14 March 2019

Government releases updated bus timetable six weeks before launch

| Lachlan Roberts
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Transport Canberra said the new bus network will start April 29. File Photo.

After nearly five months since the last Government report on community feedback on the proposed network, the ACT Government has released its new bus timetable before the network becomes operational in six weeks.

Canberrans can now start to plan their trip on the new network before the launch at the beginning of term two on Monday 29 April, with the Government promising one month of free travel on the new bus and light rail network.

ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the Government does not have an exact date for light rail yet but is confident it will begin either before or at the same time as the new bus network begins.

The Government continues to be dogged by complaints that the new network has reduced people’s travel options in some areas and about fewer dedicated school bus services.

“This is a new era for public transport in Canberra. Our city is growing and that’s why we are investing in a better public transport network to keep Canberra connected,” she said.

“We know this will be a big change for many people, but we hope having a more frequent, faster network every day of the week will encourage more people to catch public transport.”

Ms Fitzharris said the release of the timetables and route maps allows people to start planning their journeys and has provided a new journey planner to make it even easier for people to plan their trip on public transport.

The new network was completely redesigned using data from the MyWay ticketing system and is made up of shorter, more direct routes, with services designed to connect at interchanges across the city.

Ms Fitzharris said the new network will include 10 rapid routes, light rail, new local routes and more buses servicing schools across the ACT.

There will be services at least every 15 minutes along rapid transport routes from 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, continuing into the evening with less frequency, with weekend and public holiday service times to be extended to 10 pm.

Canberra Liberals transport spokesperson Candice Burch said the new network will have fewer routes for schools and suburbs, with 59 schools to be left without a dedicated bus service.

“The Canberra Liberals welcome more frequent services along rapid transport routes, however, we remain concerned about the loss of dedicated school bus services, some suburban services, and services for students on the ANU campus,” Ms Burch said.

“Parents and school communities remain concerned about how long their kids’ bus trip will take, and how long children will be waiting at interchanges before or after school.

“We will continue to fight for dedicated school bus services to be reinstated.”

Ms Fitzharris said there will be increased safety across the network, with CCTV cameras on every bus and at all major interchanges, school crossing supervisors at 25 school crossings, improvements to infrastructure around schools and an additional 28 customer service assistants at interchanges.

When the new network begins, additional transport officers, customer service assistants and Transport Canberra representatives will be at major bus interchanges to help customers with the changes and provide timetable information.

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It used to take me 30 mins by bus to the city, now it will take 50 to 70 minutes. Ridiculous

A new network based solely on myway ignores trying to get new bus users. 80% of 80% of 80% of each new network timetable.

Just checked the new network to see what my best options are to get to work from Nicholls to Woden – 1hr 4o minutes – Not happening

With a free return trip in 1:30 minutes from start of travel.

Definitely too many losers under the new network.

Plenty of winners were created at the expense of those suburbs and areas that Canberra Transport targeted to make their public transport commute much worse.

The head of the new Bus route design has never been man enough to come out and face the people and explain why he took their existing Bus away or why he decided to re-route it miles out of the optimal way.

Every suburb that had a xpresso buses looses (except for a couple of deep Tuggeranong suburbs). The other losers are the ones who straddle satellite town boundaries and that were serviced with buses that served both those towns. So Nicholls which had buses to Belconnen and Gungahlin and yes Kambah which had buses to Woden and Tuggeranong.

As for your last statement pretty certain the government has spoken about the intent of the new network and why some buses were taken away. Wether you agree with that is a different matter.

Me personally I agree with the intent because the biggest bus issue has always been the time suburban buses meander through the suburbs. Though o don’t agree fully with the new network especially the loss of xpressos.

Oh and OP what is the current commute time Nichols to Woden? I just googled it and got 1h25 give or take a few minutes.

These examples are why I bought a house near to where I worked; not across town. Then when I applied for new jobs they had to be walking, cycling or an easy bus route from home.

Have you ever thought that might not be practical for a lot of people considering the price of houses and where the vast majority of employment is in the ACT?

I’ll give the new network a go (as an occasional bus user), but it looks to be worse than my existing bus service. I’m not sure of the rationale behind the changes.

Having looked at the timetables, I’m less than thrilled that my most common routes (formerly a 10 or 20 minute ride on one bus) will now be 30-40 minutes on up to three buses.

As yet, no reply from the Minister (or staff) on my email to her office.

Current network: I leave home one hour before I have to be at work, and the trip requires one change (ie. two buses).
New network: I have to leave home one hour and 50 minutes before I have to be at work, and the trip will require two changes (ie. three buses).
I assume that’s what they mean when they say “more buses in the new network”. It would only take an extra 10 minutes to walk the whole way!

Our kids&neighbours still have a school bus service but they now have to be at the bus stop 38 mins EARLIER than before, seriously how is that an improvement.
Starts at 7.10 am so in the middle of winter a bunch of young kids are going to be walking to and waiting at a bustop in about minus 7 degrees, let alone what time they will have to actually get up to be their by 7.10.
SHAME on the ACT Government selling out kids and ratepaying/taxpaying citizens so they can pay for their train to nowhere.
Woefully inadequate commuter parking has been provided in Gunghalin.

In our family alone the EXTRA time taken for each of the 3 individuals is from 25 to 38 minutes – extra each way. A new improved transport system, yeah, for whom?

I find it rather interesting that they still have this media called “Moving Canberra”, yet they are now producing a new network. Out of sync or have I missed something? Of course, it will fail because they did not ask the cohort that travels in each direction. And to add insult, using My Way data only takes into account the converted travel habits, not the other 93%. Good luck Meeghan! When will you learn?

Would love to see Liberal promoting themselves on the tram taking up free seats during the free month.

Why exactly doesn’t the government have a date for the light rail start?

Because they need accreditation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator before they can carry paying passengers.

To get that they need to be audited and demonstrate they can operate safely.

A month of free Bus and Light Rail Services for those lucky enough to live in suburbs with improved transport services.

A month of Free services Paid for by those people who have had their bus services downgraded and will have years of slower travel commutes and longer walks to their bus stop.

michael quirk5:19 pm 15 Mar 19

Abandon light raii to Woden and use the funds to increase the frequency,
coverage and comfort of the bus network

So I did a quick check of the timetables for Belconnen and by my calculations there are 12 buses due to arrive at Westfield station (heading down the hill towards interchange) between 7:34am and 7:40am. Not sure where they will all fit especially if others are running late and arrive at same time? Are they going to be queued back up Cohen St?

Maree Anne Pavloudis3:39 pm 15 Mar 19

There will be no buses going through CIT Bruce and Calvary Hospital. Where is the inclusion and accessibility? This is a case of discrimination against people with disabilities and the elderly, among others. Where is the access to higher education and health services?

So Light rail will run on Friday and Saturday nights until 1am but all buses finish before midnight? Surely there could be some consistency and have the last bus leave the city at 1am as well

I just don’t get the logic of the transport minister choosing which suburbs would be winners and which suburbs would be losers from the new Bus network. Certainly some areas are much better off than others.

Seems to be the outer suburbs with poorer people who have been kicked hard by transport Canberra, so that they can service areas they want to target to get the usage stats up. That’s patently undemocratic.

I’ve complained about how bad the news routes are for many Tuggeranong residents, but I have to add big chunks of Belconnen and western Gungahlin to the loser list.

Dunlop seems to be a big winner which is a poorer putter suburb.

And will agree I live in western Gungahlin and the new network is worse for us.

But realistically could you create a new network that has no losers?

Could I create a network with no losers? I’m sure many transport experts could give it a very good shot with the huge extra expenditure the government has committed to the bus network.

We know you’re consistently the strongest supporter of Canberra Transport on the Riotact, but surely even you can see the level of complaints from residents across about the same 10 suburbs and realise something is amiss with the new routes.

I see complaints from more than 10 suburbs, it seems across the board. That said I don’t hear too many complaints from Dunlop for example who is a big winner so who knows maybe overall there are more winners than losers and frankly that’s about the best anyone could hope for.

And I too am someone who has complained and provided feedback. To me the biggest failing is the lack of peak hour express buses and at an even bigger level the lack of the push for park and ride. In fact I think the government should more or less give up on trying to get EVERY to use public transport from the house and get them to big park and rides with frequent transport from there. The light rail being the biggest failing in that regard. Both mitchel and EPIC would be ideal park and ride locations but nope nothing even to the extent I believe light rail will be skipping the EPIC stop except during special events (this is in the contract and also on some of the destination displays on the test trams)

Other than that I can see what the core issue is with buses in Canberra which is the time they take to meander through the suburbs to get to an interchange so for the most part I don’t mind the idea of changing wn-route from a local bus to an express. Refer to above about park and rides.

Yep I definitely agree with you on having better Park and Ride facilities.

But the existing Kambah ‘Park and Ride’ used to have 1 stop and straight up the Parkway direct to Woden, You didn’t think this change to re-direct the route through Weston Creek and Cooleman Court and basically double the travel time was a problem. Kambah had Express Busses that have been removed. You now seem to be going against your previous arguments when the new 2019 system was mooted by pushing for better Park and Ride and more Peak hour express busses.

This is why so many Kambah people (and former kambah people) are complaining on Riotact, Canberra Times, ABC radio etc etc. It’s not just Kambah however, its other Suburbs right across Canberra who have the same issues, but some suburbs such as Dunlop and a few in Weston Creek are big winners from the change. I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the Suburbs that some key Ministers and Transport Executives live in 😉

The light rail *will* start on Saturday 29th April. Remember my post on a previous thread about the tram? I said that it would start on that date, the last Saturday in April. And it will.
Thank you linesmen, thank you ballboys 🙂

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