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Fitzharris promises seven new rapid bus services

By Charlotte Harper 29 August 2016 31

Meegan Fitzharris

If re-elected in October, the ACT Government will expand the Rapid Bus Network from two services to nine over the next four years, requiring the purchase of 80 new buses, hiring of 80 new drivers and design of a new Northside depot at a cost of more than of $100 million.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said today that the first additions to the rapid bus network (see map below), in 2017, would be the extension of the Blue Rapid to Lanyon, completing the Blue Rapid link from Kippax to the Lanyon Valley, a new Green Rapid from Woden to the City via Manuka and Barton, and the Black Rapid from Belconnen to Gungahlin.

Two of the routes, to be added in 2020, would service Canberra Airport (one from Tuggeranong and the other from Belconnen).

The Canberra Liberals announced their own plan to add six new routes to the Rapid Bus Network earlier this year, arguing additional rapid buses were a better option than light rail.

Ms Fitzharris said today that the Government’s Rapid Bus Network would integrate high frequency buses with the first and future stages of light rail as well as other regular and peak express services.

“Transport Canberra has been working hard to analyse our MyWay data and customer feedback including through the Transport Canberra survey to develop a clear plan for the rollout of our rapid network,” the Minister said.

“These improvements to the Rapid Bus Network will be on top of our plans to deliver light rail, trial electric buses, reform our ticketing system, build more Park and Rides and Bike and Rides, regulate innovative new services like ride sharing and car sharing, smart parking and autonomous vehicles.”

During 2015-16 Blue Rapid services carried more than 4 million passengers, and the Red Rapid carried more than 1 million passengers.

Ms Fitzharris said the new Rapid Bus Network would be supported by an additional $55 million investment for services, at least 100 new jobs, and $51 million for the 80 new buses and the design of a new depot in the north of Canberra.

She said rapid services for post-2017 rollout would include:

Woden to City via Weston Creek (2018)
Belconnen to Watson via Dickson (2018)
Tuggeranong to City via Erindale (2019)
Lanyon to Airport via Barton (2020)
Belconnen to Airport via City (2020)

The Labor Minister said the services would be phased in so that the Government could ensure integration with walking and cycling infrastructure and Park and Ride facilities, and that services were direct and took people where they wanted to go.

“It will also ensure that we can reallocate the 1.2 million bus kilometres that will be freed up by the first stage of the light rail network,” Ms Fitzharris said.

ACT Government rapid bus plan


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Fitzharris promises seven new rapid bus services
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Masquara 1:34 pm 18 Sep 16

chewy14 said :

Instead we have the government utilising every ratepayer’s money to fund a huge windfall gain in property price rises to those who live along the route…

And, of course, for some who don’t live but have invested along the route – like Shane “Feeney” Rattenbury …

Masquara 1:31 pm 18 Sep 16

Looks as though Labor is running scared on the light rail issue …

gazket 10:14 pm 10 Sep 16

it takes 2 + years to get a new bus route ? wtf

bennygrocott 1:34 pm 02 Sep 16

Love this .

greenbamboo 9:32 am 02 Sep 16

Belconnen to Airport! Oh that would be so amazing. The number 10 is what I have to catch from civic and the frequency is every hour. Its so annoying. If I miss it even for a second, ill have to wait a whole hour. I really hope this new bus comes soon.

gooterz 2:01 pm 31 Aug 16

Genie said :

I have 2 questions.

1. Why is it going to take upwards of 3 years to commence a bus route to the airport?

2. Why are the Gungahlin to City Red Rapid buses being discontinued just because of light rail ? The price of a ticket better remain the same.

1. Because it’ll end up being a platform for the next election. They don’t have to cover the cost now. Libs will get criticised for not doing it when they get in.

2. Ticket prices are going to increase with or without light rail as patronage is decreasing and costs increasing. If they kept buses they admit that people don’t want a tram.
People still wanting the rapid route proves that having to change transport modes in civic deters people from public transport.

I like how everyone jumps on to criticise my first posts on this and claim there are no facts. Then when it comes to light they all run off and hide.

I wouldn’t mind catching a bus but there isn’t one that doesn’t end up with me spending 3 hours in commuting a day.

I wonder if the new free civic bus isn’t just a cheap way to increase numbers. Putting in a service that people should just have walked to say that action is doing more trips. That’s if people are actually using it.

bennygrocott 11:39 am 31 Aug 16

I really like it

Genie 11:21 am 31 Aug 16

I have 2 questions.

1. Why is it going to take upwards of 3 years to commence a bus route to the airport?

2. Why are the Gungahlin to City Red Rapid buses being discontinued just because of light rail ? The price of a ticket better remain the same.

TuggLife 12:15 am 31 Aug 16

Well, it’s a pretty map, but these things always do look pretty on paper. Unless you live in eastern Tuggeranong, in which case, sucks to be you.

The Athllon Drive stops are confusing. A new Park & Ride for Wanniassa was promised in this year’s budget. This plan looks like two stops are to be installed on Athllon Dr between Sulwood Dr and Drakeford Dr (there’s currently none), but that the Park & Ride is the southernmost one of the two. Does that mean the Park & Ride isn’t going to be near Wanniassa shops (but rather closer to Greenaway)? Installing a Blue Rapid stop at Wanniassa shops, with no additional parking, is going to be a mess.

gooterz 10:31 pm 30 Aug 16

Mordd said :

gooterz said :

Wouldn’t the loss of the tram be based on the commuters and ticket sales?

More commuters means slightly less loss. (except in the case they can cut services due to lower demand they might save a bit there).

Are they locked in to todays interest rates? Or yesterdays. The reserve bank just recently cut interest rates. I’m glad we get todays as they were higher last week.

Its only saving money(maybe) if interest rates increase. If we head into debt in other area’s we’ll have to borrow at a higher rate to cover the costs. Where as if we didn’t just blow it all on light rail we would avoid borrowing.

Since the interest rates are negotiated, as part of the negotiations before the contract was signed, the month to month fluctuation of the reserve bank published rate has little impact on this really, they are not the same things and I think you know that.

Would depend on the currency of the agreement.
If the AUD goes down is it related. Its also quite possible that the rate is a function of the official interest rate. If Australia goes though high inflation in the next 20 years (which is likely) then the consortium loses out.

Alas all these what if’s could be put to bed if the now signed agreement was made public. Perhaps it’ll be made public after the next election by the libs when they get into power.

Mordd 9:13 pm 30 Aug 16

gooterz said :

Wouldn’t the loss of the tram be based on the commuters and ticket sales?

More commuters means slightly less loss. (except in the case they can cut services due to lower demand they might save a bit there).

Are they locked in to todays interest rates? Or yesterdays. The reserve bank just recently cut interest rates. I’m glad we get todays as they were higher last week.

Its only saving money(maybe) if interest rates increase. If we head into debt in other area’s we’ll have to borrow at a higher rate to cover the costs. Where as if we didn’t just blow it all on light rail we would avoid borrowing.

Since the interest rates are negotiated, as part of the negotiations before the contract was signed, the month to month fluctuation of the reserve bank published rate has little impact on this really, they are not the same things and I think you know that.

gooterz 8:46 pm 30 Aug 16

Wouldn’t the loss of the tram be based on the commuters and ticket sales?

More commuters means slightly less loss. (except in the case they can cut services due to lower demand they might save a bit there).

Are they locked in to todays interest rates? Or yesterdays. The reserve bank just recently cut interest rates. I’m glad we get todays as they were higher last week.

Its only saving money(maybe) if interest rates increase. If we head into debt in other area’s we’ll have to borrow at a higher rate to cover the costs. Where as if we didn’t just blow it all on light rail we would avoid borrowing.

dungfungus 8:28 pm 30 Aug 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

So the tram project is already locked in at todays interest rates (which are currently low) for the next 20 years, and the renewable energy projects that are funding our 100% 2020 target are locked in for 20 or 30 years respectively, depending on the contract, netting us a windfall over time. So you can’t lock it in for 20 or 30 years how? Seems you obviously can, since we have ALREADY DONE IT.

I thought the project was being funded by a PPP. Accordingly, interest rates have nothing to do with the issue.

chewy14 8:11 pm 30 Aug 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

So the tram project is already locked in at todays interest rates (which are currently low) for the next 20 years, and the renewable energy projects that are funding our 100% 2020 target are locked in for 20 or 30 years respectively, depending on the contract, netting us a windfall over time. So you can’t lock it in for 20 or 30 years how? Seems you obviously can, since we have ALREADY DONE IT.

It’s actually irrelevant whether they’ve locked in lower interest rates or not because it completely ignores the opportunity cost of the spending.

A poor return is still a poor return no matter what the interest rate, particularly when the money could have been used on far more productive infrastructure at those same low interest rates.

Mordd - IndyMedia 6:49 pm 30 Aug 16

So the tram project is already locked in at todays interest rates (which are currently low) for the next 20 years, and the renewable energy projects that are funding our 100% 2020 target are locked in for 20 or 30 years respectively, depending on the contract, netting us a windfall over time. So you can’t lock it in for 20 or 30 years how? Seems you obviously can, since we have ALREADY DONE IT.

bennygrocott 3:55 pm 30 Aug 16

I will love this.

rommeldog56 12:33 pm 30 Aug 16

chewy14 said :

Yes, it was definitely no secret that the bus option provided far more value than the Tram, it was even in the government’s own business plan.

The interesting thing to see in the article is that the way the tram was being justified was not as a transport project but as a value capture project along the route and that one obvious way of doing so would be a direct levy for it’s construction to those along that route who benefit the most.

Instead we have the government utilising every ratepayer’s money to fund a huge windfall gain in property price rises to those who live along the route.

Good for some hey.

Well said.

chewy14 12:26 pm 30 Aug 16

Garfield said :

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

rommeldog56 said :

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Don’t be too harsh, he’s just doing what the Liberals do with the tram, making up the “facts” that suit their point of view.

Right. That would be like the “facts” and assumptions in the ACT Govt’s business case for the Tram ????

You mean like the fact that “Locking in record low interest rates for 30 years makes building them now a bargain.” – that’s a quote from the Canberra Times btw.

Or the fact that the Liberals have admitted we will need it in only 20 years time, but they just don’t want to build it right now (maybe in 10 years they would though? who knows).

Or the fact that we could have an ACT wide network connecting all the major locations and still have it all cost less than 1% of the overall ACT budget?

Those facts?

Would you stop lying on the Liberals having said Canberra will need light rail in no more than 20 years. What they said was IF its needed in 20 or 30 or 40 years the ACT government will own the plans.

You should have a look at the Canberra Times this morning. They’ve obtained a report under FOI that says in 2013 the government knew that rapid buses provided more than twice the value to the ACT taxpayer than the tram. The tram is a political child of the marriage between Labor & the Greens after the 2012 election.

Yes, it was definitely no secret that the bus option provided far more value than the Tram, it was even in the government’s own business plan.

The interesting thing to see in the article is that the way the tram was being justified was not as a transport project but as a value capture project along the route and that one obvious way of doing so would be a direct levy for it’s construction to those along that route who benefit the most.

Instead we have the government utilising every ratepayer’s money to fund a huge windfall gain in property price rises to those who live along the route.

Good for some hey.

dungfungus 11:15 am 30 Aug 16

Maybe it’s a long bow to pull but could it be that now all vestiges of Capital Metro have gone this bus plan and the front page story in today’s Canberra Times (Buses beat tram:report”) are signs that the whole light rail project will be scrapped before the election?
There are still costings to be revealed and remember there was an escape clause in the “business plan” that allows the government to withdraw “honourably” if the cost is deemed too high (it already is).
On top of all that we have the familiar sorries that happen with all light rail projects namely the disruption to business activity during and after construction http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/southern-courier/kensington-shop-owners-say-theyre-forced-to-close-or-move-while-businesses-in-kingsford-brace-themselves-for-the-light-rail/news-story/5a0c5cc85907048ff9eb7cc4c61a24ed.
When construction starts between Canberra City and Dickson all parking on the roads adjacent to Northbourne Avenue will have to be abolished to create clearways for detoured road traffic.
To abandon the project now is the only sensible thing left to do.

rommeldog56 8:02 am 30 Aug 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Or the fact that the Liberals have admitted we will need it in only 20 years time, but they just don’t want to build it right now (maybe in 10 years they would though? who knows).

Or the fact that we could have an ACT wide network connecting all the major locations and still have it all cost less than 1% of the overall ACT budget? Those facts?

The “build it now” argument : No. This is not a national infrastructure project that will spur on national economic development – like the Snowy Mountains Scheme was to do. It is not necessary now. Also, when the ACT Gov’t takes control of it in 20+ years time, it will no doubt need refurbishment if it is to continue in use. IMHO, all this tram will do is to move commuters Gunners to Civic in roughly the same time as a rapid bus will do. Oh, and get drunks back to a tram station in Gunners after a night out, so they can drive home from there of course.

The 1% of the budget was spin and was discredited both on here and elsewhere. The ACT Auditor General said that the total cost would be about b$1.7+ (ie. the amount of Ratepayers money that will be paid to the consortia) – and that’s just for the 1st 12 Ks of track !

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