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.