Locals in the Queanbeyan and surrounding areas now have an extra 90 weekly bus services to choose from when deciding how to get around the region and into Canberra.
The weekly services, which began on Monday (23 January), also contain real-time tracking so passengers can know whether their bus is running on time and check seat availability.
Monaro MP Nichole Overall said it included more times for some existing routes as well as extra and express services across the border into the ACT.
“We’re seeing more routes between Jerrabomberra, Googong over to Civic, Woden, Majura, and we’re delivering them up to the Canberra Airport, we’re having new and improved services to TAFE … it’s opening up the whole network,” she said.
It’s expected some of the services will reduce travel times by up to 30 to 40 minutes, depending on where you’re travelling from.
The increase builds on the 68 extra services added in 2021, and includes the removal of some one-loop services, the introduction of more two-way routes, more weekend services including new Sunday and public holiday times, and services from Bungendore and Yass to Canberra.
The services to Canberra were created in consultation with the ACT Government; however, the buses have been fully funded by the NSW Government.
Ms Overall said more contributions needed to come from the other side of the border when it came to public transport.
“They are conversations we need to be having in order to have that connectivity not just one way, but what we’re receiving back as well,” she said.
“There’s always been a high number of people who live here and work over the border … if they’re making that choice, then we need to make that as easy as possible.
“What’s a border but a line on a map?”
Deputy Premier Paul Toole was also on hand, and highlighted the new real-time tracking technology on board.
“That means now you can go onto the app, you can go on your phone and see where your bus is any time of the day,” he said.
“You will know if the bus is on time, if the bus is full, if there is a seat available or will you have to wait for the next bus?”
With the improved and extra services, Mr Toole encouraged people to consider public transport as their first choice rather than their last.
“Have a look at the timetable … there is probably a bus that goes past your front door. Think about using a bus in your local area rather than getting your car out and getting it to the shops and having to find a car space,” he said.
Mr Toole said he hoped the ACT Government would see the benefits this increased transport would bring to the Territory, particularly in taking workers and shoppers across the border, and hoped they would be willing to front up more money in the future.
“I’d certainly like them to chip some money in,” he said.
“[But] I’m not going to have the community sit back and miss out on these services, because they are vital … rather than sit back and wait for those finances, we’ll do it now.”
The additional services have also resulted in 18 more permanent roles for bus drivers in the area.
People can plan their trip using Queanbeyan’s new bus network with updated timetable information online.
Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on About Regional.