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.