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ACTION network changes for 2012

By 22 March 2012 43

bus interchange

Our bus network has announced their tweaks to the system for this year.

The new bus network is expected to commence on Monday 28 May 2012. All timetables will change as a result of the new network. Timetables are currently being updated and will be available two weeks prior to the commencement of the new network from the ACTION website, MyWay Centres, Woden and Tuggeranong Bus Stations and Canberra Connect Shopfronts.

The new network, Network 12, is the first step along the way to delivering the improvements outlined in the Transport for Canberra Strategy. This round of changes will improve the current network and further planning is underway for a more extensive review.

The Greens have expressed some pleasure with the direction this is going.

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43 Responses to ACTION network changes for 2012
#1
Dilandach10:31 am, 22 Mar 12

What I wouldn’t give for a decent service out to fairbairn and back.

#2
KB197111:13 am, 22 Mar 12

Kewl, Monday the 28th, ride the bike.

The last timetable change was a clusterf%#k, not so much as Actions fault but there was an extraordinarly amount of people who just didnt know about it despite it being advertise extensively.

#3
bd8412:45 pm, 22 Mar 12

Network 12, recycle the crap network 11 and add in a few redirections that overall means it’s really just as crap as the networks of the last 20 years.

Until they rip the current network up and start again from scratch, there will be no incentive to use the service. I’m sure they will keep pumping out routes that go nowhere quickly in future years too.

#4
johnboy12:48 pm, 22 Mar 12

if only they would go quickly!

#5
madamcholet1:32 pm, 22 Mar 12

Last week, after leaving work slightly later, I accidentally boarded the wrong bus. I have to admit that with my normal bus I tend to follow my other bus compatriots and take no notice of what number it is. Because I was without my bus compatriots and a bus turned up saying it went to my suburb I got on – I thought it was the later version of my normal chauffer driven vehicle that I was waiting for – happened to come at exactly the right time. I DID ask the driver if he went down the Monaro Highway and he said that although it was the first time he had done the run, he definitely thought he would be going this way – he even picked up a sheet that looked like the route.

Lo and behold, after following my usual bus’ direction, we veered off and went towards Woden. No worries I thought, travelling through Woden is ok and proceeded to check my trusty smartphone for what bus I might actually be on. Turns out I was on one that was going to take 35 minutes longer to get to my normal destination than the one I had planned to get on.

Apart from being annoyed with myself for not checking properly and with the driver for giving me a bum steer, I was totally amazed that anyone actually catches this extraordinary bus. I could not describe the higgledy-piggledy journey that we took. It was truly bizarre. and the strange thing was that there were people on the bus from the start who also got off at my stop or later who could have gotten the much more efficient bus I should have taken – which is still a 45 minute trip at least.

So that’s what I see as the problem. In my area, there are efficient buses such as the one I get twice a week, and there are vastly inefficient buses. It has got to be admitted that the buses in Canberra can’t be all things to all people. Bus stops should be located on major roads and not up the back of a curly wurly street that is going to add 10 minutes to everyone’s trip. and if they have to continue these strange bus routes, then for heavens sake, just make them connectors to places like Tuggers, Woden, City and Belco – not going all the way up to Belco in one trip. But make those connections run very frequently using midi buses so they are more efficient and can get around the streets better. The bus I ended up on was by no means even near full, where as the one I normally get is quite full by the t ime it gets to Russell.

The way Canberra is laid out is just not conducive to running services like the one I was on. I left Sydney because I thought I was spending too much of my time stuck on a bus to go 12 kilometres each way. I’m shocked to know that some commuters in Canberra are spending over an hour one way to get to or from work.

They could also very much consider actually producing new buses rather than just talking about producing them. The old buses that I have to travel on (as the school kides seem to get the new ones in my area), are atrocious – if the heating is on you can hardly breath and if someone opens a window you get blown away if you are at the back of the bus – might sound like just a whinge, but decently maintained buses that get people to their destinations efficiently will be an attraction.

#6
Primal2:06 pm, 22 Mar 12

madamcholet said :

Bus stops should be located on major roads and not up the back of a curly wurly street that is going to add 10 minutes to everyone’s trip. and if they have to continue these strange bus routes, then for heavens sake, just make them connectors to places like Tuggers, Woden, City and Belco – not going all the way up to Belco in one trip.

Amen to that and the rest. There’s a bus that goes past my place that goes from Tuggeranong to Woden… via Theodore.

Any bus that wanders off into the suburbs should be focused on getting people in and out of the nearest town centre or other major hub (Kippax, Erindale, etc.).

#7
Keijidosha3:09 pm, 22 Mar 12

Primal said :

Any bus that wanders off into the suburbs should be focused on getting people in and out of the nearest town centre or other major hub (Kippax, Erindale, etc.).

We had a feeder/trunk network like that in place during the 90′s. ACTION switched to the current ‘rapid’ one-bus system after feedback suggested patrons would prefer to sit on one bus for an entire journey rather than deal with layovers in town centres.

What we currently have is not ideal, but in my experience ACTION refuse to even acknowledge public suggestions on how it might be improved.

#8
puggy3:32 pm, 22 Mar 12

Keijidosha said :

We had a feeder/trunk network like that in place during the 90′s. ACTION switched to the current ‘rapid’ one-bus system after feedback suggested patrons would prefer to sit on one bus for an entire journey rather than deal with layovers in town centres.

This is an honest question – and I understand the experience can vary wildly depending on where you live – but how can you say the current system doesn’t have a trunk network? The 300 series buses (the Blue Line) run from Belco, through Civic, Woden and Tuggeranong in the most direct manner possible. Each 3xx bus then veers off into different suburbs after each end. You can get from Banks to Belconnen on the one bus. There is also the Red Rapid route for Gungahlin folk.

Primal said :

Amen to that and the rest. There’s a bus that goes past my place that goes from Tuggeranong to Woden… via Theodore.

Uh.. yeah… and there’s are also a bus that leaves every 5 minutes that will go from Tuggeranong to Woden via Athlon i.e.directly. The bus that goes through Theodore isn’t so you can get from Tuggerenong to Woden, it’s so Theodore people can get to Tuggeranong or Woden.

I know it’s a pretty bad system overall, but it ain’t as bad as many people think. Take some time and look at the network map.

#9
damien haas3:35 pm, 22 Mar 12

Now ive heard it all, a person who doesnt bother to check what bus they are getting on, blames the bus driver, and ACTION, and everyone but herself for her trip taking too long!

Keijidosha said :

What we currently have is not ideal, but in my experience ACTION refuse to even acknowledge public suggestions on how it might be improved.

Timetabling and route design are no longer an ACTION responsibility – the act gov have taken these functions back and placed them in TAMS.

Not only do they ignore suggestions and feedback from the public, they also ignore feedback from their own drivers. I know several drivers who provided quite detailed suggestions on how to improve services in Gungahlin. Listened to and fobbed off.

You have to understand how the actgov collects feedback: ‘First i make a decision, then I consult’. That is a direct quote from Katy Gallagher from a firsthand source.

While the increase in frequency on the main transport corridors is welcome, there really needs to be a focus on improving local services.

Im also curious to see how the weekend services operate. Considering some buses simply dont turn up for various reasons, perhaps TAMS have come up with some way to magic up extra drivers who deign to work weekends.

Id also like to see the peak hour extended to at least 7PM.

#10
geetee3:46 pm, 22 Mar 12

Everytime Action announces ‘improvements’ to bus services, I shudder to think of the devil in the detail they will eventually release..

The current overview of changes to Weston Creek services hardly makes sense at all..

And I am still waiting for them to keep their promise (from 2010 – or perhaps even earlier) that my suburb’s M-F service would ‘shortly’ be extended to weekends..

#11
ramblingted3:49 pm, 22 Mar 12

There’s a tram stop 20 metres from my front door which gets me to the middle of the city in 6 minutes…one of the reasons I moved to Melbourne :)

#12
geetee3:50 pm, 22 Mar 12

Oh – and everytime the Greens claim responsibility for something – I also shudder..

#13
madamcholet3:55 pm, 22 Mar 12

damien haas said :

Now ive heard it all, a person who doesnt bother to check what bus they are getting on, blames the bus driver, and ACTION, and everyone but herself for her trip taking too long!

Keijidosha said :

The driver did tell me he was going a different way to the way we actually went – yes my mistake with the number, but you would have thought the driver would know the names of the roads he was going on – especially roads such as THE MONARO HIGHWAY & ADELAIDE AVENUE – pretty major ones.

Apart from diverting through Woden it was almost a duplicate of my trip but half an hour longer – with strange detours through god knows what streets to let off about two people – half an hour to do that. It just can’t be financially viable to run services that try to go everywhere.

The best bus route I have ever travelled in Canberra is the 111 or 11. First and last thing you can catch this from Civic, through Woden and then to Tuggers via some suburbs. During the day you can’t get this full service and you have to change at Woden if you want to go further. Makes sense.

I recall a few years ago now they implemented Xpresso routes – and guess what – they took half an hour longer than the normal 300 bus routes. They just don’t get it.

I have never been on a bus in Canberra at any time of day that is populated by oldies – and I have had to get places using the day time buses from time to time. It’s mostly drug addicts on their way to their clinic and school kids on their way home that I have seen. So I don’t know why there is this thought that we need buses to transport people all over the suburbs. Points towards park and ride systems rather than magical mystery tours. Most people use the bus to save parking fees and put up with the time factor as part of that. I don’t think people mind parking their car at a spot and catching a bus – it’s the only thing that’s going to work in Canberra.

#14
Stevian3:59 pm, 22 Mar 12

damien haas said :

Now ive heard it all, a person who doesnt bother to check what bus they are getting on, blames the bus driver, and ACTION, and everyone but herself for her trip taking too long!

Keijidosha said :

If you would bother to actually read, they blame themselves,as well as everyone else. It’s conspiracy you know

#15
geetee4:07 pm, 22 Mar 12

madamcholet said :

I don’t know why there is this thought that we need buses to transport people all over the suburbs. Points towards park and ride systems rather than magical mystery tours. Most people use the bus to save parking fees

And the people that don’t drive a car do what exactly?

#16
JazzyJess4:17 pm, 22 Mar 12

I catch the red rapid (a misnomer if ever there was one) from Gungahlin Marketplace to the city most days and it takes forever. Despite the sign saying limited stops it stops at every single one and crawls along Northbourne. There really needs to be a dedicated bus/car pool lane along Northbourne. That said, reducing it to two lanes for cars probably won’t help the situation.

#17
Keijidosha4:25 pm, 22 Mar 12

puggy said :

This is an honest question – and I understand the experience can vary wildly depending on where you live – but how can you say the current system doesn’t have a trunk network? The 300 series buses (the Blue Line) run from Belco, through Civic, Woden and Tuggeranong in the most direct manner possible. Each 3xx bus then veers off into different suburbs after each end. You can get from Banks to Belconnen on the one bus. There is also the Red Rapid route for Gungahlin folk.

Sorry I should have been clearer. The previous network had a discrete trunk system (333) that ran only between the interchanges, with a feeder network in each satellite area that collected and deposited patrons at interchanges. So there was no direct route between say, MacGregor and the City – you had to switch buses at Belconnen. The current network is what I would call ”branched” – buses running on trunk lines before branching into suburban areas.

I’m not suggesting one type of network is better, I was just pointing out to Primal that we have had a trunk/feeder network before and it was deemed unsuitable.

My only real gripe with our current network is the mess on Northbourne Avenue every morning, and I’ll set a cat amongst the pidgeons by stating my desire for a dedicated bus lane, or at least a T3.

#18
puggy4:59 pm, 22 Mar 12

Keijidosha said :

Sorry I should have been clearer. The previous network had a discrete trunk system (333) that ran only between the interchanges….

My only real gripe with our current network is the mess on Northbourne Avenue every morning, and I’ll set a cat amongst the pidgeons by stating my desire for a dedicated bus lane, or at least a T3.

Ah yes, the ol’ 333 days, back when a seven year old could catch four buses a day alone, and no one would be screaming “think of the children!”. Northbourne is a mess generally… which is why I mostly cycle!

#19
puggy5:04 pm, 22 Mar 12

JazzyJess said :

I catch the red rapid (a misnomer if ever there was one) from Gungahlin Marketplace to the city most days and it takes forever. Despite the sign saying limited stops it stops at every single one and crawls along Northbourne. There really needs to be a dedicated bus/car pool lane along Northbourne. That said, reducing it to two lanes for cars probably won’t help the situation.

That’s not really ACTION’s fault though is it? And how long is forever and how does it compare to a trip in a car? The times I’ve caught even the 5x buses – outside of peak hours – that go the same route (without limited stops), it’s been quite a quick trip. Northbourne is a difficult mess. What was that old proposed road behind Ainslie? :)

#20
damien haas5:50 pm, 22 Mar 12

JazzyJess said :

I catch the red rapid (a misnomer if ever there was one) from Gungahlin Marketplace to the city most days and it takes forever. Despite the sign saying limited stops it stops at every single one and crawls along Northbourne. There really needs to be a dedicated bus/car pool lane along Northbourne. That said, reducing it to two lanes for cars probably won’t help the situation.

Its one of the most logical first routes for light rail in the whole of the ACT.

However, dont think the current Northbourne upgrade study will report good news – its skewed to recommend more buses over light rail.

Read ACT Light Rails view on this here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2011/11/northbourne-light-rail-spin-v-reality.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

#21
Bussie9:29 pm, 22 Mar 12

JazzyJess said :

I catch the red rapid (a misnomer if ever there was one) from Gungahlin Marketplace to the city most days and it takes forever. Despite the sign saying limited stops it stops at every single one and crawls along Northbourne. There really needs to be a dedicated bus/car pool lane along Northbourne. That said, reducing it to two lanes for cars probably won’t help the situation.

Wrong. Stops the 200 stops at on Northbourne are the ones south of Macarthur Avenue, south of Antill/Mouat Sts and at Phillip Avenue for a total of 3 stops each way on Northbourne, which means it skips 7 Northbourne stops northbound and 8 southbound.

#22
Gungahlin Al9:33 pm, 22 Mar 12

JazzyJess said :

I catch the red rapid (a misnomer if ever there was one) from Gungahlin Marketplace to the city most days and it takes forever. Despite the sign saying limited stops it stops at every single one and crawls along Northbourne. There really needs to be a dedicated bus/car pool lane along Northbourne. That said, reducing it to two lanes for cars probably won’t help the situation.

Indeed. Puggy is right though – the Northbourne mess isn’t Action’s creation, and they can’t go any other way. It is a route where only fully segregated public transport will solve the problem. Fortunately after stacks of lobbying by many community groups (through several transport ministers with no vision for an actual solution), there finally are plans to do just that. Or plans to talk about it some more anyway. The key thing I think was that Katy responded to our requests to put transport planning back with the other planning functions. Previously, amalgamating transport design and delivery was a seriously retrograde step that held us up by several years.

With regard to whether the changes are responding to issues raised, we (GCC and Gungahlin residents) have been asking for:

*Additional Flemington Rd services – every 10 minutes instead of 15 now – tick.
*Additional 200 stop at Flemington and Well Station – tick
*Flemington Rd weekend service (that’s right there isn’t one at all now) – tick.
*Services for Bonner, Crace and Casey – tick.
*Straighten out the temporary zig zag through Franklin back streets now suburb is complete – tick for weekends anyway. On weekdays the 58 will not service Franklin or Mitchell any more! That’s a big change. Given the chronic overcrowding on all the Flemington Rd services from Harrison onwards, the 58 might become the route of choice for Harrison commuters.

Of course the question is whether the improvements have come at the expense of other aspects of the service. People in those areas will need to answer that.

Another thing that ACTION could do to improve their services at zero cost is to immediately stop forcing people on crowded buses to exit by the front door when a back door is available. The whole squeeze past everyone deal is a complete pain and puts people off.

The big change will be the next one where we are promised a complete rethink. This should be in line with the findings from all the consultation done over the last two years, which advised a restructure to more of a hub and spoke design with true express links between the hubs, and a greater incorporation of the new park’n'rides.

#23
Innovation7:27 am, 23 Mar 12

I think the ACT Government are very slowly getting it. Let passengers get on buses at stops along main public transport corridors with direct routes. Passengers can catch suburban buses, drive, be driven, cycle or walk out of the suburbs to these stops. Suburban bus routes that travel around several suburbs before going to and from interchanges are too irregular and take too long to be viable.

As for light rail, I still don’t get it. Wouldn’t dedicated transitways for buses be a good first step for testing the viability for light rail in the future? I would have thought that retrofitting light rail to these transit ways wouldn’t be too expensive.

#24
HenryBG8:28 am, 23 Mar 12

damien haas said :

Its one of the most logical first routes for light rail in the whole of the ACT.

However, dont think the current Northbourne upgrade study will report good news – its skewed to recommend more buses over light rail.

Read ACT Light Rails view on this here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2011/11/northbourne-light-rail-spin-v-reality.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

Yes, it’s incredibly disappointing that in the year 2012, Canberra still hasn’t put in the light rail it needs.
Dickson to Civic, Civic to Woden, and Civic to the Airport.
The Taxi scam at Canberra airport is an international embarrassment.

You fly into Sydney, go down two escalators, hop on a train, 2 stops and you’re in the City.
Canberra could have the same convenience if they just stopped wasting time on “Human Rights Commissioners” and Human Rights compliant prisons which turn out far less safe for inmates & staff than normal prisons are.

#25
HenryBG8:37 am, 23 Mar 12

madamcholet said :

I was totally amazed that anyone actually catches this extraordinary bus. I could not describe the higgledy-piggledy journey that we took. It was truly bizarre.

I hear you – I have similarly made the mistake of thinking I could use a bus to get to and from meetings and jobs in the Manuka/Kingston/Fyshwick/Barton/Forrest area.
The astounding twists and turns these buses take to turn a 10-minute trip into 60 minutes is, as you say, truly bizarre.
The 80 takes the cake. I think it took 40 minutes to get from one part of Fyshwick to another. Why anybody would catch these buses is a mystery (and they are mostly empty from what I can see).

Now, if I’m going anywhere inner Southside, unless I can walk there from Albert Hall (The 300 service from Civic or Woden is excellent for that) I don’t even contemplate catching a bus.

In fact, last time I was driving through Griffith, I saw a bloke standing at a bus stop and took pity on him – he was looking forward to a 60-minute trip to get him to Woden, so I gave him a lift there saving him the pain of these horrendous bus routes.

#26
jase!9:12 am, 23 Mar 12

damien haas said :

Its one of the most logical first routes for light rail in the whole of the ACT.

However, dont think the current Northbourne upgrade study will report good news – its skewed to recommend more buses over light rail.

Read ACT Light Rails view on this here: http://www.actlightrail.info/2011/11/northbourne-light-rail-spin-v-reality.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

while i agree that something needs to be done to prioritise public transport down northbourne as a proponent of light rail I’d love to see how the cost of it would justify it over installing a T-Way type lane (and hopefully bike lane) down the middle of the traffic islands. A single T-way lane that is tidal flow based seems to be a much more flexible option and wouldn’t cost a mint. However if you can provide solid reasoning for how light rail would stack up both on a functional level and cost level I’d love to hear it

#27
markus_k9:38 am, 23 Mar 12

Glad to hear there’s been some re-working of the Weston Creek services. As it stands the two buses that go through Duffy leave every hour in offpeak/weekends. Which isn’t an issue in itself, except for the fact they both leave Woden from the same stop at exactly the same time, which really defeats the purpose of having two routes through the same suburb.

Also good there is no mention of rehashing the morning and afternoon express bus to/from the Creek as well, as it is a very popular route.

#28
JessP11:13 am, 23 Mar 12

I can cope with the multiple stops in my suburb to get to the Interchange(s) but its all the bloody stops after the interchanges that make the trip seem excessively long.

Love to see some buses that are express between interchanges on the 300 routes. (Yes, I know about express service between interchanges – Woden to Belconnen etc – they occur 3 times a day each way if you are lucky). Would make the whole travel bewteen interchanges during the peak more appealing.

#29
geetee11:35 am, 23 Mar 12

markus_k said :

Glad to hear there’s been some re-working of the Weston Creek services. As it stands the two buses that go through Duffy leave every hour in offpeak/weekends. Which isn’t an issue in itself, except for the fact they both leave Woden from the same stop at exactly the same time, which really defeats the purpose of having two routes through the same suburb.

Also good there is no mention of rehashing the morning and afternoon express bus to/from the Creek as well, as it is a very popular route.

Totally agree with the 25/28 issue in Duffy. Suggested to ACTION a few years back that shifting the departure time of one of these would provide a virtual 30min service and that – in the case that one bus didn’t show up – most Holder/Duffy passengers would have sufficient time to walk to the alternative stop. But it hasn’t happened yet.

In the last major shift they WERE going to change the 725 peak hour express to only being a Cooleman Court to Civic direct service but thankfully enough passengers complained and they reverted back to the existing route (and increased it from 1 service to 2).

#30
JazzyJess11:49 am, 23 Mar 12

Gungahlin Al and Puggy you are both right, the congestion on Northbourne is not the fault of Action but their (mostly) crappy services don’t help. Bussie, there may only be 3 red rapid stops along Northbourne but I promise you the bus still stops at every single stop regardless of whether or not it is supposed to. Bring on the light rail!

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