Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has continued to hammer Labor’s key election pitch to improve public transport, today promising buy 144 new rail cars worth $590 million for its Metronet plan.

The election commitment would also pay for the construction of a new train depot, he said.

The 144 new generation rail cars would be the equivalent of 48 three-car train sets, and would be on top of the 22 three-car sets already ordered by the Barnett Government.

The Opposition has previously said the $3.8 billion it intends to spend on Metronet’s five “priority” projects would include rail cars.

“Poor planning for the future by the Barnett Government has resulted in an overcrowded rail network,” Mr McGowan said.

“This overcrowding is the direct result of bad decisions by the Barnett Government in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to reject the advice of the Public Transport Authority that new trains needed to be ordered.

“In the meantime, Perth’s rail network and roads have grown even more congested.

“WA Labor, if elected, will immediately start the process of ordering another 144 railcars to be delivered as part of the METRONET expansion.”

Mr McGowan said Labor would order new trains annually to get ahead of passenger growth.

“Over the past eight years, the number of people boarding Perth trains has doubled, from 31.1million to 63million, according to the PTA,” he said.

“The new trains will be new generation railcars, with state-of-the art technology and facilities.

“This will include driver-supervised automatic train operation, leading edge brake technology and energy efficient lighting, as well as high-quality air-conditioning and passenger information systems.

“WA Labor will also ensure that all new generation rail cars have high-level security, with CCTVs, and free Wi-Fi services.”

Mr McGowan said trains bought for Labor’s $731.5 million proposed airport spur line would have extra luggage space for travellers.

The West Australian

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