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Bus route complaints on to-do list for new Transport Minister

Ian Bushnell 27 June 2019 55

New Transport Minister Chris Steel: “I will be working to ensure we have the best possible integrated public transport network that our growing city needs.” Photos: George Tsotsos.

New Transport Minister Chris Steel says he will be briefed next week on each individual route of the new bus network to ensure that it is working as well as possible for commuters across the city.

Mr Steel gave little away at his first media conference as minister, repeatedly stressing that more people were now using public transport than before, but said the directorate had received a significant amount of feedback on the new network, which has been under fire from commuters, particularly in the south, whose routes have disappeared or journeys lengthened or made more complex.

“With any new network, we know it has changes for some people that benefit them and other changes that aren’t as beneficial. Transport Canberra and City Services will be considering all of that feedback and working out how to improve the network going forward but what we’ve seen is a significant  number of people that were not using public transport before now using our integrated public transport network since the new system got under way.”

“That’s a very good outcome but we need to make sure that we continue to deliver a network that works for all Canberrans.”

He said the Government wanted to grow the network and encourage more people to use it, and Transport Canberra would continue to monitor its operations so that it met everybody’s needs.

“I will be working to ensure we have the best possible integrated public transport network that our growing city needs,” he said.

His predecessor Meegan Fitzharris had said there would be adjustments to the network where needed.

With an election next year, fixing the bus network will be a must for Mr Steel, who also recommitted the Government to extending light rail to Woden, noting that the Government had successfully delivered Stage 1.

“As a life-long southsider I am committed to bringing light rail across the lake to extend the benefits of jobs and of an even better transport network and regeneration to other parts of the city,” he said.

While the new Major Projects agency will be a key partner in delivering Stage 2, Mr Steel said he was looking forward to working constructively with the Commonwealth and making Commonwealth ministers aware of the benefits the project would provide, particularly to the south side of Canberra.

New Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith stressed the importance of a culture of transparency.

He expected to be making significant announcements in the next few months about the next steps of the approvals process relating to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity ACT.

“It’s a much more complex project than Stage 1. It’s incredibly important to deliver the north-south spine that we need in our public transport network, and to make sure that everyone in our city can benefit,” he said.

“I will be applying all my effort into making sure that this happens as quickly as it can and in the best way possible. We know there are significant challenges through this project and we’ve just got to continue to work through each of those challenges.”

Responding to feelings that the south may have been neglected in recent times, Mr Steel said that with light rail Stage 2 and the proposed SPIRE project at Canberra Hospital there had been a significant shift in where infrastructure has to be directed.

It will be a big learning curve for Mr Steel, who was only promoted to Cabinet last year, and is also responsible for City Services, Roads, Community Services and Facilities, and Multicultural Affairs.

Joining him was the other beneficiary of Ms Fitzharris’s imminent departure, new Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith who will take on the challenges of chairing the workplace cultural review oversight committee, ongoing issues around waiting times at emergency departments and elective surgery and working with Major Projects on the SPIRE project.

She said her priorities were to continue the culture of transparency that she encouraged in her other portfolios of Youth and Families, Workplace Safety, Government Services and Procurement and Urban Renewal, and that all staff and clinicians were engaged in the reforms and developments across the health system.

Acknowledging that Health was a portfolio that would draw heavy fire from the Opposition, Ms Stephen-Smith said she had already come under intense scrutiny in her other portfolios.

“Politics is a tough game. It’s not personal it’s actually about the policy, and for me it’s about how we deliver the best service to Canberrans across our health system,” she said.


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55 Responses to Bus route complaints on to-do list for new Transport Minister
Julie Murkins Julie Murkins 11:15 pm 27 Jun 19

Chris - please look at Kambah - please. Kids can’t get to school, people can’t get to doctors or appointments. Please reconsider the cuts in Tuggeranong.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 9:53 am 28 Jun 19

    100% the Bus impacts have been terrible on Tuggeranong residents who don't live near its two Rapid Routes, it is completely shocking and so unfair on southside strugglers without cars. Also worth noting that Belco gets 4 Rapids, inner north and south Canberra get 6 Rapids. Kambah bus changes take the cake for worst design under the network however.

    Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 2:08 pm 28 Jun 19

    Jeff Smith Yes, I walk to the Rapid Route to get to work. on time

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:24 pm 28 Jun 19

    Jeff Smith number if rapids is totally meaningless and ignores geography.

    Like or not Tuggeranong is at the end of Canberra. Belconnen sits between North Canberra and Gungahlin so the rapid “count” is because of that. And north and south Canberra get so many because that’s where all bar two rapids converge. But don’t let that get in the way of a Southside rant.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:06 pm 28 Jun 19

    You've been on the Riotact for months, consistently telling us all how excellent the new Bus network is and what an amazing job Transport Canberra are doing with the new transport services. This isn't about a Southside rant, its about all those Kambah people who have had an extra 6 hours a week added to their commute, its about all those Tuggeranong kids who lost their school services and it's about people right across the outer suburbs of Canberra who were promised better bus services under the new network and were actually delivered worse services when it was rolled out. I'm glad it's a much better service for you and a bunch of other people, but I'm afraid to tell you there is a huge percentage of Canberrans who are much worse off after all the changes Even the chief minister and the new transport minister are now starting to admit that there are too many losers under the new network and they made some mistakes. You can fool yourself that everything for Canberra public transport is better, but you can't fool the people who are so much worse off travelling in the real world. Are you sure you don't have any Canberra Transport, ACT Government, Union or Labor connections?

Shane Westmore Shane Westmore 11:13 pm 27 Jun 19

why is it now that a trip planner from airport to Dickson suggests i wait 15 to 20 minutes in Civic for the next bus or light rail for a 1 hour to 1h15min trip when previously it took maybe 45 minutes? are they trying to get us to use Uber? because it's looking like the better option!

gooterz gooterz 10:31 pm 27 Jun 19

Bring back the 333.

    JC JC 7:28 pm 28 Jun 19

    That would never work. People would whinge they need to change buses.

    That aside the rapids of course are the modern version of the 333! Just that they go to more places.

Geniene Webster Geniene Webster 9:45 pm 27 Jun 19

Maybe read what the complaints actually were....

Jonno Hasselhoff Jonno Hasselhoff 9:38 pm 27 Jun 19

I like the new bus timetables.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:15 pm 28 Jun 19

    Are you within walking distance of a Rapid Route by any chance? These are the real winners under the new network and they should like the new bus timetables. People who lost their local buses or had their routes re-directed well out of the way, are the real losers. The new network was always about delivering really great services for about 33% of Canberrans but unfortunately at the expense of the rest.

    Heather Whittle Heather Whittle 6:59 am 29 Jun 19

    Jonno Hasselhoff mine is totally stuffed! Nothing comes to my bus stop any more

Michael Ahern Michael Ahern 8:56 pm 27 Jun 19

Start with the school buses and abandoning a model that is only designed to force people to use the tram

Kerry Jackson Kerry Jackson 7:16 pm 27 Jun 19

Can my suburban bus route, the 32, link to a rapid? Which is what we are told is supposed to happen? Rather than the hit and miss we suffer now. And the standing room only on the way home.

    Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 7:34 pm 27 Jun 19

    Yes, standing room, on so many peak services now

Harry Sotiropoulos Harry Sotiropoulos 6:57 pm 27 Jun 19

Bring back the 200 rapids.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:30 pm 28 Jun 19

    Harry Sotiropoulos and the 40-45 minute peak hour journey time and bus full signs? Those 200’s?

Lyn Kemp Lyn Kemp 6:49 pm 27 Jun 19

Fix the school bus routes. Can't work out why they have been left in such a ridiculous manner. Kids need to be safe!!

Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 6:44 pm 27 Jun 19

Would be nice if a few of the school services returned. Especially those servicing the people most in need of government services

Sharon Dikmans Sharon Dikmans 6:43 pm 27 Jun 19

Put back all school busses!!!

Kristie Ward Kristie Ward 6:37 pm 27 Jun 19

Hopefully they accomodate the most vulnerable in the community, our kids.

Irene Crockford Irene Crockford 6:35 pm 27 Jun 19

Stop monitoring and fix the system!

    Maria Greene Maria Greene 11:03 pm 27 Jun 19

    What an excellent idea. Bring back the number 3, restore all our lost express buses, please. Where are the more buses more often? Certainly not in Curtin. Only an idiot designed a system where journeys require frequent changes and take much longer than previously

Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 6:30 pm 27 Jun 19

I'm driving the old school bus route.

Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 6:18 pm 27 Jun 19

Fix the 70 AND 71 Kambah services so they dont run at exactly the same time all during the day and stop taking them through Coolamon Court, this has added almost 15 minutes to every trip to Woden.

    Emmac Ph Emmac Ph 12:32 pm 28 Jun 19

    Doris Andrews I made a submission regarding staggering the departure times for the 2 services- to have them run within a minute of each other is utter stupidity.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:11 pm 28 Jun 19

    I made a complaint to my local MLA Green and Labor representatives and was told I was the only Kambah resident to make a formal complaint. Kambah residents need to stand up for their neighbours and make some noise about the loss of Bus services in the Suburb. Some suburbs kicked up a big stink and stopped their school from being closed, Kambah residents let three schools close with hardly a whimper.

Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 6:15 pm 27 Jun 19

I really hope there will be changes very soon to end the hardship of the new bus timetable.

    Nicole Juratowitch Nicole Juratowitch 9:03 pm 27 Jun 19

    Doris Andrews so do I, it’s really depressing and frustrating

David Brown David Brown 6:13 pm 27 Jun 19

Let’s see if he can fix the mess she left him?

Vanessa Lalliard Vanessa Lalliard 6:07 pm 27 Jun 19

Katie you might like to follow this considering the horrendous experiences you are having since the changes

    Katie Hill Katie Hill 6:33 pm 27 Jun 19

    thank you

    Katie Hill Katie Hill 6:37 pm 27 Jun 19

    I might actually drop him an email with some dot points. Particularly around weekend buses.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 6:04 pm 27 Jun 19

Let’s hope Mr Steele can get Transport Canberra to undertake some proper analysis into the Bus network changes winners, losers and lost potential.

Ms Fitzharris carefully hid the analysis and would only admit certain information and issues after the details came to light through a media report, estimates committee or expert transport analyst.

He has a really good opportunity to improve the public transport disaster that was thrust on residents who live more than 800m walk from a Rapid Transport route. He will be a popular man and receive a lot of credit if he can resolve some of the issues Ms Fitzharris created.

Kerry Dent Kerry Dent 6:02 pm 27 Jun 19

Change lines 57 and 58 back to old routes please.

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