1 August 2005

Buses are bulging

| johnboy
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The Canberra Times has a curious piece, split over two items here and here about a recent survey.

It seems the Gubbmint’s recent pay parking attrocities have forced more people onto buses. Of course more capacity has not been laid on so the buses are now bulging.

Money that could have been spent on more buses and drivers is being spent on a real time bus timetable system, so if you can’t afford to run the car under the Government’s policy you will know exactly how long it will be before the next over-crowded bus comes along. Other money that could have been spent on more buses and drivers is going to be spent on busways which will travel at exactly the same speed between city centres, before they dump into the road congestion which surrounds those centres. The busways also have the neat virtue of removig buses from routes along which they could pick up and set down passengers.

Meanwhile the Government is resolute in refusing to deploy it’s loss making bus network to the airport because, er, the route would run at a loss. Which makes one wonder at ACTION’s cost structure as it seems people who hire their own damn bus can make the route pay just fine thank you. Only they’re not allowed to do anything useful, like pick up and drop people along the way, because the Government will brook no competition to ACTION.

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

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Monthly ticket = $80 = $20/week
Parking = $20/week

Add petrol and the car is more expensive. I’m not going to include insurance/rego/etc like others do, you pay them as well as using a bus (because I’m sure we all go places other than just work occasionally 🙂

If you don’t think you’d bus everyday, sometimes we have other things to do on the way home, just get 10xtickets ($21.50? or around that) and it’s still only $1.50 / week more, not counting petrol.

So yes it is cheaper to bus, just not as convinient on some days (and you can drive them :-). The savings are alot more noticeable when you live in Tuggers and work Belco, or vice versa (esp since Tuggers parking is $4.50) because of the petrol saving.

Vic ,
I started catching a bus into work (Civic) because all the free spots in town have dried up. It’s great in school holidays – very relaxing. During school term not so much.

I work in Belconnen. Paid parking costs $4 a day – return bus fair from my place costs $5.20 per day. OK, it might be cheaper on a monthly pass. But there’s no real incentive there for me to go ACTION.

Now if they charged what parking costs in the middle of the Sydney CBD – $25+ a day, then I’d be on the bus as quick as.

We all laughed at the govt’s reasons for introducing paid parking – it’s simply revenue raising and has no part in their ‘greater scheme’.

There was one transport expert quoted a few weeks ago in the CT as saying, in essence, that the only way to force people onto public transport was to choke the roads so that the whole driving in peak time experience was appalling. Then make parking prohibitively expensive when they got there. No GDE. No other 3-lane freeways on parkways.

While it’s an easy drive, and parking is cheap, people will continue to drive!

Vic Bitterman8:58 pm 01 Aug 05

I am not aware of a single person who has changed from driving to work, to catching a bus because of the introduction of paid parking.

Just look at Tuggeranong – all the people parking on grass strips and dustbowls (mudbowls a few weeks back). It makes the locations of parking more visible…

I heard a rumour that the airport development somehow built in a huge fee for any busses to go there. Simon Corbell never mentions this, but it is the goss amongst DEWR workers.
That’s why I would be cautious about letting one single developer get their hands on the centre of civic.

So you don’t think people would kick up a stink if ACTION put on a bus that you couldn’t use normal tickets on, cost $5.50 each way, only ran every hour and finshed at 6? I’d say they probably would.

Isn’t there something between Canberra Cabs and the government limiting busses in some way? I thought I had heard something like that before, might be wrong.

Why areaman ?

For gods sake they’re only driving buses around the city. It’s not the ACT into Space drive project.

Why can’t they put on a service ? – They can put a bigger bus on, at reduced cost.

Who said they can’t ?

I’d say it’s more the new network which goes where people want when they want was more the driver in patronage growth.

Yes it is half arsed which is why it’s profitable, hence the answer to this question you posed:

Which makes one wonder at ACTION’s cost structure as it seems people who hire their own damn bus can make the route pay just fine thank you.

It’s not just about the cost structure it about the fact that the private operators aren’t held up to the same standards as ACTION is. The Dean’s Airliner costs $5.50 each way with no connections and runs once an hour, ACTION wouldn’t be allowed to get away with that. The DEWR/Kier’s busses run only at certain times from isolated locations and they still run at a massive loss, again ACTION couldn’t do that.

Oh right, so it was the “pluses of buses” advertising campaign that forced the public to see the error of their ways? Please!

And who’s going to hike up o’connor ridge to catch the bus there? People like to be near (but not too near) arterial roads but I don’t see a busway having the same pulling power to people who still need the car to get the groceries home.

Sure the half-arsed private service is crap, that’s because it’s half arsed and can’t compete with a full network.

As for efficiency ratings of ACTION they need to be kept in relation to the other transport networks that the major cities have. here in Canberra it’s all buses.

JB that survey is no basis for the “facts” you quote in your story, there is nothing there saying that the reason for the increase in patronage is dure to pay parking issues. And I believe there is going to be a projected decrease in transport times with busways (especially at peak times) and the busways will have stops on them.

As someone who knows a lot about the DEWR BBP buses let me just say they are a joke. For the morning buses you have to be at Russel (which is a pain already if you live in Tuggers or Belco) at ungodly hours in the morning where the buses don’t stop and wait as there not at official bus stops. The Shuttle bus runs every hour so it takes at least 2 hours to go for even a 15 minute meeting. And both these services run at a massive loss for the department (as they are free). Of course DEWR wants to bully ACTION into running a service out there, it’ll save them a heap of cash, but they weren’t willing to subsidise it, nor make patronage guarantees.

I know of a MLA who lives in Yarralumla who in her own words, want’s to represent the people at ground level in the assembly. That’s why she’s maintaining her public house, so she can get the feel of the people…

I’m sure if you sent her your mail directly Anu, it would be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

If you don’t want to see it burned on the next outdoor bbq, I would suggest that at least one liberal member of the MLA, and active RiotACT poster has already heard your concerns 🙂

Who is the best person to write dissatisfied letters to about this? Transport Minister (do we even have one)? Planning Minister? MLA? Cheif Minister? CEO of Action? All of the above?

thats the reason I start work at 7 and finish at 4 – you get a whole bus to yourself…

I have been known to take a day off if I sleep in rather than face a packed 312.

While the ACT public transport system leaves much to be desired, at least the numbers and the efficiency compare better than the Sydney system.

I feel you knockin’ Mael!

I’m starting to think I should become a hermit.

At least then I would be the one responsible for shitting in my own cave, instead of relying on the ACT Government to dump a whole load in there for me.

Can somebody please remind me why these people get elected ? – It’s certainly not based upon their ability to represent the people.

We’ve got overfilled, then empty busses running around servicing the city at irregular intervals, without capability to get to the airport (I found that one surprising as I considered that a prerequisite), nobody want’s to look seriously at a rail system because it’s too expensive, but are prepared to pay an equivalent amount of money expanding the bus service and create more bitumen.

MLA’s who live in public housing, potential public housing candidates living on the streets, a chief minister who’s most attributable feature is that he looks like an excited donkeys ass, and housing development over infrastructure that seems to not have been updated since horse drawn carts were the height of technology.

Water shortages, dams at the same levels even though it rained for the last 2 weeks – so where did the water go ?, ACTEWAGL conducting business more anti-competitively than Microsoft, and the price of BEER keeps on going UP !

Let’s not even mention the fact that 2 years ago GW Bush said ‘we won’, but we’re paying even more for oil now than when NO oil was coming from Iraq.

And I’m not being encouraged to ride a horse to work. Infact I’m sure I’d get fined for illegally parking it outside my parliamentary triangle department building if I tried.

What the hell is going on ?

Who’s in charge here ?

What the hell do we have to do to fix it ?

Samuel Gordon-Stewart12:25 pm 01 Aug 05

It is actually funny in some ways.
The 38 I catch in the morning is packed with people (myself included) on their way to Dickson College. The school bus which leaves the city a tad later (and is one of the long articulated buses) is virtually empty.

If they ran the school bus earlier then students would get a seat, and the 38 passengers would be happier.

The reason buses are packed is that ACTION don’t put enough thought into these things, if they did then the bus system would be more efficient.

then people will get fed up with bulging buses and drive their own car.

of course with lightrail, you just add another carriage. one tram driver. more capacity.

when will the act govt get the message.

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