PASSENGERS are today riding the Gold Coast light rail for the first time, marking a new era of transport for the city.
The first trams left the Gold Coast University Hospital and Broadbeach South station at 5am with a few dozen people on board.
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Passengers have since started to fill the usually empty light rail stations along the tram’s 13km corridor, eager to get on The G.
Those who braved the early morning chill to be the first to experience the Gold Coast trams said the end-to-end journey took just 35 minutes – two minutes faster than previously estimated.
They also received a special commemorative travel ticket.
Trams will continue to run for free every 7.5 minutes until 7pm tonight, when they will run every 15 minutes until midnight.
An estimated 70,000 people are expected to line the streets along the G:link corridor today to celebrate the historic milestone.
Coinciding with the launch, there will be free, family fun entertainment along the entire 13km tramway, including musical performances and market stalls, throughout Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Children will be entertained with appearances by Movie World Looney Toons and fat controllers from Thomas the Tank Engine.
102.9 Hot Tomato will also be broadcasting live from Southport’s Nerang St Station and Victoria Park in Broadbeach from 9am to 1pm.
The official opening ceremony will kick off around 10am, with the cutting of the ribbon at the Gold Coast University Hospital station.
Each tram is capable of carrying 80 seated and 229 standing passengers and able to complete the journey from the Gold Coast University Hospital to Broadbeach South in just 37 minutes, stopping at 16 stations.
Each carriage is air conditioned throughout, and includes dedicated spaces for wheelchairs, prams and surfboards.
The service will start transporting paid passengers from tomorrow, where trams will run on a split schedule; from 5am to 11.50pm, Monday to Thursday and then 24 hours over weekends.
New high frequency bus routes will also be introduced, as well as other improved connections between trains, buses and trams.
This will include the new ‘turn up and go’ system, with bus routes 700, 704, 705, 709, 740, 750 and 777 operating every 15 minutes or better, seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN RIDING THE G
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]1. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Look at the station route to find where you are and where you want to go. Make sure that you go to the correct platform (northbound/southbound). [/signoff]
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]2. BUY AND VALIDATE YOUR TICKETS
You can use your TransLink’s go card when riding the G:Link. The fare on the G:link is the same as the bus fare over the same route. Simply touch on at the reader on the platform at the beginning of your journey and then touch off again at the end when you disembark. Your fare will be automatically deducted from your card balance. Single use paper tickets will also be available for one off travel and can be purchased at light rail stations. Paper tickets can not be purchased once on board the G.[/signoff]
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]3. RIDING THE G
Wait for passengers to exit the tram before getting on board. Once you board the tram, make sure you stand clear of the doors and hold on to a pole or seat back if you’re standing as trams may brake suddenly. The trams also have allocated spaces for passengers using wheelchairs, prams, or mobility aids. Please be sure to make these areas available for people who need them. [/signoff]
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]4. EXITING THE G
The trams have information displays which show the next stops, and also announcements to alert passengers about the next station. Make sure that you are prepared and ready to exit the tram as you pull into the station, to allow time for the other passengers to board. Once off the station, remember to ‘touch off’ with your go card.
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]5. LEAVING THE STATION
All stations are accessible via ramps to provide improved access for passengers with prams, who use mobility aids (wheelchairs, scooters or motorised vehicles), or who find using stairs difficult. There are designated crossing points near each station. When crossing, be sure to watch out for trams coming in both directions and cross when signalled to do so.
[signoff icon=”icon-pin”]LIGHT RAIL STATIONS INCLUDE:
- A shelter, for protection from the weather.
- Passenger information displays, to show when the next tram will arrive.
- Information for your journey, such as local maps and the tram route map.
- Help buttons, so you can speak to our control room staff if you need further help/information regarding your journey.
- Ticket machines to purchase your ticket and to ‘top-up’ your go card. Ticketing will remain under TransLink’s management similar to other public transport modes in south-east Queensland. For information on the go card ticketing system please refer to the TransLink website.
- Ticket validators to activate your ticket. Simply touch on at the start of your journey and touch off at the end of your journey. Your fare is automatically deducted from your card.
- Station signage; including the station name and wayfinding signage to points of interest.
- CCTV which will be monitored by our control centre.
- Benches to sit on.
SOME LIGHT RAIL STATIONS INCLUDE:
- Bus connections
- Kiosks for retailing
- Bicycle storage
- Taxi interchange
- Lifts and escalators
- Retail vending facilities [/signoff]