The Goldy has 42 million reasons to celebrate as its iconic blue and yellow trams cut the cake on five years of connecting the Coast.
Kickstarted with funding from the Bligh Labor Government in 2009, the G:link took its first journey on Sunday 20 July 2014 from Broadbeach South to the hospital, changing how people on the Gold Coast travel forever.
Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said more than 80,000 passengers jumped on board G:link on that day for the very first time.
“Since that first day of service, more than 42 million passengers have been welcomed aboard the ‘G’,” Ms Scanlon said.
“Trams have revolutionised the way we get around.
“G:link has been the star performer of south east Queensland’s public transport, driven patronage growth of 50 per cent across the entire on the Gold Coast public transport network.
“The numbers of people catching trams continue to climb too, with more than 10.74 million passenger trips taken in 2018/19.”
Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the success of light rail on the Gold Coast had made the project something of a transport planning superstar, regularly cited by Australia’s urban planners as an example of how to successfully deliver transformative projects in growing cities.
“The Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest city and one of its most beloved holiday destinations,” Mr Bailey said.
“It’s got a unique character unlike anywhere else and, five years on, its trams are an unmissable part of its identity and one of the things people love about the place.
“Light rail’s success is in many ways the foundation of south east Queensland success in terms of people returning to public transport.
“We’ve seen record patronage in the south east on our buses, trains, ferries and trams, and light rail can take much of the credit for that.”
Mr Bailey said light rail was also a critical project for supporting Gold Coast jobs.
“The Bligh Government was instrumental in getting Stage 1 going, while the Palaszczuk Government built Stage 2 in 18 months so it would be ready to support the Commonwealth Games,” Mr Bailey said.
“The first two stages of construction supported more than 1000 local jobs, and now there about 200 operational jobs associated with running light rail.
“Starting the next stage from Broadbeach to Burleigh is the next milestone we’re working towards, and I want to see that start as soon as a possible so we can bring more jobs to the Coast and get more people on public transport.”
GoldlinQ Chairman John Witheriff said reaching the milestone of five years of operation and seeing the continuing popularity of G:link was very rewarding.
“In 2011 GoldlinQ was awarded the contract to design and construct the Gold Coast light and to operate the system for 15 years,” he said.
“Having reached five years of operations, I’m very proud of the entire G:link team and the exceptionally high levels of services and system performance we have achieved.
“When it comes to light rail the people of the Gold Coast have voted with their feet and close to 900,000 passengers now use the tram on average each month.
“We look forward to continuing to meet the high levels of system performance that the community have come to expect and are excited about the potential for continued expansion of the system.”
To celebrate the five-year anniversary of passenger services, G:link has a range of activities planned on Saturday 20 July, including activities at Broadbeach South Station.
G:link Five-Year Fast Facts:
- Trams have travelled more than 7 million kilometres since testing begun in late 2013
- Each of the 18 trams now travels about 100,000km per year
- More than 42.1 million passenger trips have been taken to date
- The busiest days in the system’s history were during GC2018 with more than 100,000 passengers per day
- During early works and construction of Stage 1, more than $700 million was spent with local businesses and suppliers
- During Stage 2 construction an additional $200 million was spent with local contractors
- The system was also built by locals with an average of 90 per cent of construction workers on both stages coming from the Gold Coast and South East Queensland
- G:link operations currently provides more than 200 full-time local jobs with roles including LRV operator, controller, technicians and customer service officers
- Busiest stations in 2018-19 were Cavill Avenue with (1.67 million boardings) followed by Broadbeach South (1.49 million), Southport (1.1 million), Helensvale (1.09 million) and Gold Coast University Hospital Station (900,000).
- G:link’s most recent passenger satisfaction survey found 79 per cent or passengers were Gold Coast residents with 11 per cent visitors from Australia and 10 per cent international visitors
- Passengers that completed the survey scored G:link 93.6 per cent for reliability, 89 per cent for safety and security and 89.5 per cent for ease of use.