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70% of Canberrans drive to work

By 19 June 2008 55

ABC online http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/19/2279226.htm reports the findings of a AAMI survey in wich 70% of Canberrans drive to work.  I expect the following extract will be used by various idealists in the ACT Government (hi John Hargreaves) to push for more punitive revenue raising measures to get more bums (literally and figuritively) onto ACTION buses:

 The survey also found public transport use has increased by 3 per cent but is used by just 10 per cent of commuters. The survey went on to say: Mr Crommie says nearly half of commuters surveyed indicated that public transport in Canberra is unreliable.”One third says that it takes too long to get to their destination,” he said. “And a similar number, 35 per cent, said that they can’t use public transport because it’s not available where they live, work or go to school.”


Well, there’s your problem.  Buses or light rail might be an utopian ideal for the green leaning hand wringers but when you deviate from the norm, say if you are a single parent with a primary school child, it just ISN’T an option.   My scenario:  my child’s school is 10 minutes drive from home and my work is another 5 minutes away.  So I can drop him to the door shortly before scool starts and pick him up from after school care in the evening then be home within a matter of minutes.  By bus in the morning, we would need to be on an 7.30 bus to Woden that gets in at 8.10.  Although I could stroll off to work and be in air conditioned comfort within 5 minutes, he would then have a 15 minute layover in the cold, scummy interchange before catching his 8.25 bus to the school, arriving at 8.35 meaning he is outside for another 25 minutes before the bell rings.  So that’s an hour and a half from our front door to the time he gets in the classroom (compared to 10 minutes by car).   Hometime?  Well, after 3 pm either he catches a bus to get home alone (again, with interchange layovers etc) at 4.35pm or if he stays at after school care for me to pick him up (note – I need to sign him out of care, he can’t do it himself) I would need to bus it to his school at the end of work, we go back to the interchange, then get home probably 7 ish.  That’s a l-o-n-g day for a child. And it doesn’t take into account longer days for sports training etc.  Or if he falls sick through the day. 

As a singleton I could cope with a 40 minute bus ride each way although I’d always be frustrated at losing an hour of my day just to be doing “the right thing”.  But I really get the irrits at tsk-tsking from this tin-pot local gummint or the greenies for the heanous crime of using my own small car (having paid the same amount of rego each year whether I do 3,000 km or 30,000 km a year) rather than the People’s Glorious Mass Transit Solution. Bah.

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55 Responses to 70% of Canberrans drive to work
#1
Hamilton1:33 pm, 19 Jun 08

Public transport – eeeeew! It will cost you a fortune in penecillin shots!!

#2
peterh1:36 pm, 19 Jun 08

or as I affectionately call it, “the human zoo”

best place to see all walks of life, and possibly catch all manner of diseases. worse than a childcare centre.

#3
gun street girl1:41 pm, 19 Jun 08

Buses can be fine if you work 9-5 (and live in an area that is serviced by buses). Try catching a bus to and from work when you start before 7am, and finish beyond 8pm. It goes without saying that shift workers can’t use the service, either.

#4
Albigeois1:45 pm, 19 Jun 08

I would LOVE to be able to catch the bus to work more often, but in Canberra the public transport system is just clearly inferior to driving.

I have a choice of:
1. 55 minutes door to door via bus, meandering through the inner south before finally heading across the lake, through Russell and onto Civic.
2. 15 minutes door to door in the car, paying $7.50 to park about 3 minutes from work

Clearly, option 2 is the preferred option, even with the increased cost. I just don’t have the TIME in the day to waste on nearly 2 hours commuting!

And then don’t get me started on the unreliability of buses arriving early or not at all. Staying northside a little over a week ago, I was aiming to catch the 7.17am number 59 with my friend. At 7.30 we called Action, only to be told there was no such bus. No such bus?!?! CODSWALLOP! It’s on the timetable, my friend had caught it EVERY day that week, and clearly others were under the impression it existed because there were a good ten people at the bus stop with us!!

And people wonder why we drive? I don’t even have kids to worry about and I only use the bus system if I absolutely can’t avoid it.

#5
PM1:47 pm, 19 Jun 08

Light rail and buses are not meant to cater for everybody; only those for whom it is appropriate. Nobody wants to remove roads or parking, and the article shouldn’t be a guilt-trip.

The issue for me is that when people don’t feel as though they have a public transport choice they drive instead ie clogging up roads for everyone. There should be a public transport choice.

#6
Deadmandrinking2:04 pm, 19 Jun 08

I agree Gun Street Girl. If they really want to fix action’s services, I think they should have a look at providing later night services and early morning services. Would have been an immense help for me when I did night shifts.

Albegois, was that the old ’34′ service you were catching (now the ’3′)? I find that route particularly annoying. But there are ways around it for most I think, catch any bus that goes to the nearest town center and you’re sweet.

#7
dalryk2:10 pm, 19 Jun 08

I see things as being in somewhat of a transition phase at the moment.

Apparently, more people are electing to take public transport because of the cost of petrol (and parking). But while it’s a cheaper option, most people recognise that it’s also a more shitty option due to timing issues, meandering routes, having to deal with other humans, etc.

Still, as driving gets more expensive, we should expect more people to go down the public transport route, even with its limitations. And this could be the key, insofar as more people using the service means it becomes economical to run more services, meaning there are less problems meaning more people use the service…

Maybe, just maybe, we might even get enough people to make the great rail dream a viable option?

#8
Clown Killer2:11 pm, 19 Jun 08

I drive. If I get the chance not to drive, I’ll take my bike, leave early and swing by Mt Stromlo on the way to the office.

More effective public transport sounds fine but lets not get carried away – when we start comparing and looking at what others have done, lets looks at other cities around the same size – Woolongong, Newcastle, Geelong, etc rather than Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

#9
Sammy2:14 pm, 19 Jun 08

Hmm, lets see. I need to get to the ANU by 11am from Chisholm.

By bus: leave home at 9:45am to walk to the Chisholm shops to catch a bus at 10am that arrives in Woden at 10:27am. Then onto the intertown service leaving Woden at 10:33am arriving in the city at 10:49am. Then a brisk walk to the ANU arriving at around 11am.

By car: leave home at 10:40am arriving at the ANU at 11am. Net benefit: 55 minutes. Agreed I have to pay for parking, but as a full-time student I get my own parking space for $297 per year.

I know which option i’d choose (and do choose).

#10
green_frogs_go_pop2:15 pm, 19 Jun 08

10 minute drive, or a half hour bus trip to school?

I know which one i’d choose.

(not to mention, bus means i have to be on a 8:05 service to get to school on time, or leave home at around 8:30 or so. Hmm. Just enough time to have a second cup of coffee, me thinks.)

And work..i finish at 10pm most nights..its just a joke.

#11
astrojax2:18 pm, 19 Jun 08

i rekkun it is incumbent on all canberrans to move to where they can thencatch public transport – why should public transport come to you?

eh? oh, that’s the idea? damn…

what we need, though, is yes better public tramsport, but better use of it. of course there will be a sizeable proportion of people for whom it isn’t a [very] viable option, but there are shirtloads of people who could use it but drive.

at least we should also and urgently have some co-ordinated car pooling, possibly facilitated by the gov’t.

and how hard would it be to have the cab co.s have some system that tells them – through early bookings (which should be encouraged) – when people want to go to similar destinations along similar routes and service these with mini-bus or similar vehicles?

anyway, i cycle to work in the main, so’s good for me…

#12
Albigeois2:21 pm, 19 Jun 08

Deadmandrinking, nearly right – I was talking about either the 35 or the 38 (now the 5 and 6 more or less)…

I’ve actually down the calculation for getting the bus in the wrong direction to Woden and then getting an intertown into civic – almost exactly the same amount of time (about 5 mins more). That just says something I can’t quite enunciate about the ridiculous-ness of the route.

#13
vg2:29 pm, 19 Jun 08

gun street girl said :

Buses can be fine if you work 9-5 (and live in an area that is serviced by buses). Try catching a bus to and from work when you start before 7am, and finish beyond 8pm. It goes without saying that shift workers can’t use the service, either.

Bollocks. I work 24/7 shifts and catch the bus all the time. Takes a smidgin of planning but that’s it.

#14
Deadmandrinking2:34 pm, 19 Jun 08

It can be annoying when you finish or start any time between midnight and 6am, VG.

#15
Deadmandrinking2:37 pm, 19 Jun 08

Yes, Albegeois, some of them tend to cover a little too much area. I have the 3 and the 6 (33) near my house. The 6 is great, it gets me to civic in a short period of time no worries (I’m about to catch it soon as a matter of fact). The 3 is not so great, in fact, sometimes I just go ‘f-k it’ and walk to civic or to Barry Drive depending on where I want to go.

#16
Danman2:37 pm, 19 Jun 08

VG – I work in civic and start work between 0700 and 0745.
I have 2 busses at my disposal – And when they are running less than 10 minutes late a bus at 0714 gets me to work at 0800 that is full by my stop and then another bus at 0730 that is chockers and gets me to work at 0815.

Anything else is too late for my purposes.

In the situation I am in, I can drive to work on my own accord – taking 15 minutes, outside of peak periods and park free all day. Where then is the inspiration to utilise services of action.

Their new services are a crock for us Ngunnawalites – no changes what so ever…

If petrol gets any more expensive, I am considering (in the warmer months) riding my bicycle (non recumbent and on bike pathes) to work – such is my lack of trust loyalty etc for action.

#17
Deadmandrinking2:42 pm, 19 Jun 08

Danman, bikes are one good way for getting around the city. They keep you fit too. I’ve got to get my bloody one fixed sometime soon.

#18
Danman2:46 pm, 19 Jun 08

Yeah I regularluy ride from Ngunnawal to Weston Creek Area, but not sure if I wanna take the plunge into riding to work yet – as I am not a fan of work showers and being sweaty when I get to work..

#19
Deadmandrinking2:48 pm, 19 Jun 08

That’s a fair ride, man. Which way do you go? Through Belco and Stromlo or down through the city and the lake and stuff?

#20
Danman2:57 pm, 19 Jun 08

From Ngunnawal its a 2 hr dawdle.

I go down gundaroo rd – up gunghalin drive, under barton hwy, along bottom of north lyneham and then right into lyneham and bik epath it all the way down to lyneham, oconnor, turner etc, down clunies ross street around lake, and over scrivner dam – right at the ntersection and down teh hill over the rickety bridge down the back of teh equestrian centre and RSPCA then I am in weston CK. If I am going to duffy I turn right past the archery club and then onto scrivener street, if I want Lyons I go straight after scrivner and through curtin.

Bike computer says ~30km – yet to do it with my gps – but that shoul dbe more accurate methinks.

#21
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_3:12 pm, 19 Jun 08

I car pool every day – with my wife and son. Where we live (Jerrabomberra) it takes an hour and half and 9 bucks EACH WAY to get from home to work and back.

Given that we use 1 (small) car most days to drop off the boy at care and get the two of us to work, plus the reverse to get home, it’s laughable that we would even consider buses. Plus I get to park for free!

I agree with the other opinions here that say we need to get public transport sorted, rather than just trying to penalise drivers.

#22
Hamilton3:47 pm, 19 Jun 08

VY Berlina – what sort of small car do you have? – No doubt it’s some little clown car like a matisz!!

#23
Thumper3:51 pm, 19 Jun 08

Um, I think VY’s name gives away the car he drives…

Well, maybe hints at it at least..

A little bit…

#24
Thumper3:51 pm, 19 Jun 08

But I could be wrong…

#25
Hamilton3:53 pm, 19 Jun 08

Thumper – What does that say about your name – D!ck Thumper perhaps?

#26
Thumper3:56 pm, 19 Jun 08

Wow, that was good!

Any other exceptionally deep things to say sunshine?

#27
Special G3:56 pm, 19 Jun 08

Problem is CAnberra has designated Town centres. What gubmint needs to do is open up large carparks in the town centres and then set up good routes to the other town centres with large volumes of buses/light rail system whatever. Then make the parking in the town centres cheap with an associated bus/rail tickets. This would not stop people driving although may make people take a short trip to the town centre then use public transport for the rest of the way.

The way Canberra is designed does not lend itself well to effective public transport.

#28
Danman3:57 pm, 19 Jun 08

I would think, being that thumper is a muso – he is either a roadie or a bass player :)

#29
aronde3:57 pm, 19 Jun 08

Deadmandrinking said :

Danman, bikes are one good way for getting around the city. They keep you fit too.

grab yourself one of these – http://www.psbikes.com.au/home.html

have seen a couple around town – look good for kids and groceries and fitness!

#30
astrojax4:01 pm, 19 Jun 08

or thumper is actually a rabbit. with a nice fluffy tail. clever rabbit, but…

can rabbits drive?

(was in a band once; the drummer’s psuedonym for an article in the paper on us was the inventive ‘tom beater’…)

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