“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.