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Cross border busses

By UrbanAdventure.org 16 October 2009 37

Having grown up in that jewel of public transport, Melbourne, where you quite literally do not need a car, and where a car can be less convenient than public transport in the inner suburbs, I find the public transport in Canberra a bit lacking. But I find the public transport between Canberra and Queanbeyan to be appalling. 🙁
Yes, there are busses. And yes, they are generally clean, the staff are generally polite, and they generally run on time. I have no complaints about that. However, the fares on these busses are extremely expensive compared to the ACT. I recall a friend of mine complaining that her one hour transfer ticket was going to go up to $2.90 soon. I sat there and told her that a one way non transfer ticket from the Queanbeyan interchange to Manuka cost me $5.90, (or $10.40 return) and that I had been twice charged $6.10 by drivers who insisted that the fare to manuka was the same as the fare to Civic (which it is not supposed to be)

Okay, I understand that the company running the busses is a private company, and that they have to make ends meet. But why are they running big 52 seat busses that most of the time are more than half empty? Why not go for 20 seat Coaster style busses? And for that matter, why is it that the ACT busses stop at the border? Big deal that there’s a border there, who cares? The journey out to Queanbeyan is shorter than the journey out to Mitchell, Gunghalin and Tuggers. Why do Action Busses only go as far as DFO?

I asked a driver on an Action bus this and his reply was that Action had an agreement not to run busses to Quenabyean. An agreement with who? And how can such an agreement benefit people from Queanbeyan. Another driver said it was because Action drivers would require NSW Driver Authority cards, which makes more sense. If running a service where your passengers pay a fare in NSW, that is the case.

But big deal, they’re not hard to get. Why not run the busses out further than DFO and have them terminate in Queanbeyan? You don’t need every driver to have a driver authority card. Just the ones on that run.

Even the existing services could be improved. Why does the Woden and Civic busses have to depart the same time? It makes for delays as two busses try to pull into one bus stop at the same time. It delays traffic. It can confuse passengers. Why not run them at separate times. EG, instead of on every hour. Run the Civic one every hour on the hour, and the Woden one every hour on the half hour. Also, why run two busses along the same route for considerable distance? Why not run one via Crawford street / Uriarra Rd, and the other via Canberra Avenue and Gilmore Road so the industrial estate has a regular bus service?

I am more than frustrated that I pay the same taxes as people across the border, but they get a better bus service. There’s over 33 thousand people in Queanbeyan / Jerra. Almost every morning probably half of them pile into cars and head across the border, most of that on just two roads. If the bus service was more affordable, then more would use it.

What’s Your opinion?


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Cross border busses
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JC 5:28 pm 19 Oct 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Dear Santa

I made a choice to live in one city and work in another that’s in a completely different state. Suprisingly, the market has a solution to my transport needs but I don’t want to pay the going rate. Please, Santa, won’t you bring me a government who’ll absolve me of any responsibility for my choices and rig the market so I get everything I want for free?

Yours sincerely
Virginia

Gotta pay that one. Spot on. Your 4th word says it all. Choice. People who live in QBN choose to live there for what ever reason.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:27 am 19 Oct 09

Dear Santa

I made a choice to live in one city and work in another that’s in a completely different state. Suprisingly, the market has a solution to my transport needs but I don’t want to pay the going rate. Please, Santa, won’t you bring me a government who’ll absolve me of any responsibility for my choices and rig the market so I get everything I want for free?

Yours sincerely
Virginia

taninaus 7:43 am 19 Oct 09

Not true, the NSW government subsidises the ACT for the medical care that is given to NSW residents at ACT hospitals.

Key point here – subsidises not reimburses – I understand that the money the ACT gets only goes part of the way to pay for the cost of servicing NSW patients and we get the very expensive end of procedures which are high $$.

The difference with Tweed and Vic border is that there is a fairly equal number of patrons travelling each way – here it is primarily NSW folk travelling into Canberra for work/school/play so there is less incentive. Also why should the taxes paid by ACT people which subsidise the cost of an ACTION bus fare be used to subsidise transport costs for those whose taxes go to the NSW Governement that currently makes no contribution (and previously has not been interested in such) to this service. Deanes fares reflect the full cost of a bus trip.

JC 6:59 pm 18 Oct 09

UrbanAdventure.org said :

Damn, and you take it so personally too… Hey, here’s news to you mate. I use your libraries, public toilets and post offices too! And that’s not the worst of it. Peoplwe who rent don’t even pay rates so they’re using everyone’s resources for NOTHING! Oh the humanity!

You know, last time I checked Canberra has a huge amount of public facillities that have been paid for mostly by tax payers out of the ACT. My friends out in Western Australia have complained long and hard that their state props up the tax incomes of the eastern states. Much to my surprise, they seem to be spot on. Mining taxes from WA far outstrip government spending in WA.

Who cares which part of the pie the money comes from? We all get taxed using the same taxation scale. GST all comes from the same place. We’re all from the same country here. It’s not like I’m asking to build a bridge to New Zealand or something. Though that would be nice, as long as there’s an Action Bus service on it. 😉

Actually people who rent do pay rates, though clearly not directly. The landlord pays the rates then passes them on to the renter in their rent price. Indeed people who rent end up paying more rates than people that own their homes as rental properties have land tax too.

As for you using library’s and public toilets, fill your boots. They are built for the benifit of ACT residents and cost next to nothing for the small amount of use by others. As for the post office, last time I look that was a commercial venture not funded by the ACT rate payer. But what you are asking is for the people of the ACT to pay for and subsidise a bus service to another state. As I said before if the NSW government payed for it, or the service payed for itself through the fare box then I am all for it. But not if the ACT government has to subsidise it. At the end of the day it is a problem for the NSW government, not the ACT.

Oh your right about the source of GST income, no argument there, it is good how the GST system was set-up to fairly spread the money around. But it doesn’t change the fact that using some complex forumla the ammount allocated to the ACT was allocated to provide services to people who live in the ACT. The amount is around $850m, oddly the ACT budget is $3500mm where do you reckon the balance comes from? Hint, ACT rate payers.

Again if it was adjusted to give more to pay for services to the people of QBN then no problem, but at present that isn’t taken into account.

JC 6:44 pm 18 Oct 09

RayP said :

Toriness,there is a problem with your approach that may not be apparent to people on high incomes or who already own houses in Canberra.

People on low incomes, or even moderate incomes, can’t now afford to buy a house in Canberra, pay rent in Canberra or pay high transport costs from Queabeyan. What, then, are they to do?

I also don’t think that it makes sense for people to have to spend a high proportion of their income on basic housing or getting to work. To accept this is to accept failure by the relevant governments.

For a viable city and reasonable lifestyles there should be both affordable housing and low cost public tranport.

And bd84, I think your examples from Australia are great. If Queensland and Victoria can sort out cross border public transport with NSW, why can’t the ACT Government?

And why is this the problem of the ACT Government and the ACT rate payer? Next you will be saying the ACT government should be paying for buses to Murrumbateman and Yass.

PS you will find there are places in the ACT that have affordable housing too. With QBN there is just a higher concentration due to the more lax planning laws.

MrPC 6:35 pm 18 Oct 09

@#30: Forget advertising for one car pool. What we could use in Queanbeyan are “Slug Lines”. They are popular in Washington DC for people commuting in from outside.

Basically in “Slug Lines”, people (Sluggers) congregate at empty lots near the freeways and those who want to keep driving but want to use the HOT lanes (kinda like T3 lanes) pick up slugs so that they can use the HOT lanes without paying the Non-HOV toll.

It’d need some adaption to work here. We don’t have HOT lanes, and while 3 for free parking is the next best thing, we don’t have that in Civic. What we could do is think up a fair amount (say $2 each way) as a “gratuity” and think up places to congregate and disembark at each end. For example, you could have:

AM Pickup Points
Old Cooma Road (between Harris Park and Showgrounds)
Campbell St at Morton St (near the Swimming Pool car park)
Henderson St near Crawford Street (near the Railway Station car park)

You could then drive in via Oaks Estate Road/Pialligo Ave/Fairbairn Ave/Limestone Ave/Donaldson St

AM Dropoff Points
Donaldson at Ballumbir
[Turn left onto Ballumbir]
Canberra Centre Car Park (Entrance or Rooftop)

PM Pickup Points
Canberra Centre rooftop parking (lift lobby) above Big W
[Head out of the carpark and turn left on Ballumbir, continue onto Cooyong, left on Northbourne]
80 Northbounre (The loading zone and half hour parking spaces at Infrastructure House, just near the bus stop that Queanbeyan buses depart from)
[Take any route to Queanbeyan Railway Station (Presumably Capital Cct, Canberra Ave, Norse Road, Uriarra Road), then drop off at the pickup points as required

The driver then heads home.

If everyone paid $2 each way (or, dare I say it, dropped $2 in the car’s ashtray without being asked or told off if they don’t), the driver would only need 5 passengers (eg 2 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, or vice versa) to pay for the all day rooftop parking at the Canberra Centre. Presumably the driver was going to pay for that regardless, or worse, pay even more for the return bus fare, so any passenger at all would be of a benefit.

If there is a long queue at one of the pickup points and you pull in to park there, you could consider driving all the way after collecting 3-4 passengers. It shouldn’t be hard to find equilibrium that way.

Either way it can’t be any worse than our half hourly bus service.

The pickup points were chosen because there are places you can park a car, or chain up a pushbike, without much hassle, and because they are vaguely near bus stops without actually being at bus stops (thus unlikely to create significant issues with Deanes before the scheme gets off the ground).

Any thoughts?

MrPC 5:03 pm 18 Oct 09

Easiest option by far for Queanbeyan residents that work in Civic would be to fit a bike rack to the back of your car, park in any lcoal street anywhere to the north or east of Civic, and ride the lsat 1-2km on a pushbike. It’s flat, and it’s not far enough to break a sweat or even to get rain affected except on the worst of rainy days.

(Leave a change of clothes and a towel at work)

Russell is also an option. It’s a bit distant, but there’s that overflow carpark right on Constitution Avenue half way up the hill. You’d barely have to pedal if you get a good start down the hill and timed it for a green light at the bottom of the hill 🙂

toriness 10:32 am 18 Oct 09

not making up anything at all urbanadventure – simply quoting right back at you what you are saying yourself. please don’t be boring by making foundless ‘legal action’ threats. i have clearly stated (well agreed really what numerous others have already said) why i disagree with you. if you don’t like the $$ bus fares i guess you will do your sums and work out it’s cheaper to drive one of your 2 cars – or you will continue catching the bus. how about you put up a little poster in downtown queanbeyan organising a carpool or something for those commuting into ACT – then you can drive the costs down even further. but don’t expect ACT rates and ‘piece of the pie’ to subsidise your locational decision.

UrbanAdventure.org 9:18 am 18 Oct 09

toriness said :

urbanadventure.org – you have not 1 but 2 cars it transpires (not mentioned in your original post!) but you post a lengthy rant for completely unselfish and altruistic reasons as it turns out. yeah, right 😉 also it turns out that you left melbourne for the soulful town of queanbeyan! perhaps if ACT lacks such soul and depth you might like to refrain from travelling into our boundaries full stop. wouldn’t like you become soulless would we?

That’s right, if you don’t have a coherant argument, resort to personal instults and making up rubbish against the poster. It makes far more sense to argue the point, not argue with the person. There’s no need to make this personal, and some pretty dire legal concequences if you continue down that track.

Perhaps you might like to rephrase this in terms of why you don’t agree with my points, instead of making false personal statements about me?

thesideline 8:42 am 18 Oct 09

ACTION = Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network.

Internal.

In the interests of cross-border friendliness and breaking down of the economic barriers, I am happy for the ACTION owners, the ACT Government, to change their name – after the NSW Government proportionally funds ACTION such as occurs with Hospitals.

Of course, where does the new network stop? Should it go to Gundaroo? Cooma? Yass? Goulburn? There would seemingly need to be full economic fares to supplement the NSW Government funding..

UrbanAdventure.org 11:15 pm 17 Oct 09

JC said :

Why would ACTION want to run buses to QBN? They are not going to make a profit (or break even with ACT fares) so why should the ACT pay to support public transport in another state. It is bad enough those who CHOOSE to live in QBN use medical and school services in the ACT at the expense of the ACT rate payer without us having to pay for their transport requirements.

Damn, and you take it so personally too… Hey, here’s news to you mate. I use your libraries, public toilets and post offices too! And that’s not the worst of it. Peoplwe who rent don’t even pay rates so they’re using everyone’s resources for NOTHING! Oh the humanity!

You know, last time I checked Canberra has a huge amount of public facillities that have been paid for mostly by tax payers out of the ACT. My friends out in Western Australia have complained long and hard that their state props up the tax incomes of the eastern states. Much to my surprise, they seem to be spot on. Mining taxes from WA far outstrip government spending in WA.

Who cares which part of the pie the money comes from? We all get taxed using the same taxation scale. GST all comes from the same place. We’re all from the same country here. It’s not like I’m asking to build a bridge to New Zealand or something. Though that would be nice, as long as there’s an Action Bus service on it. 😉

toriness 10:45 pm 17 Oct 09

urbanadventure.org – you have not 1 but 2 cars it transpires (not mentioned in your original post!) but you post a lengthy rant for completely unselfish and altruistic reasons as it turns out. yeah, right 😉 also it turns out that you left melbourne for the soulful town of queanbeyan! perhaps if ACT lacks such soul and depth you might like to refrain from travelling into our boundaries full stop. wouldn’t like you become soulless would we?

rayp, nothing wrong with my approach at all – it’s called facts of life. we don’t live in a communist country where everyone gets the same goods & services no matter what they do. people train or educate themselves or work hard to earn an income to keep in the lifestyle which they want. yes there are SOME exceptions which the system provides you, those in genuine need and unable to adequately provide for themselves, like those who are physically or mentally/intellectually disabled and less able. however please let me know if i am mistaken and indeed this actually is the society we live in – a communist one – and i will go and live in a residence far away from where i work or socialise but can travel there off others’ backs and sweat. but no, this is not the case so please do tell me why i should pay a higher mortgage/rent to live closer in (i walk or ride my bike to work in the main) and my rates etc (ie ACT govt specific taxes) should go towards subsidising NSW residents who live in queanbeyan which is undeniably cheaper to rent/mortgage property.

we do have different states and territories (and corresponding state/territory and local governments) for a reason – historical partly but continuing because people vote for representatives of their region to provide for their needs. if you don’t like it, move.

arescarti42 8:42 pm 17 Oct 09

JC said :

CHOOSE to live in QBN use medical and school services in the ACT at the expense of the ACT rate payer without us having to pay for their transport requirements.

Not true, the NSW government subsidises the ACT for the medical care that is given to NSW residents at ACT hospitals.

arescarti42 8:39 pm 17 Oct 09

GregW said :

What’s more the ACT government provides much of the infrastructure and services you rely on every day, and yet by living in Queanbeyan you are depriving them of much of the taxation revenue they require to provide those services, in a way it is surprising that there aren’t tolls for traveling to the ACT from Queanbeyan to account for this. Thus, it is the governments interests to discourage you from even entering the ACT.

Much like being located close to Canberra deprives Queanbeyan businesses the revenue of people who shop/work in Canberra. According to the ABS, in excess of 2/3 of the employed population of Queanbeyan worked in the ACT in 2006. Why would it be in the interest of the government to stop these people from spending money at ACT businesses and reducing the skills shortage in the ACT? What’s more, by my workings for every 2 Queanbeyanites that work in the ACT, there is 1 Canberran that works in Queanbeyan, so it is a two way street. The paper I’m drawing data from is “Canberra, a social atlas” from the 06 census if anyone is interested.

astrojax 8:15 pm 17 Oct 09

Trunking symbols said :

Buses, not busses.

i just though maybe gollum had written the OP…

UrbanAdventure.org 7:45 pm 17 Oct 09

kincuri said :

I say they should bring on the light rail, but shudder to think what the ACT might do to it!

I agree. Until you have a tramline you’re just another country town. 😉

I’ve seen cities overseas with larger area and less population but a lot better public transport. State College in Pennsylvania for example. Heck, Geelong and Bendigo in Victoria as examples closer to home.

RayP 7:45 pm 17 Oct 09

Toriness,there is a problem with your approach that may not be apparent to people on high incomes or who already own houses in Canberra.

People on low incomes, or even moderate incomes, can’t now afford to buy a house in Canberra, pay rent in Canberra or pay high transport costs from Queabeyan. What, then, are they to do?

I also don’t think that it makes sense for people to have to spend a high proportion of their income on basic housing or getting to work. To accept this is to accept failure by the relevant governments.

For a viable city and reasonable lifestyles there should be both affordable housing and low cost public tranport.

And bd84, I think your examples from Australia are great. If Queensland and Victoria can sort out cross border public transport with NSW, why can’t the ACT Government?

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