Wanniassa Park and Ride will be expanded, new bus shelters installed and bus stops upgraded throughout the Tuggeranong Valley, the ACT Government has announced.
Transport Minister Chris Steel, joined by three Labor southside MLAs, made the announcement on Wednesday, the third in two days about Tuggeranong, signalling that the Government accepts the Valley is in need of attention with less than a year to go to the election.
Mr Steel said demand at the Park and Ride had surged since it opened a few years ago and it would now be expanded by 30 spaces.
“Since we opened the Wanniassa Park and Ride and the new bus stop on Athllon Drive just a few years ago, we’ve seen huge growth in its use and we want even more people to use it to take public transport,” he said.
“We’ve listened to the Tuggeranong community and we will expand the Wanniassa Park and Ride with 30 additional car spaces to make it easier for residents to access new Rapid services that we’ve added.”
Mr Steel also announced that more bus shelters will be installed along Ashley Drive for passengers using the Rapid 5 route and upgrades to other bus stops throughout the Tuggeranong Valley.
“These upgrades and improvements will make it easier for people to access public transport and to find their bus easily. The new signage will match the rollouts in the City and Woden ensuring consistency across the Territory,” he said.
Mr Steel said design work was also underway on the duplication of Athllon Drive to improve traffic flow and access to public transport.
“This is just the start. We’ll continue to build on our positive plans for Tuggeranong,” Mr Steel said.
But the Canberra Liberals say the Government’s removal of routes and stops had only put more pressure on the Park and Ride.
“It’s no wonder the Wanniassa Park and Ride is becoming more popular because so many bus stops and bus routes throughout Wanniassa have been closed,” Deputy Leader Nicole Lawder said.
“So residents in this area have no option but to drive their cars and come here, and this has meant congestion at the local shops.”
She said the new bus stops were welcome but did not make up for the closed bus stops in other areas of Tuggeranong.
The Liberals have committed to restoring axed school services but Ms Lawder said work was still being done on the party’s transport policy and more would be revealed closer to the election.
Mr Steel said the Government was taking on board feedback about the new bus network with 180 changes made to date but he would not say if any axed routes in Tuggeranong would be restored.
He said the Liberals would face a lack of drivers and buses if they wanted to reinstate services without making cuts of their own.
Ms Lawder said the Government had been in power for nearly two decades and any issues with drivers and the bus fleet were of its own making.
Public transport will be an election battlefield in October, evidenced by the fact that Mr Steel was accompanied by Mick Gentleman, Joy Burch and Bec Cody, and Ms Lawder also turned up to respond to the announcement.