20 April 2019

Excited Canberrans welcome 'the day Canberra grows up'

| Lachlan Roberts
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr flanked by Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris at the light rail launch at Gungahlin Place on Saturday morning (20 April). Photos: George Tsotsos.

“It’s so smooth!” “It’s very quiet isn’t it?” “It’s going faster than expected!”

These exclamations might not have described the two-year construction of stage one of the light rail corridor but as locals experienced their first ride on a light rail vehicle, the long wait was forgotten in the excitement.

A throng of Canberrans gathered at the official launch of the light rail at Gungahlin Place on Saturday morning (20 April) as musicians played and circus acts entertained the queues.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that the significant occasion was “the day Canberra grows up” and said the territory’s public transport system now befits the growing city.

“As we continue to grow, Canberra’s transport needs will also grow, which is why it is important that we are investing in Canberra’s transport infrastructure now,” Mr Barr said.

“There have been many sceptics and many critics along the way but we are delighted to be here today to celebrate with the Canberra community the launch of the first stage of light rail.

“It has been a couple of years of construction and disruption, but a project that has gone incredibly smoothly when compared to similar projects in other cities.

“Meegan [Fitzharris] and I are delighted to be here today to fulfil the promise we took to the 2016 election. It is a great day for Canberra and it’s a great day for public transport.”

Queue times will be updated every hour via this link so you can plan when you head into the City or Gungahlin to experience your first light rail trip in Canberra.

Locals can enjoy free public transport on Sunday (21 April) before the light rail will run as normal from Monday 22 April with your MyWay card. The whole network will then be free from 29 April for a month when the new bus network is launched.

Bring your gold coins to raise money for local Canberra foundation Hands Across Canberra, who are collecting funds to support vulnerable Canberrans and to provide grants to over 200 local community service organisations.

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Someone said trams were in the original Canberra plan. That’s true, and I would have been totally in favour of them even 50 years ago, but not now.

I think Fairbairn was also identified as a zeppelin field. Can’t wait for my free ride on one of those.

Puting on your great grandparent’s 100 year old shoes doesn’t mean you’ve grown up.

Wherearetherealliberals6:05 pm 25 Apr 19

You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for Megan Fitzharris. Responsible for both the tram and Canberra Hospital. Is anyone else doing any work?

Wherearetherealliberals6:03 pm 25 Apr 19

Waste of money. Once the novelty wears off, it’ll be running empty, just like the buses. And let’s not forget all the school bus cancellations that are needed to pay for it.

25,000 Canberrans apparently need to get a life if they think riding public transport is a cool way spend the Easter long weekend. I’m going to go catch a bus (if I can still find one)… yay me – let’s have a party to celebrate it!

“The day Canberra grows up”. The day I grew up was when I saw the sun rise at Kambah Pool. Obviously the definition has changed over the years…

Capital Retro8:50 am 22 Apr 19

Well said John and it would be a brave man who would dare to “kick sand in your face”.

Capital Retro9:46 am 21 Apr 19

…..one went by with “out of service on it”

Great contingency planning by Transport Canberra.

When we wish it said “Make Canberra Small Again.”

Capital Retro6:55 pm 20 Apr 19

Wait until the drunks start spewing in it. It happens everywhere else.

Nothing a hose and a bit of water won’t fix.

Capital Retro6:04 pm 24 Apr 19

That’s what we did in tiled pubs but trams have electricity everywhere and water and electricity don’t mix.

Not ‘live’ exposed cables though Capital. There is a difference. Besides, drunks throw up in cars and car parks too.

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