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ACTION subsidy blows out to $101 million

By johnboy - 6 June 2012 34

buses

The Liberals’ Alistair Coe is very excited by the ever increasing subsidy to run our not very good bus service.

According to yesterday’s ACT Budget, Katy Gallagher is failing to control spending at ACTION, with the taxpayer-funded subsidy blowing out to $101 million in 2011-12.

ACT Shadow Transport Services Minister Alistair Coe said this means every household is now forking out $691 for ACTION every year, whether they catch the bus or not.

“ACT Labor is incapable of spending money wisely, with the ACTION subsidy being just one example,” Mr Coe said today.

“Every household is slugged $691 every year for this ineffectively managed bus service, whether they use it or not.

“ACT Labor’s charging Canberrans more at a time when they’re receiving less, with ticket sales dropping to just $21 million.

For those without family-centric budgeting minds That’s $282 per person.

action subsiry graph

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ACTION subsidy blows out to $101 million
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pajs 3:59 pm 07 Jun 12

I catch four buses most days. The new timetable is taking a bit of time to adjust to, but I tried a different route-pair this morning and knocked 15 minutes off the trip in to work.

Complete no-shows or very-late-running services are pretty rare in Canberra, in my experience. Overall, across the different Canberra suburbs I’ve lived in, I’d say the weekday Canberra bus service is pretty good. MyWay has been a good change, speeding up the time it takes to get people onto the buses.

Where I think the service can improve is:
– A nudge up in peak hour frequencies
– Active displays of time to arrival of next service at bus stops (at least major stops)
– A trip query phone service like the old TransInfo service from Brisbane that could take queries about trip start and finish points and times, then give you the best trip option, including covering the walking legs of the trip
– Having a serious crack at linking services to shopping hubs (ie the Belconnen Markets) that currently force people to route a trip home, then a car trip out and back to shops.

I don’t catch the bus on weekends, except occasionally for going out, so can’t really comment on weekend services.

Jim Jones 3:56 pm 07 Jun 12

steveu said :

Fully support free buses as long as it doesnt take 20 mins to walk to your bus stop.

Walk faster.

steveu 3:38 pm 07 Jun 12

Agree with a different approach is required…something radical. Fully support free buses as long as it doesnt take 20 mins to walk to your bus stop. ie. the walk to your stop shouldnt take longer than the bus trip itself. Seems a bit self defeating.
Funding the free buses? More speed cameras of course. I mean they are money printing machines arnt they? 🙂

HenryBG 2:22 pm 07 Jun 12

markus_k said :

HenryBG said :

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

I am a regular bus user myself, and actually found “chronically unreliable” quite an accurate description.
Unless you consider a route that arrives anywhere between 10-15 mins before and 15 mins after its scheduled time, and has regularly not turned up at all, as nothing more than to be expected in a public transport system.

You’re making it up.
I catch the buses at least 3 days a week and I can probably think of about 3 occasions when a bus has gone missing for me over the last 3 years.

The service between city centres is brilliant – where else can you reliably get 10km away by bus in about 15 minutes *including* the time spent waiting at the bus stop?
The feeder routes require you to indulge in a bit of planning, and getting from one suburb to a different suburb is the bit where you can end up spending 30 minutes going round and around in circles.
No problem, bring your smartphone and a book and either work or entertain yourself as you are driven by somebody else to your destination.

dungfungus 2:08 pm 07 Jun 12

Jim Jones said :

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

Making the buses free isn’t necessarily going to increase patronage. This is because bus services only suit a certain number of people and they are chronically unreliable. Also, people driving to work have to have a car to drop off-pick up children, do shopping on the way home, go to the gym etc. The buses are only catering for the needs of last century’s commuters and school/uni students who haven’t yet got their own car. Canberra was specifically designed for everyone to have a car. ACTION is a union dominated and controlled dinosaur which re-invents itself every couple of years to justify its perceived ongoing need. It should be privatised and real demand would quickly sort out which routes were viable. I note NSW is considering selling off the public bus services in Sydney.

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

Canberra is a peculiar place where some people just don’t “get” public transport. Those of us who have lived elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to use the buses, and to teach our offspring to use them.
It really isn’t very hard.

I would be very interested in going through the costs of the service with a fine-toothed comb to find out where the money’s being wasted.
I’d particularly be looking at:
– unnecessary office space
– unnecessary office-workers
– uncompetitive contracts for providing services such as maintenance, cleaning
– over-generous shift loadings that are easy to “play” up.

Guaranteed there are a large number of people getting rich off this 100million/year by overcharging for their services, or for keeping a seat warm in an office somewhere when they are not needed.

Yeah, yeah Henry, whatever you say as you are the “expert”
Just do me a favour please and bag everyone else on this blog that has reported a negative experience with the same bus service that cossets some like you and couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about everyone else.
Your suggestions for probing the costs are nevertheless a good idea but everything that ACTION and their unions are involved in appear to be contiguous so good luck with that one.

I’m amazed that he managed to move so seamlessly from defending the quality of bus services (and blaming the public) to “there’s too much dead wood in this town and we need to fire a whole bunch of lazy people”.

He’s like the angry (ever so slightly senile) grandpa of RiotAct … off on yet another mental frolic of his own.

At least I have both hands on my keyboard.

parle 1:17 pm 07 Jun 12

So that 21m is probably gross, what about the overhead costs of having fares?, there’s no doubt whole teams at action who jobs are dependant on the process of collecting fares, the IT section alone to run myway would be in the millions.

why not just cut the budget down to 95m, fire anyone to do with fare system and make it free?

Jim Jones 12:59 pm 07 Jun 12

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

Making the buses free isn’t necessarily going to increase patronage. This is because bus services only suit a certain number of people and they are chronically unreliable. Also, people driving to work have to have a car to drop off-pick up children, do shopping on the way home, go to the gym etc. The buses are only catering for the needs of last century’s commuters and school/uni students who haven’t yet got their own car. Canberra was specifically designed for everyone to have a car. ACTION is a union dominated and controlled dinosaur which re-invents itself every couple of years to justify its perceived ongoing need. It should be privatised and real demand would quickly sort out which routes were viable. I note NSW is considering selling off the public bus services in Sydney.

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

Canberra is a peculiar place where some people just don’t “get” public transport. Those of us who have lived elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to use the buses, and to teach our offspring to use them.
It really isn’t very hard.

I would be very interested in going through the costs of the service with a fine-toothed comb to find out where the money’s being wasted.
I’d particularly be looking at:
– unnecessary office space
– unnecessary office-workers
– uncompetitive contracts for providing services such as maintenance, cleaning
– over-generous shift loadings that are easy to “play” up.

Guaranteed there are a large number of people getting rich off this 100million/year by overcharging for their services, or for keeping a seat warm in an office somewhere when they are not needed.

Yeah, yeah Henry, whatever you say as you are the “expert”
Just do me a favour please and bag everyone else on this blog that has reported a negative experience with the same bus service that cossets some like you and couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about everyone else.
Your suggestions for probing the costs are nevertheless a good idea but everything that ACTION and their unions are involved in appear to be contiguous so good luck with that one.

I’m amazed that he managed to move so seamlessly from defending the quality of bus services (and blaming the public) to “there’s too much dead wood in this town and we need to fire a whole bunch of lazy people”.

He’s like the angry (ever so slightly senile) grandpa of RiotAct … off on yet another mental frolic of his own.

mezza76 12:59 pm 07 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

Making the buses free isn’t necessarily going to increase patronage. This is because bus services only suit a certain number of people and they are chronically unreliable. Also, people driving to work have to have a car to drop off-pick up children, do shopping on the way home, go to the gym etc. The buses are only catering for the needs of last century’s commuters and school/uni students who haven’t yet got their own car. Canberra was specifically designed for everyone to have a car. ACTION is a union dominated and controlled dinosaur which re-invents itself every couple of years to justify its perceived ongoing need. It should be privatised and real demand would quickly sort out which routes were viable. I note NSW is considering selling off the public bus services in Sydney.

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

Canberra is a peculiar place where some people just don’t “get” public transport. Those of us who have lived elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to use the buses, and to teach our offspring to use them.
It really isn’t very hard.

I would be very interested in going through the costs of the service with a fine-toothed comb to find out where the money’s being wasted.
I’d particularly be looking at:
– unnecessary office space
– unnecessary office-workers
– uncompetitive contracts for providing services such as maintenance, cleaning
– over-generous shift loadings that are easy to “play” up.

Guaranteed there are a large number of people getting rich off this 100million/year by overcharging for their services, or for keeping a seat warm in an office somewhere when they are not needed.

It’s not that Canberrans ‘dont get’ public transport – its that there is no real reason to use it. Live in any other capital city in this country and getting to work by car takes hours to a journey. I used to live in a capital city where it took an hour to drive in peak hour and I lived in less than 5 kms from the city centre. Therefore the bus was the better option. Combine that with novated leases, freezing temps, unsafe bus interchanges with no lighting, and the most dispersed city in the country (exaggeration added), then is it any wonder? Should anyone be surprised that no one takes public transport when its a 5 minute car ride and a $7 parking cost with a subsidised car? They could pay people money to catch public transport in this town and id be still be shocked if patronage went up.

dungfungus 12:45 pm 07 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

Making the buses free isn’t necessarily going to increase patronage. This is because bus services only suit a certain number of people and they are chronically unreliable. Also, people driving to work have to have a car to drop off-pick up children, do shopping on the way home, go to the gym etc. The buses are only catering for the needs of last century’s commuters and school/uni students who haven’t yet got their own car. Canberra was specifically designed for everyone to have a car. ACTION is a union dominated and controlled dinosaur which re-invents itself every couple of years to justify its perceived ongoing need. It should be privatised and real demand would quickly sort out which routes were viable. I note NSW is considering selling off the public bus services in Sydney.

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

Canberra is a peculiar place where some people just don’t “get” public transport. Those of us who have lived elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to use the buses, and to teach our offspring to use them.
It really isn’t very hard.

I would be very interested in going through the costs of the service with a fine-toothed comb to find out where the money’s being wasted.
I’d particularly be looking at:
– unnecessary office space
– unnecessary office-workers
– uncompetitive contracts for providing services such as maintenance, cleaning
– over-generous shift loadings that are easy to “play” up.

Guaranteed there are a large number of people getting rich off this 100million/year by overcharging for their services, or for keeping a seat warm in an office somewhere when they are not needed.

Yeah, yeah Henry, whatever you say as you are the “expert”
Just do me a favour please and bag everyone else on this blog that has reported a negative experience with the same bus service that cossets some like you and couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about everyone else.
Your suggestions for probing the costs are nevertheless a good idea but everything that ACTION and their unions are involved in appear to be contiguous so good luck with that one.

markus_k 12:26 pm 07 Jun 12

HenryBG said :

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

I am a regular bus user myself, and actually found “chronically unreliable” quite an accurate description.
Unless you consider a route that arrives anywhere between 10-15 mins before and 15 mins after its scheduled time, and has regularly not turned up at all, as nothing more than to be expected in a public transport system.

mezza76 11:34 am 07 Jun 12

Antagonist said :

As a southsider, I found the old timetable was okay. The new timetable is disgraceful. A real shocker. I was catching a bus to Belco 4 days per week. I could jump on a bus to Tuggers, then wait 5-15 minutes for a 705 express to Belco. Around 50 minutes total trip time was just fine by me.

Now I have to waiit 25 minutes at Tuggers for a 705 to Belco … but found it is actually faster to just get on a 300 series bus and go via Woden and Civic. The new timetable actually added 25 minutes travel time for me. It takes 1hr 15 minutes on bus. This trip only takes 25 minutes in a car. In peak hour traffic.

This is an excellent example of why less people are using Action buses.

Yep – try catching a bus from Kingston to Woden. Unless you decide to head to Civic – its an 1hr long ride for a trip thats no more than 15 minutes by car. Until someone decides to make it reasonably convienient – its cheaper to pay for parking with one car that carries two people than it is to have 2 people catch a bus and add the best part of 2hrs to their day.

HenryBG 11:25 am 07 Jun 12

dungfungus said :

Making the buses free isn’t necessarily going to increase patronage. This is because bus services only suit a certain number of people and they are chronically unreliable. Also, people driving to work have to have a car to drop off-pick up children, do shopping on the way home, go to the gym etc. The buses are only catering for the needs of last century’s commuters and school/uni students who haven’t yet got their own car. Canberra was specifically designed for everyone to have a car. ACTION is a union dominated and controlled dinosaur which re-invents itself every couple of years to justify its perceived ongoing need. It should be privatised and real demand would quickly sort out which routes were viable. I note NSW is considering selling off the public bus services in Sydney.

As a regular bus user, I can tell you that there is nothing “chronically unreliable” about them. Not even remotely.
Obviously it pays to understand your subject or at least have some experience of it before passing opinion.

Canberra is a peculiar place where some people just don’t “get” public transport. Those of us who have lived elsewhere in the world are perfectly happy to use the buses, and to teach our offspring to use them.
It really isn’t very hard.

I would be very interested in going through the costs of the service with a fine-toothed comb to find out where the money’s being wasted.
I’d particularly be looking at:
– unnecessary office space
– unnecessary office-workers
– uncompetitive contracts for providing services such as maintenance, cleaning
– over-generous shift loadings that are easy to “play” up.

Guaranteed there are a large number of people getting rich off this 100million/year by overcharging for their services, or for keeping a seat warm in an office somewhere when they are not needed.

Antagonist 11:12 am 07 Jun 12

As a southsider, I found the old timetable was okay. The new timetable is disgraceful. A real shocker. I was catching a bus to Belco 4 days per week. I could jump on a bus to Tuggers, then wait 5-15 minutes for a 705 express to Belco. Around 50 minutes total trip time was just fine by me.

Now I have to waiit 25 minutes at Tuggers for a 705 to Belco … but found it is actually faster to just get on a 300 series bus and go via Woden and Civic. The new timetable actually added 25 minutes travel time for me. It takes 1hr 15 minutes on bus. This trip only takes 25 minutes in a car. In peak hour traffic.

This is an excellent example of why less people are using Action buses.

Rollersk8r 10:44 am 07 Jun 12

blub said :

I’d like to know when Coe last caught the bus.
I reckon all our MLA should catch the bus during peak hour and then tell us if they really think the service is crap.

I have been saying this for years! Should be mandatory for all MLAs to catch the bus! The most vocal critics are the ones least like to use it!

And as much as I hate the Americanism I’ll use it anyway: it is what it is. I hate catching the bus and I can think of plenty of situations where it would be less workable than it already is for me. But I still use the bus all the time as one of dozens of cost/benefit/convenience decisions I make daily…

And hey – if they’re spending a heap of money on upgrades how about free wi-fi??

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