Having grown up in that jewel of public transport, Melbourne, where you quite literally do not need a car, and where a car can be less convenient than public transport in the inner suburbs, I find the public transport in Canberra a bit lacking. But I find the public transport between Canberra and Queanbeyan to be appalling.
Yes, there are busses. And yes, they are generally clean, the staff are generally polite, and they generally run on time. I have no complaints about that. However, the fares on these busses are extremely expensive compared to the ACT. I recall a friend of mine complaining that her one hour transfer ticket was going to go up to $2.90 soon. I sat there and told her that a one way non transfer ticket from the Queanbeyan interchange to Manuka cost me $5.90, (or $10.40 return) and that I had been twice charged $6.10 by drivers who insisted that the fare to manuka was the same as the fare to Civic (which it is not supposed to be)
Okay, I understand that the company running the busses is a private company, and that they have to make ends meet. But why are they running big 52 seat busses that most of the time are more than half empty? Why not go for 20 seat Coaster style busses? And for that matter, why is it that the ACT busses stop at the border? Big deal that there’s a border there, who cares? The journey out to Queanbeyan is shorter than the journey out to Mitchell, Gunghalin and Tuggers. Why do Action Busses only go as far as DFO?
I asked a driver on an Action bus this and his reply was that Action had an agreement not to run busses to Quenabyean. An agreement with who? And how can such an agreement benefit people from Queanbeyan. Another driver said it was because Action drivers would require NSW Driver Authority cards, which makes more sense. If running a service where your passengers pay a fare in NSW, that is the case.
But big deal, they’re not hard to get. Why not run the busses out further than DFO and have them terminate in Queanbeyan? You don’t need every driver to have a driver authority card. Just the ones on that run.
Even the existing services could be improved. Why does the Woden and Civic busses have to depart the same time? It makes for delays as two busses try to pull into one bus stop at the same time. It delays traffic. It can confuse passengers. Why not run them at separate times. EG, instead of on every hour. Run the Civic one every hour on the hour, and the Woden one every hour on the half hour. Also, why run two busses along the same route for considerable distance? Why not run one via Crawford street / Uriarra Rd, and the other via Canberra Avenue and Gilmore Road so the industrial estate has a regular bus service?
I am more than frustrated that I pay the same taxes as people across the border, but they get a better bus service. There’s over 33 thousand people in Queanbeyan / Jerra. Almost every morning probably half of them pile into cars and head across the border, most of that on just two roads. If the bus service was more affordable, then more would use it.