Call for extra public transport services in wake of hail storm

Ian Bushnell 23 January 2020 86
Cars with shattered windscreens

Cars with shattered windscreens at NewActon. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT Government is being urged to boost public transport services and staffing to meet extra demand caused by thousands of hail-damaged vehicles being off the road.

Monday’s short but fierce storm wreaked havoc on vehicles caught in the barrage of hail stones and there is likely to be a long wait for many to get back on the road with repairers and insurers inundated.

The Australian Motor Body Repairers Association says panel beaters could be fixing hail-damaged cars for the rest of the year, and the Insurance Council of Australia declared the ACT a catastrophe zone, with more than 15,000 insurance claims already in train.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra says the Government should provide practical public transport assistance for people whose vehicles can’t be driven.

PTCBR chair Ryan Hemsley said about 10,000 people may be impacted.

“Some will be adequately insured, including having access to a replacement rental car. Many others may need to make greater use of public transport, including buses and light rail,” he said.

Mr Hemsley said the ACT Government should significantly increase weekend services on routes to under-served areas such as the Molonglo Valley to enable affected Canberrans to reliably access employment, shopping, medical and social activities.

He said the people of Molonglo only had access to limited services operating every two hours and with a circuitous route to their closest major supermarkets.

The Government should also require additional Transport Canberra employees to work on weekends and public holidays if necessary, even if this requires changes to the long-standing composite pay and weekend staffing arrangements.

He added that the government should also provide targeted information to new and infrequent public transport users about how to best get to the major commercial and community centres and events.

But Transport Minister Chris Steel said the network was coping with a 3 per cent increase in demand.

“Monday’s hailstorms were devastating for so many Canberrans and I know this is a hard time for people who experienced damage to their homes and vehicles,” he said.

“Since the storm, we have been monitoring public transport patronage, and while there has been a small increase in passengers, the network has been able to manage the additional load with no need for more services.”

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86 Responses to Call for extra public transport services in wake of hail storm
Anthea Brouwer Anthea Brouwer 7:29 pm 31 Jan 20

The public bus transport system was completely obliterated once the tram is a wait for 2 hours to get home


Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:32 pm 27 Jan 20

I’m waiting for the next survey on public transport use in Canberra. I expect that it will be the same outcome as it was on the Gold Coast after their tram service was introduced to replace busses.

That outcome was an aggregate reduction in patronage of public transport and they will further reduce the figure if the Woden – City “tram to replace bus” stage 2 light rail goes ahead.

There was a time when the ACTION busses could have been sold (or gifted) to a private operator. No chance of that now which means Canberrans are left with a multi-million dollar stranded “bus network asset” which must be now needing a $200 million a year subsidy to keep going. Converting the fleet to electric or hydrogen power won’t make any difference to passenger numbers.

What a mess.

    JC JC 7:15 am 28 Jan 20

    Action buses used to be sold at between 15-20 years old. Since then NSW which is where most of the second hand buses went has changed how they operate buses including lower fleet and average fleet age calculations which in turn has dropped the bottom out of the second hand bus market. Action now keeps buses for up to 25 years (with some slightly older). Anyway not sure your point keeping them longer means you get more out of that asset.

    As for patronage you still don’t get it that the Gold Coast tram is a success and this far the Canberra one is too. Only need to ride it to see the amount of people using it and people getting on a places where you never saw people waiting for a bus. Northborne Ave for example.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:59 pm 30 Jan 20

    I meant “sell the whole operation” JC, not just random old busses.

    If the busses were still running in Northbourne Avenue they would still be using the bus stops which have been replaced by tram stops.

    JC JC 6:13 pm 30 Jan 20

    Yeah I worked that out after I hit submit.

    As for northborne Ave the passengers using the tram were not using the buses that went along that road before. Very few people used those stops wheras now you will see a good 10 passengers a tram at Swindon Street stop, before never saw anyone get on there. I’ll ignore Dickson as people are forced to change there (one thing I do think is silly the buses from Kaleen/Giralang not going into the city) the McAuthur Ave always half dozen people every peak hour tram, before none and even the ones closer in have people getting on and off and on the buses hardly anyone. And it’s not like the suburban buses in that area have changed significantly to say bus cuts are forcing them on the tram. These are very much new passengers and that’s before new housing has been finished along Northborne.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:34 pm 31 Jan 20

    Correct, it’s about population density with trams. More sardines mean bigger cans. Transit engineering at its best.

    JS9 JS9 8:57 am 28 Jan 20

    Please do provide examples of where a public transport system has been ‘sold’ to private operators….

    As always, plenty of whining on here, but few positive alternative ideas.

    JC JC 8:11 pm 29 Jan 20

    You might need to have a closer read of that article you have linked to.

    They are proposing to privatise the operation of the trains and trams, just like they have done with their buses for the best part of 20 years.

    That’s not exactly an example of selling off a system And is contracting out the operation, and one would think a Liberal supporter like you would welcome government outsourcing.

    I personally cannot think of too many systems in Australia that were government and sold off. The vast majority are government owned but privately operated.

    JC JC 6:16 pm 30 Jan 20

    And that new article you have linked to again the use of the word privatise is referring to the contracting out the operation which is fairly common not selling the whole lot as you suggested above.

    And might surprise you I think the operation of action should be privatised.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:36 pm 01 Feb 20

    When drivers don’t turn up for work unless it suits them as is the current system it is time for the taxpayers who pay their wages to demand something better (without the unions being involved).

Peter Mcleod Peter Mcleod 8:01 pm 26 Jan 20

Your vote will count this year get rid of the labor greens alliance they have failed on health transport prisons and general support of a city in drought. Trees are left to die instead of watering tankers in previous years.In a drought many years ago fire engines were utilized to pump out of the lake to water trees etc. This CFMEU govt deserves to be thrown out, crime rates up in suburbs with Berry's salt and pepper approach, perhaps not in hers though, and look at labor club developments in units etc. We need an ICAC.

    Tammy Britt Welsh Tammy Britt Welsh 8:43 am 27 Jan 20

    Peter Mcleod and the alternative policies are??????

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:39 am 26 Jan 20

John Moulis suggests there is an opportunity to now build the VFT. In fact, one of the benefits of another railway would be the corridor acting as a firebreak as used to be the case in the days before existing railway networks were closed down. In fact, there were strict rules imposed by the rail authorities regarding the width of the easement where the track was laid and the regular requirement to reduce grass and other flammable material in the area bordered by the easement. While the main purpose of this was to minimise fire risk from steam engine cinders (embers) the secondary purpose was to provide a physical firebreak through many of the private properties the track crossed. I can recall several large grass/wheat fires being contained in this way around Parkes and Forbes about 60 years ago.
Most Riotact readers won’t have a clue what I am talking about of course.

Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 7:36 am 26 Jan 20

Well they cut the only bus that went to my workplace...

maxblues maxblues 3:47 am 26 Jan 20

Hence the term…’Hail a bus’…

Trev Astle Trev Astle 4:17 pm 25 Jan 20

How does hail damage to skin of car effect the actual mechanical go part of a car. It doesn't! Get a new windscreen and just drive.

    Ken Quilty Ken Quilty 5:38 pm 25 Jan 20

    Trev Astle nothing mechanical, just structural damage in the roof, A-pillars & B-pillars will do it though

    Jenny Thomas Jenny Thomas 6:35 am 26 Jan 20

    And there windscreen available atm either. They wont do them if the car is likely written off

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:21 am 26 Jan 20

    Trev Astle the other issue is some people haven’t had their cars assessed yet and quite logically don’t want to spend money replacing a windscreen on a car that may be written off by the insurance company.

    Liz Cusack Liz Cusack 6:18 pm 26 Jan 20

    YdaYoumage the A pillar and most likely write off the car. You want that to be strong to protect you in rollover

Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 3:12 pm 25 Jan 20

I wonder if there is any capacity to put on extra services?? I imagine there are a limited number of buses and drivers...

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:53 am 25 Jan 20

When I bought my house I checked public transport and didn't expect to always depend on the car. I also checked on how far it was from work to ride a bike there. Then I downgraded my expectations for what I wanted in a house considerably so I could afford to live within cycling distance to work and close to public transport. I managed to get a tiny house on a 450metre sq block (99 sq metre house, R rating 0 and no hot water plumbed and in VERY original condition), but I would have bought a unit if necessary. It appears many here thought, 'I have a car; that's all I need', and gave scant thought to other modes of transport.

    Bianca Lorenne Bianca Lorenne 3:40 pm 25 Jan 20

    Julie Macklin yes because standard of living is more important than a daily commute to many 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:31 am 26 Jan 20

    Considering the last house in Narrabundah with roughly a 450sqm block sold for $1.2 million and the last similar size property in Richardson sold for $500k, I'm just not sure that many Canberrans have a realistic option of buying in inner city suburbs to ensure better Bus services. It just isn't geographically possible for everyone in a city to live in a small well serviced block in the central suburbs. I would prefer a city that provides reasonable services for all areas, not a city that keeps taking away services from outer suburbs to provide more services and facilities for the inner suburbs.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:07 am 26 Jan 20

    Jeff Smith Maybe you are one of the people who will not drop what they expect in a house/unit (thinking first home buyers here) to live closer to more convenient transport and to work. Please tell what house in Narrabundah on a 450 sq metre block sold for $1.2 million. Houses that sell for that price tend to be on much larger blocks. This house in Narrabundah is offers over $700,000, but at times there are houses cheaper than that and there are also even cheaper units available. The house that I downgraded my wants for so I could live in cycling distance to work and near a bus (now removed) was not of the quality of this example, and those houses do still at times come on the market. The Bega and the Marlee design houses from the 1950s. Seems you might be too much of of a snob to consider houses at the bottom of the hill for first home buyers.

Ric Hingee Ric Hingee 10:00 am 25 Jan 20

I suspect the Greens organised the hail storm to get all these cars off the road.

    John Moulis John Moulis 1:12 pm 25 Jan 20

    One conspiracy theory I've heard is that the bushfires were started along the route of the Very Fast Train, and that the government is trying to buy that land to build the VFT. Notwithstanding the suffering caused by the fires I hope it happens. Something good has to come out of all of this and a good legacy would be the 21st century travel that other countries have had for years.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:49 pm 25 Jan 20

    Ric Hingee no doubt. And they ordered all the smoke and...

Tim Songp Tim Songp 8:19 am 25 Jan 20

Canberra should redesign itself to be more walkable city

    Valerie Foster Valerie Foster 10:44 pm 25 Jan 20

    Thanus Songprasart too spread out.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:34 am 27 Jan 20

    Considering that the great walking city of Copenhagen's populated centre density would mean that we could fit double Canberra's entire population in just North Canberra, I don't think it is easy to redesign Canberra as a walkable city.

Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 8:18 am 25 Jan 20

I suspect this is going to get worse before it gets better. Some cars won’t be even assessed for weeks and then repairs (if possible) to follow.

Uté Diversi Uté Diversi 7:39 am 25 Jan 20

Grab a bike, guys! 🚲🚲🏍️

Chris Jones Chris Jones 7:35 am 25 Jan 20

But we were told that light rail is all we need ... why do we need more?

Michelle Cardwell Michelle Cardwell 6:53 am 25 Jan 20

We don't even get good PT when there's no hail, why now?!? 😂

John Hynes John Hynes 6:50 am 25 Jan 20

Remove public transport. Reinstate it and claim they care. If there isnt a vote or cash in it, it wont happen.

Stas Idowu Stas Idowu 6:42 am 25 Jan 20

Government needs to step up and increase bus services. Forget the tram for a minute, we need more buses!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:29 am 26 Jan 20

    Stas Idowu where do you suggest they get them from? And don’t say ones parked up after the timetable change, because that timetable change actually INCREASED the number of services.

    Heather Grant Heather Grant 10:54 am 28 Jan 20

    Suggest they hire extras from Deane's and Keir's (and anywhere else close by that have spare buses for hire). Instead of looking at the 3% across the board increase in ACT PT usage, target those suburbs where usage has increased more significantly. It doesn't seem that hard?

Anne Munns Anne Munns 5:10 pm 24 Jan 20

Yes please.....:-)

Amanda Adams Amanda Adams 4:21 pm 24 Jan 20

Gee that will be fun for everyone effected 😮

Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 2:43 pm 24 Jan 20

People want to reduce the impact on the environment......start riding your bike to work people. Good for you and the climate

    Jill Lyall Jill Lyall 11:20 pm 24 Jan 20

    Craig Elliott do you want to know the reasons why that is not an option for many people?

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 7:09 am 25 Jan 20

    My office is 30 km from my home... And I know people who have to travel further.

    Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 11:09 am 25 Jan 20 can come up with 1000 excuses.....change is not easy but we need to start embracing it.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:14 am 25 Jan 20

    If you are too far from work to ride even a bike with an electric motor, think about riding the shorter distance to a main bus route and leaving your bike there and catching the bus. Similar to the car system of park and ride. If you live way out in the country on a hobby block, that isn't really sustainable.

    Craig Elliott Craig Elliott 11:19 am 25 Jan 20

    Julie Macklin that's E-bikes are a great solution around 2k gets you in and they assist you. 95% of people live in the urban area and are within 30km of work (very achievable)

    Moi Byrne Garton Moi Byrne Garton 11:49 am 25 Jan 20

    I used to do this but with kids this isn’t an option for me anymore. It’s also tricky storage wise where I work now.

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