Local traffic crisis highlighted by TEDC
By ED SOUTHORN
THE Tweed and southern Gold Coast traffic crisis has been highlighted in road use statistical forecasts analysed by the Tweed Economic Development Corporation, reinforcing the urgent need for construction of the Tugun Bypass.
Over the next 10 years, the 40,000 vehicles currently crossing the NSW/Qld border opposite Gold Coast Airport each day will increase dramatically in line with booming population growth, according to the TEDC's latest newsletter.
The looming traffic crisis is highlighted in truck movement forecasts, with the number of heavy freight trucks using the Pacific Highway in northern NSW and southern Queensland expected to double by 2015.
Since the opening of the Chinderah to Yelgun freeway, 70 per cent of all heavy trucks have opted to use the Pacific Highway rather than inland interstate routes, the TEDC report says.
The report also reveals taxi services to the Tweed from the airport are inadequate to meet demand and unable to effectively support the Tweed tourism industry.
As well, elderly patients at John Flynn Hospital needing assisted transport are unable to use an inadequate hourly bus service, according to the report.
The report says: "Gold Coast Taxis have a fleet of 255 vehicles, restricted to "Service Contract Areas". That means they can deliver outside a service contract area but can't pick up outside the area.
"This has serious implications for Gold Coast Airport passengers with a Tweed destination, because Service Contract Areas stop at the border.
"Tweed Heads has a taxi fleet of 17 vehicles (with) two ranks at the airport...due to limited availability of taxis the (Tweed fleet) prefers Gold Coast taxis to service the Tweed.
"How many passengers arriving at Gold Coast Airport have a Tweed destination and how many take a Gold Coast taxi to a Tweed destination and at what cost?
"There are on average 750 cross border journeys undertaken each day on Surfside Buslines. As well as these, there are many more services that interconnect to the Gold Coast and Tweed Shire.
"Almost 9000 residents leave Tweed Shire each day to work in south-east Queensland. The Tugun Bypass is a vital transport link and construction is long overdue."