70% of Canberrans drive to work

Reprobate 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
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ACT Light Rail ACT Light Rail 5:53 pm 04 Oct 08

Build light rail and transport oriented development will occur around it. This means employment, education, retail etc will be built to take advantage of the transport medium. You will be able to have a one car family and not impact your lifestyle. Rapid transit may save you time. that one hour bus trip – sharing onroad traffic with cars – may drop to 15-20 minutes when the light rail vehicle can travel at 120kmh between stops. .

The key is fixed transport infrastructure. No employer says ‘great, a bus stop – lets build there’.

I also dont believe people should be ‘punished’ into choosing public transport. Make it attractive, comfortable and convenient. Those are the reasons why light rail will increase public transport use, where buses have failed.

I-filed I-filed 5:31 pm 04 Oct 08

Reprobate if your kid can catch the bus home on his own, he could catch the bus to school couldn’t he? And you could catch a later bus than 7.30 am and get to work closer to his schooltime. After school, why doesn’t he catch a bus to the interchange after school and walk to your work? I can’t see how your get-home time would be 7 pm in any case … If petrol prices shoot up again, we might all find we aren’t resisting buses as hard …

OzChick OzChick 4:57 pm 04 Oct 08

I used to catch the bus to work everyday until the recent bus timetable changes. Now, I drive to work (Civic) from West Belconnen. I just became annoyed having to stand up all the way on the bus and having to switch buses at the Belconnen interchange. Over it…

rosie_bubz rosie_bubz 4:01 pm 04 Oct 08

i am all for going green so as soon as a good public transport system is introduced, i will be the first one on it

rosie_bubz rosie_bubz 3:59 pm 04 Oct 08

astrojax said :

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

Yea i am agreeeing with this idea… i get so fustrated when i see so many people driving in seperate cars all to the same place!!

i would ride a bike but i live out of canberra so it takes me 30 mins on a good day and 45 mins on a busy day to drive to work.
And lving 25 min out of canberra means buses are totally out of the question

bubzie bubzie 3:20 pm 04 Oct 08

If they start having bus services at 12am, on saturday nights when i finish work, i may reconsider catching buses to work.. (not to mention, i have to catch two buses to work on weekends…and it takes 90 minutes to get to and from work on weekends, so i’d get home at like 1:30. Compared to a 15 minute car ride…Hmm.)

PM PM 2:56 pm 04 Oct 08

Figures do show that bus usage is up recently. The actual challenge to increasing bus services is getting the bus drivers.

sepi sepi 2:20 pm 04 Oct 08

The ACT govt can’t even provide enough buses for the people that atually want to catch teh bus right now.

I think more people are gradually starting to use buses, due to petrol and parking costs, and perhaps greenie ideals.

It is now up to the ACT govt to actually provide enough buses to service the timetable they have now, and then to gradually increase it.

There should be more park and ride – people have been calling for Epic to be a park and ride for years. And they should consider making buses cheaper or free outside of peak hours. Smaller buses could also be considered for some routes/times.

ginni650 ginni650 1:58 pm 04 Oct 08

And also – another help with the fuel consumption – for motorcycles / bikes

ginni650 ginni650 1:56 pm 04 Oct 08

Hi, I just wanted to suggest a carpool / ride share website for Canberra and other cities called Carpool One – it’s safer than some other sites, and also free/non-profit … hopefully it will help change the current situation to the better.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 1:21 pm 23 Jun 08

My daily drive is a Holden Astra, previous model. 1.8litre 4 cyl engine. Gets about 7 litres per hundred around town for fuel economy. Boring but reliable and effective little car.

The V8 is my toy, and it only comes out of the garage a couple of times a week.

Hamilton – the matiz comment made me laugh because I owned one for a while. It was tiny and slow, but totally reliable and VERY cheap on fuel, and surprisingly comfortable. It was actually one of the best cars I’ve ever owned, in terms of its intended function.

minime2 minime2 4:32 am 22 Jun 08

Would it be cheaper for government to give the 10%ers taxi vouchers and save the millions$ the bus service drains? Then the interchanges could be used for parking.

That turn the mall’s parking into Park and Ride idea could work .. then the shoppers would have to catch buses to the mall as there is no parking. Works all round. Can just see the Myers and DJs shoppers going home in the bus with their pretty shopping bags full of expensive purchases sitting next to the Reject Shop pers….

Is EPIC owned by ACT govt? If so , why is that not a giant P and R?
Could be a good use for old school sites … lots of parking for P and R bus servicing.

shenanigans shenanigans 12:39 pm 20 Jun 08

Public transport in Canberra is a joke – every two hours on a Sunday??? When I moved here from Sydney I ws shocked that school kids had to pay their own fares.

c` c` 10:10 am 20 Jun 08

I do catch the bus from time to time – a multitrip will last me up a to month – and it does take a little planning. Public transport is not a de facto taxi service so it will take some compromise on the user’s part to use it.

I am a little spoilt for choice as a number of bus services (at least three) run through the general vicinity (I live in Gungahlin) and reasonably directly into the city, where I work. Therefore I don’t suffer the same issues that others do, like stupendously long meanders through suburbs. For my purposes, Public Transport is fine. Never mind the germs, it’s really something only an OCD type sufferer would worry about.

I would agree with a suggestion in an earlier post to have more direct services to city centres in conjunction with a park and ride scheme. However that doesn’t solve the problem for PT user who want to visit a friend in Wanniassa for instance. Or a PT user who doesn’t have a car. There’s no simple answer to the question of PT availablity, particuarly in a city laid out like Canberra.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 9:31 am 20 Jun 08

I was actually considering to start taking the bus recently. Then the re-launched “new and improved” Action timetables were released. Previous to this, I’d be able to catch a bus from my local shops in Belco, and 35 mins later I’d be in Civic – direct.

Since these widely publicised fantastic improvements, there is a route less to choose from, and I’d have to change buses at Belco mall to get on a Civic route! C’mon Action – meet us half way here!

Now I’m considering riding. We’ve got a pretty sweet cycle network here.

Hamilton Hamilton 7:57 am 20 Jun 08

Thumper said :

Wow, that was good!

Any other exceptionally deep things to say sunshine?

That’s about it for now. I’ll save the good ones for later!! What instrument do you play?

damnintellectuals damnintellectuals 3:07 am 20 Jun 08

Are you telling me there is no Park and Ride option in Canberra?

smokey4 smokey4 10:54 pm 19 Jun 08

I am wondering how much fuel costs will effect getting people from interstate to work in Canberra. Those in the ACT would drive say 20kms to work. Those coming from outside the ACT in rural NSW must be feeling it. This will eventually translate into a lack of bodies to do the work in the ACT. Getting others to move from other capital cities will also prove more difficult due to the rising cost of moving.
Public transport issues in the ACT is similar to ACT traffic jams which really is a non event for the 300,000 inhabitants compared to the millions in Melbourne or Sydney.

illyria illyria 10:01 pm 19 Jun 08

PM said :

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.

Perhaps around 10% is the correct percentage of Canberrans for whom bus travel will ever realistically be convenient or appropriate (or just plain necessary).

In my young and single days, I caught the bus every day. It is not an option these days for me or my clan (refer to other previous posts Re: work, school drop offs, sick kids, etc.)

People need options that will suit them and their circumstances at the time. Yes we need effective public transport services. People also need cars. There should not be penalties imposed (on car drivers) for wanting to get to work on time or enjoying the convenience of being able to leave work and pick up a sick child who needed you there 5 minutes ago.

bd84 bd84 9:03 pm 19 Jun 08

Of course 70% of canberrans drive, the city is designed for it. The public transport is a joke despite their “improvements”, they are not seriously going to get a large number of people onto buses until they ditch the scenic 1hr+ bus routes for a journey that would normally take 15-20min to drive.

$2/L may see some more people jump into cattle class buses, but even then the convenience of driving will be enough for the majority of people.

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