Call for more services to keep light rail love affair on track

Ian Bushnell 8 November 2019 122
The Gungahlin terminus

The launch of light rail at the Gungahlin terminus. The honeymoon continues but more services are needed, says the council. Photo: File.

Gungahlin may be head over heels in love with light rail but the ACT Government may have to give a little bit more if the honeymoon is to continue, according to the local community council.

Peak morning demand is now so high that the light rail vehicles are becoming very crowded and the terminus is already in need of an upgrade, it says in a submission to the 2020 Budget process.

“Additional light rail services need to be provided to capture the demand being presented by Gungahlin residents,” the submission says.

It also calls for investments to improve the usability of light rail, including bike and ride, and kiss and ride facilities at the Gungahlin terminus.

While light rail is booming, the council says the new bus network is letting down commuters between Gungahlin and Belconnen.

It says services between the two town centres of Gungahlin and Belconnen are significantly degraded, and Transport Canberra needs to reassess them.

The council also wants the government to complete the duplication of all of Horse Park Drive (between Roden Cutler Drive and Gungahlin Drive), and to undertake a review and analysis of the road network within Gungahlin to ensure it will meet the needs of the completed district.

This review should include examining better synchronisation of traffic lights and the duplication/addition of slips lanes on Clarrie Hermes Drive, Gungahlin Drive West of Gundaroo Drive, Mirrabei Drive and Gundaroo Drive North of Mirrabei Drive.

A lack of employment opportunities continue to dog Gungahlin and the council wants the ACT Government’s support to develop a unique value proposition and incentives to create jobs, saying the issue cannot be left to market forces.

“Although Gungahlin will begin 2020 with a population of approximately 80,000 – the third largest district in Canberra (after Belconnen and Tuggeranong) and roughly the same size as North and South Canberra combined – there are proportionally very few jobs located in Gungahlin,” the submission says.

“This places significant strain on transport infrastructure, reduces the amenity and accessibility of Gungahlin, and dampens the development of businesses and services within the Gungahlin region. This issue will not be addressed through a ‘wait and see’ approach based on standard market forces.”

The council, which has lobbied successfully for government agencies to be moved to the Town Centre, says the objective would be to generate a return on the investment in Gungahlin generally, including light rail, and to exploit the remaining greenfield development opportunities.

But it says proposed changes to the Gungahlin Town Centre Precinct Code (Draft Variation 3645) that reduce the amount of space available for commercial/core developments undermine this goal.

The council also wants the Yerrabi Pond area activated by providing rubbish bins and lighting, and improving maintenance of a park that is heavily used by Gungahlin residents.

It also believes midwifery services should be added to at the Walk-In Health Centre, given the young family profile of the area.


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122 Responses to Call for more services to keep light rail love affair on track
HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:27 pm 17 Nov 19

If someone wants to do a re-make of On The Beach (with added zombies, of course), the Civic Bus Interchange on a Sunday afternoon would be a great filming location – aside from buses, the only thing missing today was tumbleweeds.

James Rath James Rath 3:31 am 17 Nov 19

I think you’re confusing “head over heels in love” with light rail with “Andrew Barr cancelled all the buses and gave you no other choice artificially inflating the popularity of light rail even though its a slower less time efficient mode of transport cause 1000s of people to catch a bus to Gungahlin town centre, light rail to civic, then other bus to their final destination which could have been done in just one bus trip before wasting peoples time”.

John Hynes John Hynes 9:06 am 13 Nov 19

Funny. I cant find monthly numbers for buses gungahlin to city before the tram anywhere. If you have no alternative, why wasnt capacity considered during construction like dual lanes were when gungahlin drive was built.....oh, hang on....

Marilyn Scott Marilyn Scott 8:39 pm 11 Nov 19

Well who'd have thunk it.

Trevor Watson Trevor Watson 2:43 pm 11 Nov 19

I did put forward the idea to CMET that they should do as done in Hong Kong on their trams and that is give the commuters massages... No response though...

Robyn Delmenico Robyn Delmenico 1:51 pm 11 Nov 19

Least you have it. Public Transport in Tuggeranong is so bad and no mention light rail in the bear future.

My taxes are paying for Gungarlin and I do not live their.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:49 am 12 Nov 19

    I don't live in Gungahlin either, and I am happy with the tram. The tram can't be built everywhere all at once. It needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin was an obvious choice. Don't worry, I imagine it will get to Tuggeranong. I have caught buses from the south side to Civic and then the tram to visit Gungahlin, so even though I live on the south side, it's there for our use. You can do the same; catch a bus and then the tram.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:29 am 13 Nov 19

    When your saying you happily caught busses and light rail from the 'south side' to Gungahlin, I'm guessing your version of the South Side doesn't mean you live in Banks or Condor? I'm guessing you're South Side is not in any part of Tuggeranong where the Bus services have gotten considerably worse since the Government made Bus route changes for the Trams introduction. Many people in Tuggeranong (including me) have seen our Bus commutes double since the change. Others here have lost their Bus services all together. But I'm glad you can tell Robyn Delmenico "not to worry" because Light Rail will get to Tuggeranong sometime in the next 30 years. ☹️

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 4:49 pm 13 Nov 19

    Jeff Smith I imagine light rail will get to Tuggeranong in the next few years, not 30, because it will need to (rather than it's the best next place), because it's become political with all the anti-light rail negative vitriol from some in Tuggeranong. So if it can get through the Parliamentary Triangle, it's headed your way. No I live in the south but not Tuggeranong. Our bus though was cancelled and we need to walk to the next suburb now to catch one.

Danijel Kovac Danijel Kovac 7:46 am 11 Nov 19

no friggin choice! bring back bus services to the city and see which one is more “popular” its like being surprised at a beauty contest yet you are the only contestant

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 1:32 pm 11 Nov 19

    It was always supposed to replace buses between Gungahlin and Civic, it was supposed to take buses off of Northbourne Avenue, why would they put them back? LOL!!!

    Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 5:34 pm 11 Nov 19

    Simon Wheaton Because only a bus can provide one seat express services from outer suburbs. They should create two rapid bus services through the town centre and then via GDE to Civic. Then we can see if its the tram that's popular or just frequent services from outer areas like the rapid buses elsewhere.

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 7:47 pm 10 Nov 19

Years ago I heard a prominent architect giving a talk about the lack of land in Gungahlin for building offices. He said the original areas for this purpose were changed over to residential.

Sonya Heaney Sonya Heaney 11:31 am 10 Nov 19

Hey - at least they have it up there ...

Laurie Berry Laurie Berry 11:13 am 10 Nov 19

Time to reinstate the buses to take the demand off the trams.

Harry Waterhouse Harry Waterhouse 10:45 am 10 Nov 19

Sounds like a manufactured 'win' for the government. Slow down Northbourn to 60kph (now mostly 40kph), remove busses routes and build on all the carparks. Its almost as if they are giving you no option but to use the tram.

    Ray Young Ray Young 4:11 pm 10 Nov 19

    Harry Waterhouse Northbourne, from just before Antill/Mouat St intersection to just past Vernon Circle, has always been 60km/h zone. Ppl just ignored it and went at 70 or 80...

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 6:30 pm 10 Nov 19

    Ray Young I'm sure it was 70 before the cycle lanes were added, then dropped to 60 when they were put in.

    Darren Bryant Darren Bryant 3:50 pm 13 Nov 19

    Sounds like manufactured outrage. I don’t remember it being signposted above 60, but doesn’t stop people driving 80

    Ray Young Ray Young 8:23 pm 13 Nov 19

    Simon Wheaton nope... sorry mate - always been 60... LOL, maybe u went at 70? 😉 I have to confess it was slow for me 2... so not always good back then...

Rachel Morris Rachel Morris 8:53 am 10 Nov 19

Do people really love it or is it that it's the only public transport in the area. It's like saying people on the southside love the bus service. They don't. It sucks. But there's nothing else.

    Brent Hutch Brent Hutch 9:36 pm 10 Nov 19

    But has bus patronage not dropped down the southside following the changes? Which Indicates dissatisfaction. We do know, that the satisfaction rates from the last survey, were pretty high for light rail, but dropped for the buses.

    Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 11:03 pm 10 Nov 19

    Nope, we really love it

    Tracy Hancock Tracy Hancock 8:53 pm 11 Nov 19

    Yep, we really hate it. My daughter (with a disability) used to catch a direct school bus. Even though that bus was always full, they got rid of it. Now she is expected to walk much greater distances across busy roads (as someone with a disability) and change over from a bus to the tram rather than just arriving at the school. I consider it too risky. I drive her now. I am one more car on the road now along with many others (judging by this mornings traffic alone). On a side note, I wrote to our minister for transport about my concerns regarding these changes to public transport and it’s impact for people with disabilities. He took 6 months to respond and didn’t bother even mentioning people with disabilities at all in the transport plan. People with disabilities aren’t a minority group the Chief Minister is a part of so I guess we’re not worth thinking of at all 🤔

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:52 am 12 Nov 19

    I like it. Before I drove there. Now if I visit Gungahlin, I catch a bus to Civic and then the tram.

David Wilkens David Wilkens 8:25 am 10 Nov 19

You don't know what packed is. Ride a train in Japan 🚅🚆

Stephen Saunders Stephen Saunders 7:36 am 10 Nov 19

Just in the nick of time comes Jon Stanhope. Commuters are in error to adopt light rail so readily, as cost-benefit studies show that they are wrong, and they should all get back on the buses forthwith.

Mario McDonnell Mario McDonnell 7:28 am 10 Nov 19

I can’t believe people are so surprised at its popularity! There’s no other choice to get into civic for work in the morning or get home at night ‘quickly’ as they took away the Rapid buses to force people onto it.

    Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 11:02 pm 10 Nov 19

    "took away the rapid buses"? It was a replacement for the rapid buses, of course they weren't going to stay. That's what "replace" means

    Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 5:31 pm 11 Nov 19

    Alex Thomson Why of course? The rapid bus could have provided one seat journeys from outer Gunghalin and still could, reducing car travel and congestion into Gunghalin Town centre generated by the light rail.

Gabe Hays Gabe Hays 5:56 am 10 Nov 19

Jackson Groves try getting on a train in Japan

Adam SNancarrow Adam SNancarrow 5:50 am 10 Nov 19

I new they'd love it, hurry up and do south side.

Monica Tiffen Monica Tiffen 10:44 pm 09 Nov 19

They are Using it, We are so-far, only paying for it!!!

Andrea Mya Riboust Andrea Mya Riboust 10:10 pm 09 Nov 19

Socratis Winter oh to be a Gungan and have this as a primary worry 🙄 be nice to have like... a decent non run down local shops store down here.

James O'Neill James O'Neill 9:13 pm 09 Nov 19

Increase the number of trams while 30 year old buses are still in service!

Maybe upgrading the ageing bus network should be a priority.

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 4:40 am 10 Nov 19

    June 4 2019

    "ACTION will be assessing new types of buses, including hybrid and possibly hydrogen-powered, to replace its ageing Canberra fleet in the years ahead"

    "The oldest vehicles in the ACTION fleet will be progressively replaced, with 12 new buses to hit the road in the next six months and 24 to be delivered each year in the following three years."

    "ACTION operates a fleet of 454 buses across its network and the focus of the replacement program will be on those vehicles which are not compliant with the latest emissions requirements, use too much diesel, nor provide appropriate disability access."

    Nigel Jennens Nigel Jennens 8:06 am 12 Nov 19

    There are still plenty of busses out there that do not have air conditioning

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