24 August 2021

Bus services reduced as COVID affects driver and passenger numbers

| James Coleman
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Bus shelter

Canberra’s iconic bus Canberra’s bus shelters are increasingly empty. Photo: File.

With fewer bus drivers and passengers due to quarantine and the Territory-wide lockdown, Canberra buses are moving to a Christmas-style timetable this week.

The interim bus timetable will commence Wednesday (25 August) and remain in place until further notice.

“The COVID-19 situation in the ACT continues to evolve with an increasing number of bus drivers required to comply with ACT Health directions and unable to attend work,” a Transport Canberra spokesperson said.

“We are introducing these changes now to ensure regular and reliable services are able to be delivered for essential workers and their children without putting any further pressure on our workforce.”

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Last week, Canberrans were warned of disruptions to the regular bus service as many drivers had to isolate themselves after a number of bus journeys were declared exposure sites.

Essential workers are also opting for private cars over public transport, likely due to the growing number of public transport exposure sites.

Under the interim bus timetable, all local services and the Rapid 10 will run at least every 30 minutes. Other Rapids will run at least every 15 minutes during the day and every hour after 8:00 pm on weekdays.

This is the same timetable that ran over the summer holiday period.

COVID mask notice

Mask notice at Woden Bus Interchange. Photo: David Murtagh.

Transport Canberra assures customers that “while the timetable sees a reduction in services, it still provides enough frequency to get people that rely on public transport where they need to be.”

Weekend services will remain the same and light rail is on track to continue its regular service.

As for school services, Transport Canberra is working with the Education Directorate and private schools to ensure families are provided with information regarding services available to students attending face-to-face learning during the lockdown.

Dedicated school buses won’t be running, but Transport Canberra can provide a bespoke service, arranged via the school, for students who rely on them. Check with your school if your child is attending in person and uses a dedicated school bus.

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The Special Needs and Flexible transport services remain unaffected at this time.

“We thank our customers for their understanding during this time and our workforce for their commitment to ensuring reliable services at this difficult time,” Transport Canberra said.

The interim timetables are now available online.

You can check progress on NXTBUS for real-time service information or call 13 17 10. Transport Canberra will keep passengers updated via their website and social media.

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For weeks now buses have travelled their routes with no passengers to spot. With most people working from home and in lockdown, the only reason to continue the buses was to keep the drivers employed. At least they were running on time.

Ahh…also to get people to medical appointments who may not have a private motor vehicle, kids to school where they have to go there, people who may not drive to get food supplies…essential services workers to work…..sad that you didn’t even think to take these situations into consideration but never pass up the opportunity to union bash, eh mate.

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