Essential travel only as new rules limit public transport contact

Ian Bushnell 24 March 2020 19
light rail

People should take light rail or the bus only for essential travel. Photo: File.

The ACT Government has vowed to keep the buses and light rail running for essential workers but has told other commuters to only take public transport when it is absolutely necessary.

The new COVID-19 advice comes with a range of measures to encourage social distancing and new measures have been implemented from today to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.

To avoid unnecessary close interactions with the public, drivers will no longer accept cash so passengers should use MyWay cards or pre-purchased tickets from ticket vending machines when using public transport.

Passengers will only be able to enter and exit buses via the rear doors at all stops unless the front doors are required for low-floor access.

The front seats of buses will temporarily be closed off to keep drivers and passengers well apart.

Transport Minister Chris Steel also announced today that the network timetable update, slated for the start of Term 2, would be delayed until further notice.

He said it was not the ideal time to introduce the timetable changes so Transport Canberra would continue to operate the current bus and light rail timetable to avoid creating confusion.

However, plans are being prepared should there be a need to reduce services due to COVID-19. He said some services may be affected if drivers need to stay at home to care for children.

Mr Steel said journeys were down 21.9 per cent last week compared to the same week last year.

“This shows that people are doing the right thing with social distancing or staying at home,” he said.

Today’s advice should reduce public transport patronage even further.

“People who don’t need to use public transport should reconsider whether they need to use it and practise social distancing,” Mr Steel said.

“So don’t use it to get on the beers at your mate’s house and definitely do not use it if you are feeling sick or unwell.”

He defined essential travel as going to work, travelling to buy food or attending medical appointments.

He said that if anybody had COVID-19 symptoms, met the criteria and had no other means of transport to get to a testing centre, they should contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 to arrange alternative transport.

Mr Steel said public transport around the world was still running to provide essential transport.

“We need to be practical, but the message today is that if you don’t need to use it then you shouldn’t,” he said.

For the latest information go to, including information on self-quarantining.

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19 Responses to Essential travel only as new rules limit public transport contact
Himeno Himeno 4:39 pm 26 Mar 20

TC Customer Service and press release say people who need the low floor access can still use it.
Drivers refuse and tell you off when you point out knee injures and facts that step use needs to be minimized.

Drivers demanding that essential staff at an essential business. who rely on public transport, cause extra injures.

KevT KevT 7:38 am 25 Mar 20

Well, the tram was a good idea,wasn’t it?

    JC JC 7:10 am 26 Mar 20

    It was and will be for many years to come.

    Using the same logic you could say buses Are a bad idea too couldn’t you?

Connie Ginger Connie Ginger 7:19 am 25 Mar 20

When a non essential gov agency in the city won’t allowed staff to work at home and their cars were damaged from hailstones. What other choice do they have but to take public transport?

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 10:22 pm 24 Mar 20

Lol so we're are we to park if we can't take the bus/LR?

Sonia Pandolfi Sonia Pandolfi 9:27 pm 24 Mar 20

Please suspend parking fees in major town centres for those who work there. Issue temporary permits if needed.

Craig Dingwall Craig Dingwall 6:53 pm 24 Mar 20

Are they going to suspend parking fees in Civic, Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong then?

Melissa Chook Crawford Melissa Chook Crawford 6:38 pm 24 Mar 20

Matthew Waugh essential travel for my essential job- I’ve never felt more validated 😂😂

Iaian Ross Iaian Ross 6:34 pm 24 Mar 20

End result is that bus capacity is now massively reduced. Patronge is down by about 2/3. Safest way to get to and from work is now by car.

    Kellie Kottwitz Kellie Kottwitz 7:04 pm 24 Mar 20

    Iaian Ross cycling also a COVID friendly option 👍

Monique Knight Monique Knight 6:24 pm 24 Mar 20

I thought I heard Barr parking was going to free was that right?

    David McClenaghan David McClenaghan 10:55 pm 24 Mar 20

    Monique Knight no unfortunately he said parking fees would be frozen as in they won’t increase them during the pandemic. A leader who really cares 🙄

Kat Couts Kat Couts 6:23 pm 24 Mar 20

Happy to not use it if the price of parking in civic wasn't $16+ a day.... 🤷‍♀️

    Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 9:41 pm 24 Mar 20

    Kat Couts where can I park for $16? I've been paying $18 th our week - won't find me on a bus for a while. 😀

    Kat Couts Kat Couts 10:05 pm 24 Mar 20

    The one near the pool was $16.70 on Monday. Or the CIT dirt is cheaper.

    Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 10:41 pm 24 Mar 20

    Kat Couts I parked near the bridge, poolside for $18. I'll wear it.

    Trish Lingard-Wyss Trish Lingard-Wyss 11:47 pm 25 Mar 20

    Kat Couts roof top Canberra centre is $14

Bianca Ursino Bianca Ursino 6:19 pm 24 Mar 20

Addie Ursino and if you do mask up and sanitise hands

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