that statement is that the Canberra Times poll shows only 29% support for Bus Rapid Transit as opposed to 49% support for light rail.

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  

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