14 March 2024

Concertgoers fume at lack of late-night buses after Symphony in the Park

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation

Not to be seen: the concert finished after the last Sunday buses had run, despite the big Commonwealth Park event and Enlighten. Photo: James Coleman.

Transport Canberra is considering putting extra buses on for next year’s Symphony in the Park after hundreds of patrons were left stranded on Sunday night after taking to heart the ACT Government’s advice to use public transport.

People waited in vain for a bus on Commonwealth Avenue after the CSO and Hoodoo Gurus concert ended at 9:30 pm – after the last services had run for the day.

Some took to social media to vent their frustrations and lament what they saw as yet another public transport fail in the city.

“Wonderful evening in Commonwealth Park watching the Hoodoo Gurus and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra play magic. Nice warm evening, so pleasant. Took the government’s advice and caught public transport in, but when it came time to leave, there were no buses. I’m not talking no extra buses, I’m talking NO BUSES AT ALL,” said one punter.

“Hundreds of people on both sides of Commonwealth Avenue at both Regatta Point and Albert Hall were left stranded. A major Canberra festival and buses ceased operation before the concert finished.”

READ ALSO Canberra’s lawn mowers appreciate a lot more waves and thank yous this season, but it’s not always rosy

Another said they felt sorry for the families with young children who had to walk back to the city.

“I was very lucky a lovely gentleman shared a taxi with me to Belconnen where my car was parked … never relying on public transportation again,” the post read.

Another said it was a reasonable expectation that if the government encouraged the use of public transport, it would ensure it was available to get people home.

Others criticised a lack of planning and coordination between various arms of government.

Events ACT regretted the inconvenience to some patrons but said additional bus services had not traditionally been provided for Symphony in the Park.

An Events ACT spokesperson said the concert attracted a record crowd, significantly more than in previous years.

“As the popularity of the event is growing, the need for additional transport services is being considered,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said information on the Enlighten website noted that the Enlighten Shuttle did not stop at Commonwealth Park but said that the area was serviced by regular Transport Canberra rapid buses.

“Patrons were encouraged to plan their journey on the Transport Canberra website, including through the Journey Planner function, which would have made the options available post the event on Sunday evening apparent,” the spokesperson said.

“We will work with Transport Canberra to consider additional bus services for next year’s event as well as better public transport information on the website.”

The spokesperson said additional services and/or free public transport had been provided for the National Multicultural Festival, the Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox 20 concert at GIO Stadium, and travel to sporting events at GIO Stadium.

READ ALSO Police concerned about ‘crazy driving behaviour’ putting kids at risk in school zones

Free public transport will be provided for Skyfire this weekend when more than 120,000 people are expected to gather around Lake Burley Griffin on Saturday.

Travel on all Transport Canberra bus and light rail services will be free from 5 pm until the last service (about 12:30 am for Rapid buses and 1 am for light rail services).

The last service for local buses varies on weekends and commuters are urged to check the bus timetable.

Shuttle buses will operate from City Interchange platform 3 and Woden Interchange platform 6 from 5 pm and take passengers to Regatta Point and Commonwealth Avenue (Treasury Building stop and Albert Hall stop) with return shuttles from these locations beginning at the end of the event.

Additional light rail services and frequency will begin from 2 pm until 11 pm.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

If we had a decent bus service there’d be no need to plan, as buses would turn up regularly every 15 minutes through to midnight and over the weekend. Then people could leave their cars at home. Currently, they can’t.

The money spent on the tram could have improved our public transport across Canberra, but instead bus services were cut and now they’re worse than 20 years ago.

The Transport Minister once again telling people to catch non existent public transport.

If the ACT Government, Public Transport Association and our public servant transport planners really want people to catch public transport why then did they so actively support the removal of so many bus routes, 750 bus stops and a reduction in local bus timetables back in 2019?

GrumpyGrandpa9:28 pm 14 Mar 24

This only scratches the surface.

Weekend services through the suburbs only run every 2 hours. How do you go out in Canberra on the weekend using public transport?

And here we have the answer to the question, ‘why don’t people use public transport in Canberra?’

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.