A.C.T.I.O.N.? What a massive F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

benita_449 7 February 2010 65

A.C.T.I.O.N. C.E.O./Executive Team
GPO Box 158
Canberra City ACT 2601

CC: Editor: The Canberra Times
Choice – Consumer Advice
Jon Stanhope ACT Chief Minister & Minister for Transport
The RIOT ACT website

Dear A.C.T.I.O.N. C.E.O/Executive Team,

If you do in fact care about the state of the (very expensive) service you are providing to A.C.T. taxpayers, please carefully note the following:

Fellow passengers and I have contacted A.C.T.I.O.N. at least a dozen times throughout 2009 about overcrowding on Route 6 to/from the city in peak periods. (City Bound from Lyneham in the mornings, and Lyneham bound from the City in the afternoons).

And now, in February 2010: nothing has changed.

As a result of enduring this poor service, and the total lack of courtesy and professionalism (ie. A.C.T.I.O.N. implementing NO significant changes in addressing the problem nor encouraging patronage of the service) I am abandoning using A.C.T.I.O.N. until this problem is fixed. I will go back to using my car, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to Canberra’s road congestion and road rage. It is all more bearable than having to endure any further use of your pitiful service.

The known instances of myself (or fellow passengers) writing and/or calling you or your representatives to report this problem include: 25/3/09, 2/3/09, 17/3/09 (4 times), 25/3/09, 26/3/09 etc etc etc

In these reports we described to you: overcrowding, late and absent services, services spread too far apart for their patronage and services that were so full they were refusing to pick passengers.

Your response was, in most instances, either automated (as below) or absent.

(A) Thank you for your feedback dated 2 March 2009 regarding ACTION bus route 6.

I have forwarded your correspondence to ACTION Scheduling for investigation.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Kind regards

ACTION Correspondence

email: action@act.gov.au

In other instances, your reply confirmed that the issue existed, and yet you did nothing to remedy it:

(B) A detailed profile of the service you mentioned indicates that at various points during the service up to 16 passengers were standing for segments of the journey.

You have now lost MY patronage. However, on the up-side, at least you will get back the 30cm2 of floor-space I occupied whilst standing jam-packed in the bus aisle. Now there will be one less person that has to risk being half an hour late for work after not being picked up by the bus: One less person having to squeeze through the two-dozen smelly, sweaty and cranky people stuffed like sardines in the bus aisle: One less person that has to pay up to $3.80 for a service that is worse than I have experienced in third world countries I’ve visited where I paid the equivalent of $0.50AU.

Here’s the suggestion I made for the Route 6 Timetable back in February 2009: I suggest you look into it in a vain attempt to justify your career (if, in deed, you care about it whatsoever)

Dickson

North Lyneham

Lyneham Shops

City Interchange
Platform 10

6

…..

…..

…..

6

6:48 AM

6:55 AM

7:01 AM

6

7:18 AM

7:25 AM

7:31 AM

6*NEW

7.38*

7.46*

7.54*

6*NEW

7.58*

8.06*

8.13*

6

8:18 AM

8:26 AM

8:33 AM

6

8:48 AM

8:56 AM

9:03 AM

Good luck to you in continuing to provide the worst customer service I have ever experienced. You should be ashamed of yourself and your staff.

Regards

Benita ****


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65 Responses to A.C.T.I.O.N.? What a massive F.A.I.L.U.R.E.
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dale1878 dale1878 1:04 pm 18 Apr 10

I can totally understand how you feel. I used to live in Gowrie and work in Fyshwick – if I worked a Saturday shift and didn’t have the car, it meant Gowrie-Woden-Civic-Fyshwick, often taking a good two hours to get to work. As you can imagine, I worked this shift very sparingly.

On the subject of the solution: Since moving to Wollongong for uni, I have started enjoying buses again. The “government” has implemented free bus services that run through the heart of the city every fifteen minutes. Surely something like this would free up the buses that run City-Russell and such?

If you google “Gong Shuttle”, have a look.

kgferrari kgferrari 11:11 am 13 Feb 10

grunge_hippy said :

hubby and I were looking on their useless website for him catching a bus to his new job in bruce, we live in isabella plains. He would have to catch 3 buses, taking well over 1.5 hours.

What part of Isabella Plains (Route 11 south/west or Route 65 north/east) and what part of Bruce? I find 1.5 hours a little hard to believe.

I don’t find it hard to believe. I live in Dunlop and work in tuggeranong. I have a range of options to catch busses to work, minimum being 2 busses maximum 3. Regardless of which combination of busses I get I’m looking at 1.5 hours to get to work (either all on busses or sitting around at interchanges waiting on connections) and generally 2 hours to get home with reasonable amounts of time sitting at interchanges waiting for busses to come.

The old timetable was great. I’d hop on the 45, stay on it when it got into Belconnen where it became the 705 express to Tuggeranong and be at work by 7:30. These days I can’t get to work any earlier than 8am by bus, if I’m lucky and everything’s ontime!

It’s a pain, but at least it’s there. Considering Canberra’s geographical size and population we are lucky to have a public transport system at all.

p1 p1 12:18 pm 11 Feb 10

I’d hardly call the 1920’s the ‘golden age’ of the motor vehicle. Last time I spoke to Walter, he said there was no way he envisaged Canberra having population of over 330,000 let along almost all of them driving cars.

The problem wasn’t the expectation that everyone would have a car, but rather the expectation that they wife would stay home with the kids, who would all walk to the local school, while the wife walked to the local shop, then home to cook dinner for the husband.

spinact spinact 10:52 am 11 Feb 10

Sgt.Bungers said :

Thanks to our city being designed by a Yank in the motor vehicle golden age, Canberra will continue to require its residents to own their own wheeled motor to get around for a long time yet.

I’d hardly call the 1920’s the ‘golden age’ of the motor vehicle. Last time I spoke to Walter, he said there was no way he envisaged Canberra having population of over 330,000 let along almost all of them driving cars.

MrPC MrPC 10:37 pm 09 Feb 10

Unfortunately Light Rail doesn’t solve problems, unless your problem is having too much money. Trams cost ten times as much as buses and don’t really save much.

The drivers cost the same or more as bus drivers, the electricity might work out cheaper than diesel, and the steel on steel adhesion is more efficient than rubber tyre on bitumen, except that the trams weigh several times what an equivalent bus weighs so the savings are minimal. The trams cost 5 to 10 times the cost of an equivalent size bus (be it a standard bus or an equivalent bendy or double-artic bendy, compared with a standard tram, a 3 section light rail vehicle or a 5 section light rail vehicle). Trams traditionally do last much longer than buses (50+ years vs 20 for a bus) though ACTION are hardly averse to running 20+ year old buses into the ground and modern light rail vehicles are not exactly built to last.

If you want to move large volumes of people, you need real trains, not LRVs. Real trains with dedicated right of way (fully fenced/underground/otherwise grade separated) with fully automated onboard operation, no need to pay bus/tram/train drivers, just platform attendants to ensure the go order that starts the train moving to its next station doesn’t result in any parents being separated from their kids in prams etc as the doors close. At quieter times of the day/night the platform staff can be replaced by centrally controlled systems, with someone sitting in an office with lots of TV screens hooked into CCTV cameras at each station, giving each train the go order to depart the station once the cameras show it as being safe to do so.

The older buses could then be scrapped/relegated to school runs, and the remaining new buses would be able to run double or triple the frequency on local runs around suburbs to their nearest train station (and no further) every 10 minutes or so, connecting with a train every 10 minutes or so.

Pandy Pandy 8:41 pm 09 Feb 10

This is where I jump in.

The Government wont fund the buses, so why would they fund light rail?

After the ptivate-public fiascos of toll roads, with over inflated usage estimates, consultants in in for the buck thus talking it up, the government larfing all the way to the bank with a free road, I doubt any major public infrastructure network will ever get the Build-operate-own-transfer go ahead in Australia for a long time

Ryan Ryan 6:24 pm 09 Feb 10

grunge_hippy said :

Like the bus that lost its rear wheels this morning, triple j news were saying there were 80 schookids on the bus. that surely cant be right. unless it was articulated??

They showed it on the news. Only got a quick look but it was certainly not articulated, but appeared to be longer than a standard ACTION Bus.

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 4:43 pm 09 Feb 10

Like the bus that lost its rear wheels this morning, triple j news were saying there were 80 schookids on the bus. that surely cant be right. unless it was articulated??

Aurelius Aurelius 12:36 pm 09 Feb 10

Yeah. Light rail will solve everything.
Can those telling us light rail is the solution go to Melbourne during peak hour, and explain to the inhabitants of the crowded trams how spacious their trams are?
The logical fallacy they’re spouting seems to arise everytime anyone complains about public transport in Canberra. Whether the transport is buses or trams, each vehicle only has a limited amount of seats and standing room. Putting rails into the equation doesn’t alter that.

thomped2 thomped2 11:04 am 09 Feb 10

LIGHT RAIL will solve the problems…
you can say lets get more busses but therein lies a problem, more busses on our alredy congested roads = more delays.

remove those angry tossers we call buss drivers that can only take up to 80 people in one go and replace them with 2 people that can run a train and take hundreds of people… and no more missed busses or grumpy drivers!

LIGHT RAIL FOR THE NANNY STATE!

astrojax astrojax 7:35 am 09 Feb 10

more people should simply walk. compared to thirty years ago, people walk less than a third as far – trouble starts with dropping kids two blocks to school, etc… shanks pony is the transport solution we need more of.

cleo cleo 12:31 am 09 Feb 10

Buzz819

+1

jackthemartin jackthemartin 11:44 pm 08 Feb 10

moneypenny2612 said :

Strangely I got very prompt ACTION when I notified them last September that the Civic interchange clock was running 5 minutes fast (and several bus drivers were therefore leaving Civic early). They attended to that within 2 days.

Perhaps scheduling buses is too hard for ACTION. God knows there are still so many near empty buses doing the rounds at peak times. You’d think it would be quite simple to re-direct them where they are actually needed.

I guess concerns about scheduling don’t get such a quick response because scheduling is rather more difficult than fixing a clock. There are a lot of near-empty buses at peak times, but this might be inevitable in a network covering a city like Canberra. Would it make sense to remove services from some suburbs altogether so that nobody in the inner north has to stand? (A: no)

buzz819 said :

I believe that a light rail system in Canberra would be beneficial…
The routes would be easy as well, straight down Northbourne, plenty of room in middle, Belconnen Way/ Barry Drive, Tuggy Pkway, Adelaide Ave, Monaro Hway, PLenty of areas where it can be implemented, just no money to do it.

There would certainly be benefits to light rail, but they seem to be relatively minor in Canberra. On the intertown routes, a light rail wouldn’t be significantly faster than bus lanes on arterial roads (didn’t the busway proposal-which would have been around the same time as light rail-only reduce the time by 2 minutes?). On Northbourne, most of the buses that travel down there now would probably still have to do so. People don’t want to travel 10 minutes by bus from, say, Watson and then have to switch to a light rail to get to Civic.

Very Busy Very Busy 11:18 pm 08 Feb 10

grunge_hippy said :

hubby and I were looking on their useless website for him catching a bus to his new job in bruce, we live in isabella plains. he would have to catch 3 buses, taking well over 1.5 hours.

I’ve just had a look on their website myself and found that catching a route 11 from the Mackillop College bus stop to Tuggers and then an intertown 300 to Hayden Drive will take you about 58 minutes plus a small amout of time walking to/from bus stops (although you would need to walk to/from the car park anyway). Hardly “3 buses and well over 1.5 hours”

eg: route 11 from Mackillop to Tuggers at 7:29 then 318 from Tuggers at 7:40 will get you to Hayden Drive or College St. by about 8:27.

I can’t help feeling that some will try to manufacture excuses to justify not geting out of their cosy, environmentally unfriendly little comfort zones!!!!

Fiona Fiona 9:31 pm 08 Feb 10

p1 said :

No, 50 people cannot stand in the aisle of an ACTION Bus.

Legally they can’t. And I am sure it doesn’t happen often. But pretty sure I caught some buses to school as a kid which were way past the maximum.

That’s why canberra should get rail – used to catch the old single decker electric trains to school in newcastle (the sort from the 50s with holes in the floor you could see the tracks through) and stand with the doors open in the entrance ways. The best bits where going past the unused station and through the tunnel 🙂

moneypenny2612 moneypenny2612 8:45 pm 08 Feb 10

Gungahlin Al said :

Like a dedicated track you mean? Because that’s the only way you can guarantee a rapid and reliable service that is not caught up in peak traffic jams.

And they call them O-Bahns. They’re cool. If only they weren’t built using such costly and unsustainable materials. But maybe that’s an Adelaide thing. That said, the Modbury O-Bahn is the bomb.

p1 p1 7:46 pm 08 Feb 10

No, 50 people cannot stand in the aisle of an ACTION Bus.

Legally they can’t. And I am sure it doesn’t happen often. But pretty sure I caught some buses to school as a kid which were way past the maximum.

Power Protect Power Protect 7:20 pm 08 Feb 10

Gungahlin Al said :

Like a dedicated track you mean?

Like a dedicated busway, whether its underground/overground/follows another path or runs down the middle of northbourne ave.

With an arrangement such as this buses can do a whip around a section of Gungahlin or wherever then have a near traffic free run to the destination. If a bus breaks down other buses can manoeuvre around it easily unlike rail. Authorised service vehicles and emergency services can utilise busways becuase the traffic control measures are setup for detecting vehicles.

As for certainty of service, having the infrastructure is no guarantee that timetables wont be cut back if services aren’t being utilised.

Traffic jams that last a whole 40 minutes and free parking in the triangle, c’mon we’ve got it pretty good really. Its time for free or heavily subsidised public transport paid for by pay parking in the triangle/russell, in 10 years we could have high speed busways linking Tuggers/Woden/Triangle/Civic/Russell/Fyshwick/Airport/Belco/Gungahlin (not in that order) with stops along the way. Throw in park’n’rides for people that aren’t serviced by the local route.

Lets not get caught up arguing over the same thing, there is no question that the services need to improve, and the solution whether is it with buses or trams (sorry, light rail) is virtually the same, but buses are cheaper.

Just look at what light rail did to the towns of Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook.

Ryan Ryan 5:42 pm 08 Feb 10

sepi said :

No way 50 people can stand in the aisle of an ACTION bus.

No, 50 people cannot stand in the aisle of an ACTION Bus.

From the link I provided above, 49 is the maximum and that is ONLY in an articulated (bendi) bus without a luggage rack in the rear section.

The average buses can take around 25 standing (in the older vehicles) and 15-20 in the newer ones.

p1 p1 5:00 pm 08 Feb 10

Like a dedicated track you mean? Because that’s the only way you can guarantee a rapid and reliable service that is not caught up in peak traffic jams.

While I am yet to be convinced that we should build light rail, this is the reason we should. It is the reason subway systems exit. It is the reason for monorails.

Which makes you wonder why, with our current reliance on the bus system, we have recently done away with the closest thing we had to a designated transport corridor anywhere in Canberra, right through the middle of Belconnen town centre.

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