It’s a good question. Certainly ‘bus rapid transit’ for the Gungahlin to the City corridor would be a good project and an improvement on the current situation. It also has a cost advantage, likely saving several hundred million dollars.
But, a bus rapid transit wouldn’t deliver as many benefits, or the same type of benefits, as light rail. These additional benefits help offset the higher capital cost. Light rail historically attracts more passengers than buses. This is very important for maximising the benefits of public transport project, such as mitigating congestion. Light rail has lower noise, vibration and pollution, and is also more comfortable than buses. As an electric system, light rail is compatible with a renewable energy future; some overseas light rail systems already run entirely on renewable energy. Light rail has more capacity, so it uses less space per passenger. This is very valuable in a growing and busy urban environment like Northbourne Avenue and Civic. Light rail is also much better at attracting quality urban renewal, along with the economic benefits that brings.