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Nightrider rides again

By 18 November 2011 18

The late night inebriate needs an occasional bus service like a fish needs a bicycle.

But Simon Corbell has announced that the very expensive and doomed to fail exercise in keeping the Greens happy known as the the Nightrider bus will be returning this festive season.

“Nightrider will run most Friday and Saturday nights in December, with additional services on New Year’s Eve,” said Mr Corbell.

“Fares will decrease to just $5 to encourage people to take the Nightrider home as a safe, convenient option to get home after a low patronage level last year.

“The new Nightrider fare is a direct outcome from the 2010-11 trial where customers were discouraged by the higher $10 fare, which for some people worked out to be more expensive than a shared taxi ride.”

The evaluation of last summer’s extended Nightrider found the service was not cost effective over three months. This year’s Nightrider will run similar to previous years before the three-month trial, with services focussed on helping people get home during the busy festive period.

Departing from Platform 7 at the City Bus Station, eight Nightrider routes will take passengers home every 90 minutes between 1am and 4.45am with extra services to operate on New Year’s Eve. The Nightrider routes will service suburbs in Belconnen, Gungahlin, Inner-North, Inner-South, Woden and Tuggeranong dropping passengers at the bus stop nearest to their home.

Mr Corbell said that each bus will have CCTV facilities. ACTION supervisors will also be within the City Bus Station to assist with marshalling.

Nightrider will operate on 9-10 December, 16-17 December, 23 December and 30-31 December 2011.

We wish it the very best of luck, but would have more confidence in the success of the exercise if it was given sufficient tenure to become part of the landscape.

UPDATE: And as surely as day follows night the Greens’ Amanda Bresnan has expressed her pleasure:

The ACT Greens have commended the Government for its decision to reintroduce the Nightrider bus service.

“The Nightrider buses serve an important purpose, and the Greens have always been confident they can work well for Canberrans, which is why we originally secured this service with changes to liquor laws,” said Greens transport spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA.

One has to wonder to what extent, after a very bad week, this is a punch drunk government willing to throw out party favours to get the Greens back onside.

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18 Responses to Nightrider rides again
#1
Tetranitrate7:01 pm, 18 Nov 11

Hopefully they actually advertise it this time. Last year I only place I saw anything about it was on the riotact.

#2
Stevian7:09 pm, 18 Nov 11

Tetranitrate said :

Hopefully they actually advertise it this time. Last year I only place I saw anything about it was on the riotact.

and after the fact.

#3
damien haas7:19 pm, 18 Nov 11

I think you people are very cynical. They have issued a MEDIA RELEASE.

If I was the ACT Govco and I wanted people to be aware of my safety programs i would release a media release on late friday afternoon, thats always the best time to get this important information out there.

#4
zippyzippy7:20 pm, 18 Nov 11

Interesting political analysis johnboy, but I think this must have been in the pipeline for a while.

‘doomed to fail’ seems a bit over the top. Don’t know if it will ever be profitable on its own; does that constitute failure?

#5
johnboy7:28 pm, 18 Nov 11

zippyzippy said :

Interesting political analysis johnboy, but I think this must have been in the pipeline for a while.

‘doomed to fail’ seems a bit over the top. Don’t know if it will ever be profitable on its own; does that constitute failure?

4 weeks? By the time people start talking about it the trial will be over.

Cost is not the issue, the problem is confidence.

#6
damien haas7:36 pm, 18 Nov 11

Its not a Greens initiative – the Nightrider service has been running since 1993 – well before the Greens existed as a political party in the ACT.

There are many reasons that it is not perfectly run – see my blog post earlier this year http://onfourwheels.blogspot.com/2011/01/why-nightrider-service-is-not-failure.html

It should not be seen as a public transport program, but a public safety program – like RBT.

Sadly, this years service repeats the mistakes of the past – too few services opeating too far apart, and in such a restricted set of weekends. I havent checked, but I think its less than in 2010/2011.

I note they have dropped the fare to $5 this year. I hope they also advertise the service.

#7
whitelaughter11:18 pm, 18 Nov 11

Sadly, I’m guessing that they won’t even advertise it in the cheapest, ideally targeted option: ads *in* ACTION buses.
But yeah, unless they run the thing for a decent period, say, a *year* or more, and advertise to the hilt, it’s doomed. We need to know about it *and* have time to get used to it.

#8
Evil_Kitten12:22 am, 21 Nov 11

It shouldn’t matter if it’s cost effective for the Government or not, it’s a good service to have and I’m glad it’s there for the short time it’s running per year.

#9
whitelaughter3:20 am, 21 Nov 11

Evil_Kitten said :

It shouldn’t matter if it’s cost effective for the Government or not, it’s a good service to have and I’m glad it’s there for the short time it’s running per year.

Shouldn’t? Maybe not, but with limited funds every service comes at the cost of reduced funding elsewhere, so it does matter that it isn’t cost effective.
And my (our?) major gripe is that it is poor management that results in it not being cost effective, rather than lack of customers.

#10
milkman7:14 am, 21 Nov 11

Evil_Kitten said :

It shouldn’t matter if it’s cost effective for the Government or not, it’s a good service to have and I’m glad it’s there for the short time it’s running per year.

Agreed. I’d also like the government to buy me a porsche.

#11
dvaey9:20 am, 21 Nov 11

whitelaughter said :

Evil_Kitten said :

It shouldn’t matter if it’s cost effective for the Government or not, it’s a good service to have and I’m glad it’s there for the short time it’s running per year.

Shouldn’t? Maybe not, but with limited funds every service comes at the cost of reduced funding elsewhere, so it does matter that it isn’t cost effective.

If youre getting drunk drivers off the road, how much does thar reduce funding costs? That one drunk you took on the bus that might have worked out to $300 per passenger trip or whatever it is, possibly saved an accident which could have left $30k of medical bills.

Not to mention problems of late night assaults from people being ‘stranded’ in civic with a gut full of piss and not enough cash for a cab ride home.. the free ride in a paddy wagon looks tempting to a dunk..

These situations will arise in Winter just as much as in Summer, it makes little sense to leave the drunks to fend for themselves late at night, and infact probably even the reduced policing costs would be offset by the bus service outlay.

#12
luther_bendross9:33 am, 21 Nov 11

I for one will be keeping this in mind next time I’m in town feeling tired and emotional. I whinged about two things last year (1. lack of prior knowledge/advertising, and 2. price) but both of those have changed. Hopefully more people use it so it becomes a sustainable project.

#13
Evil_Kitten6:03 pm, 21 Nov 11

When I say “it shouldn’t matter if it’s cost effective for the Government or not”, I meant it could be included with other services that don’t necessarily make the Government a profit, like health services, or public parks or whatever. I don’t utilise much other Government stuff but I like the idea of being able to get home cheaply – like other cities that have buses and trains running late!

#14
damien haas6:33 pm, 21 Nov 11

Last years three month Nightrider service was funded by the extra revenue accrued once the Government – with Greens support – passed the revised liquor licensing laws. to gain greens support, teh ALP agreed to a three month ‘trial’.

This year the service has returned to its previous very limited form, which has run in much the same fashion since at least 1992.

Yet the govt keeps the increased liquor licensing fees as a reult of the updated Act.

A cynical man may suggest that the lack of advertising and constant references to ‘failure’ by the govt were designed to ensure that the service was reduced back to its previous very limited form.

The greens need to negotiate better. The govt needs to realise that offering the bare minimum is just not good enough. Long term public health costs far outweigh a few extra bus services over summer.

#15
alaninoz8:01 pm, 21 Nov 11

damien haas said :

Long term public health costs far outweigh a few extra bus services over summer.

I’d be interested to know how you calculated this. I think it likely that any such calculation would used some assumptions that could reasonably be challenged.

#16
merlin bodega9:06 pm, 21 Nov 11

The longest distance between any two points in Canberra is an Action bus route. Now with buses leaving every 90 minutes it can be the longest time too.

Great design. In going to everybody’s bus stop it makes it difficult to go to anybody’s stop. What about a service running inter- town centres. That way at least a cab fare home is affordable.

#17
grunge_hippy9:17 pm, 21 Nov 11

bah! that doesnt help me, our xmas party is first friday in dec. i’d use it if it was running then.

#18
damien haas9:51 pm, 21 Nov 11

alaninoz said :

damien haas said :

Long term public health costs far outweigh a few extra bus services over summer.

I’d be interested to know how you calculated this. I think it likely that any such calculation would used some assumptions that could reasonably be challenged.

Any assumption can be reasonably challenged.

http://www.nisu.flinders.edu.au/pubs/injcost/mvtraffic.html

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