I told you so …
“However, according to the numbers contained in the EIS and Appendices the widening of the M4 will actually reduce the total amount of traffic in the corridor. The government acknowledges that there will be an increase in traffic on Parramatta Rd as motorists compare the toll to their Value of Travel Time Savings (VTTS) and find it to be too high. However the government does not mention the fact that there will be a total reduction in traffic within the corridor as discretionary or impulse trips are deferred or redirected to other transport modes like public transport.”
Read the full NoW PT submission on the M4 widening (PDF).
Excerpts from the submission:
Tolls and Patronage
On 16 February 2010, the concession on the M4 Motorway expired and ownership was transferred from Statewide Roads to the NSW Government. The toll on the M4 Motorway was removed at this time. Immediately prior to its removal, the motorway toll was $2.75 for cars and $6.60 for trucks [excluding the Cash-Back program]. ([EIS] – Appendix D – Page 91)
From the RTA’s assessment there was a 500 vehicle drop in traffic on Parramatta Road in the four hours of the morning and a 1500 vehicle increase in vehicles on the M4 (Western Expressway). This represents an induced traffic effect of over one thousand vehicles. The effect is evident by the immediate visible increase in road congestion and reduction in travel speeds experience on Sydney’s roads. After the toll was removed, the average monthly rail patronage started to slide because of the significantly reduced patronage caused by mode shift to private vehicles. With each month, the new reduced baseline pulled the twelve month rail patronage average lower.
You can see quite clearly on the below graph where the slower timetables and removal of the toll on the Western Expressway have significantly reduced the patronage on the Western Line. However you can also see that the trend is holding for over 150% growth (300,000 passengers a month) above the 2001 figures.