A Western Sydney business leader has called on the State Government to be more transparent about the Metro West railway, as a new report shows that more jobs will be created in Sydney’s west if the route is as short as possible.
The report — commissioned by the Sydney Business Chamber and Committee for Sydney — examined how jobs and housing would be affected by adding more stops to the Metro West Route.
It looked at three different scenarios for the underground rail route — one with six stops that would take 15 minutes from the CBD to Parramatta; one with 10 stops that would take 20 minutes and one with 13 stops that would take 25 minutes.
There was an increase in jobs under every scenario, but if the journey was quicker more jobs would end up in the city’s west.
In the 15-minute scenario, 70,000 additional jobs would be created in Westmead and 45,000 in Parramatta.
But in the 25 minutes scenario, only 61,000 jobs would be created in Westmead and 32,000 in Parramatta.
“There’s already quite a lot of jobs in [the east] and if we’re serious about rebalancing the city and moving jobs westward in our city — closer to where a lot of Sydneysiders live — we need to be looking at a faster journey that’s likely going to deliver more jobs for western Sydney,” Committee for Sydney director of policy Eamon Waterford said.
But Christopher Brown from the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue said travel time was not the most important factor when designing the railway.
“Frequency, quality of service, station interface — they’re the things that will drive patronage. Not an extra five minutes to be frank,” Mr Brown said.
Sydney Business Chamber Western Sydney director David Borger said the report was commissioned so that the community would be fully informed about the benefits and disadvantages of having more stations on the Metro West route.
The Government was not providing such information, Mr Borger said.
“We need a community debate, people are entitled to have their say,” he said.
“Institutions, companies [and] also citizens are entitled to have their say, but they can only do that if they’re informed and we can’t be informed in the Government keeps all its documents under lock and key,” he said.
Mr Borger said “tens of millions of dollars” worth of economic, engineering and transport-related studies existed but had not been released.
“This just does not seem to be consistent with modern governance … I think that’s the wrong strategy,” he said.
Mr Waterford said the report also found that areas with a station would see a greater increase in housing.
“You lose out on additional housing uplift if you don’t put a station in a location,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the University of Sydney agreed.
“A Camperdown station would not only support the major hospital and two world-class universities that exist in this region but the many start-ups recently established in the area,” she said.
“We believe that staff, students and visitors need improved public transport options to our campuses and have been having productive conversations about the best way to achieve that outcome.”
The university’s total operating revenues were now more than $2 billion, with about 10,000 staff and 65,000 students, she said.
“We believe supporting this continued growth through improved public transport infrastructure is firmly in the interest of the citizens of NSW.”
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a summary of the business case for the Metro West would be released when it was complete.
For now Mr Constance said the Government was looking at a 10 station option.
“Our preference is to have a travel time [of] around 20 minutes,” he said.
“We will be working with the Sydney Metro Team on the best location, but it’s got to be informed by the geo-tech drilling work which is underway at this time.”