How the Woden Interchange project will affect your commute

Ian Bushnell 1 March 2021 33
Proposed Woden Interchange

An artist’s impression of the proposed Woden Interchange. Image: ACT Government.

Commuters from Woden to the City will be swapping their Rapid buses for light rail once the line is connected to the Town Centre sometime after 2026, according to a consultant’s report included in the development application for the proposed new interchange.

The report from Veitch Lister Consulting, which sets out interchange arrangements and network changes as the facility and light rail Stage 2B is constructed, confirms that the Rapid 4 and 5 buses from Tuggeranong will terminate at Woden, and passengers will transfer to light rail for the run into the city.

At present, the Rapids take 15 minutes to get to the city and the light rail journey will be comparable if a little longer, but only after the so-called Barton dogleg was dropped in 2019, which would have meant a 25 to 30-minute run.

There will be extra stops, including the run around City West before arriving at Alinga Street.

The report assumes post-light rail that Routes 74, 75 and 78 from Tuggeranong will be extended to Woden via the upgraded Athllon Drive to provide a single transfer journey to the city. Route 79 will also be merged into routes 76 and 78.

The report covers four phases of the Interchange project – pre-Woden Depot, post-Woden Depot, light rail construction and post-light rail – and outlines safety risks and challenges the government will face during construction.

The government is also building a new depot in Phillip that will house 104 buses, which will allow greater frequency on routes.

Before light rail is connected, the light rail stops in the centre of Callam Street will serve the R4 and R5 buses, while local routes will use the eastern and western sides of the street.

In the first phase – sometime between 2021 and 2023 – before the depot comes online, there will be several changes to Weston Creek and Tuggeranong routes.

Routes 63, 64, 65, 70, 71 will be re-routed to turn left on to Melrose Drive, where there will be a new stop at Brewer Street near Westfield, instead of continuing further along Hindmarsh drive to turn left on to Callam Street. This is designed to balance inbound and outbound services to and from Woden.

Outbound buses will continue to divert into Corinna Street to serve the existing stop at the shopping centre.

Tuggeranong routes 72, 76 and 77 will be re-routed from Yamba Drive, with 76 and the 77 continuing straight up an upgraded Athllon Drive to Callam Street while the 72 will divert to serve Mawson, Torrens and Chifley (via Beasley Street, Wilkins Street, Heard Street, Mawson Drive, Hodgson Crescent, Melrose Drive, Botany Street and Hindmarsh Drive).


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Originating buses will do the reverse, with their first stop on the eastern side of the Woden Interchange before travelling south.

A Callam Street stop about 80 metres north of Hindmarsh Drive and only 400 metres south of the Interchange used mainly by R4 and R5 passengers will be removed.

In the second phase – sometime between 2023 and 2025 – the Woden Bus Depot will open and buses will continue to use platforms in Callam Street.

The report assumes that frequencies will increase on local routes to at least three services per hour, with South Canberra routes 57 and 58 going to four, and 59 to six.

Along with this ‘aspiration’, two new routes are envisaged – from Molonglo and Fyshwick.

These changes are likely to lead to increased demand at the Woden Interchange during the morning peak.

The report assumes that sometime between 2025 and 2026, light rail to Woden will be under construction, which is likely to be a “challenging time” for operations at the Interchange.

The central transit corridor in Callam Street will be inaccessible, but buses will continue to use the outer carriageways in Callum Street.

The report warns that with fewer bus stops available for use, the facility is expected to face congestion during peak times, and any encroachment by light rail construction into the operational portion of the interchange could pose risks to health and safety, as well as compromise its ability to function effectively.


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33 Responses to How the Woden Interchange project will affect your commute
Julian Rowe Julian Rowe 5:55 pm 02 Mar 21

Dolla for the bus brah!?

bj_ACT bj_ACT 1:19 pm 02 Mar 21

The 2019 bus network changes made the commute to work slower for the majority of Tuggeranong workers, now this proposal is going to make that trip to work in the city or Belconnen even slower again.

Who designs these Canberra bus network changes? The two guys from Dumber and Dumber???

2903Tuggers 2903Tuggers 11:48 am 02 Mar 21

All very interesting. But Westfield – sorry, Woden – is unlikely to see light rail before 2030. So there is plenty of time to pay consultants to move toy buses and trams around on a floor map.

Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 9:04 am 02 Mar 21

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    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 2:55 pm 02 Mar 21

    I'll have one of each. Here is the delivery address https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Parliament+Dr,+Capital+Hill+ACT+2600/@-35.3070134,149.1245733,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x6b164d200405db67:0x150bc5b73548d0f3!8m2!3d-35.3070178!4d149.126762

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 12:51 am 02 Mar 21

By 2027 I hope to be able to retire and move to a community that is less at the whim of developers.

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 6:25 pm 09 Mar 21

    you wish to retire somewhere no one wishes to live? well good luck with finding services there.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:01 pm 01 Mar 21

“by 2045 there won’t be anyone car maker in the world still making petrol vehicles, and a good thing too.”

Remember “peak petrol”? That was going to put all cars off the road too but it didn’t happen.

There are huge quantities of unexploited oil deposits all over the globe. All the infrastructure, independent of grids etc. is ready to turn it into petrol which will become cheaper and cheaper.

Concurrent with this happening, renewables which are already the most expensive way to produce electricity will become more expensive.

Not such a good thing after all.

Tom Adam Tom Adam 9:53 pm 01 Mar 21

And yet we keep pointing out that Mawson is a much better terminus for stage 2B to remove bus trips of 1 stop for thousands of children and travelers.

But please go ahead with the plan that will not make the development beyond “Westfield” easier and less of an impact for the area.

    Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 8:50 am 02 Mar 21

    Tom Adam currently there is an option to extend stage 2b to Mawson. Otherwise Woden to Tuggeranong is Stage 4.

    Melbourne didn’t wake up one morning with the entire city covered by trams.

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 8:52 am 02 Mar 21

    Robert, I am aware of the option - I wrote the paper on it that was accepted.

Jennie Smith Jennie Smith 9:52 pm 01 Mar 21

Sounds like Southside residents are about to taste what Gungahlin residents had to put up with a coupe of years ago. The way the tram numbers increased was for developers to build 2 very tall apartment blocks followed by 3 smaller ones. Hence by having more residents close to the interchange the greater the number of travellers. After a few months of tram travel I was able to retired so didnt need to put up with being squashed into an impersonalised sardine tin for too long. Woden residents should be thankful that major roadworks won't be carried out at the same time unlike Gungahlin which had to endure both the tram and roadworks for over 2 years. Good luck with it all.

    Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 9:11 am 02 Mar 21

    Jennie Smith yes we should cancel every major infrastructure project because it may inconvenience people’s commute for a short time. Heck the Hume hwy would still be single lane all the way to Sydney.

    If you want “inconvenience” try Sydney CBD when they were building the George Street tram line which went way over time and budget.

    Stage 1 was built on time and in budget .. well done.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:15 pm 03 Mar 21

    Jennie Smith vast majority of the tram works were done in the median strip of flemmington road with minimal impact.

    There was more impact from Mitchell to Federal highway which has resulted in an upgraded road. IMO they could have upgraded the road to 2 lanes each way for the whole length but regardless the disruptive works were more for the benefit of the road. Northborne was not impacted too greatly.

    As for Woden disruption will be in the city and Woden end. The rest is in a wide median.

Mark Newman Mark Newman 9:36 pm 01 Mar 21

This ACT labour/greens government are planning to have all petrol and diesel powered cars off the road by 2045. Your options will be electric powered cars and bikes, active travel(walk or ride) or utilise ACT’s rubbish public transport system to meet their zero emissions target.

There has been only a 3% increase in public transport usage from 2006 to 2016 but this government thinks there will be a sudden surge of 200% increase in usage by 2025 all thanks to the tram. With a grand plan of having 50% of canberrans using public transport or 600 000 trips per day by 2045.

Let’s be honest this isn’t going to happen but we will sure as hell pay to continue to live in Andrew’s fantasy land. The ACT climate change strategy even states as a priority of this government to create a compact and efficient city which translates to more dense housing around the tram line. I would love to see our public transport system accommodate 600 000 trips per day, a lot of people are going to be late........

    Alan Hopkins Alan Hopkins 9:47 pm 01 Mar 21

    by 2045 there won't be anyone car maker in the world still making petrol vehicles, and a good thing too.

    Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 8:47 am 02 Mar 21

    Alan Hopkins I would suggest that by 2030 there will be very few still making ICE cars

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 5:58 pm 01 Mar 21

The light rail obsession (look at this elongated ink-blot and tell us what you see, gentlemen) of the boys who run this town knows no bounds. Even their own consultants point out the awful problems this proposal involves, and yet they still obstinately plough ahead, trying to sell it with the usual intelligence-insulting spin which pretends that there is absolutely no alternative to doing this thing pronto and that a bit of green window dressing will make it all OK.

The one positive part of the overall proposal is the new CIT – which would be a long overdue boost for the Woden town centre, with ongoing employment benefits. The government should find a way of doing that first, get going on it, and go back to the drawing board on the practicalities of its light rail to the south fantasies.

    Heavs Heavs 8:24 pm 01 Mar 21

    How would you do it first genius? CIT goes where the current interchange is. You can’t levitate it over the top. You have to build the new interchange first.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:58 am 02 Mar 21

    Most people that will be going to CIT will be from the Tuggeranong and Weston Creek areas and the tram doesn’t run there. Trams from City to Woden will be empty.

    Heavs Heavs 4:06 pm 02 Mar 21

    Two points;
    1. It’s a bus interchange with provision for light rail in the future. Saves doing a bunch of re-work at a later date. If the light rail doesn’t come through (and I don’t know what you’d do with your day if it didn’t) then it stays as a bus interchange.
    2. Not sure if you quite understand the CIT model. Certain courses get taught at certain campus. It’s not only students from Tuggeranong and Weston Creek that want to do hospitality or hairdressing (which are getting picked up and moved from Reid to Woden).

Iaian Ross Iaian Ross 5:53 pm 01 Mar 21

"Before light rail is connected, the light rail stops in the centre of Callam Street will serve the R4 and R5 buses, while local routes will use the eastern and western sides of the street."

So to catch a northbound bus, you need to stand next to the southbound side of the road and vice versa?

brianf brianf 4:46 pm 01 Mar 21

This is a daft proposal that will increase commuter times for all. Having to go through interchanges is the thing that makes catching the bus slow, so having to change onto the tram means every single journey will be longer. The plan also moves the interchange further from the shops, adds thousands of CIT students to the area, and has a hotel with one tiny laneway for access. Their plans don’t even have pictures of pedestrians or cyclists trying to cross the area east-west, so too bad if you think you can get from the interchange to the hospital. The plan completely ignores the Woden master plan feedback that said access was the biggest issue. It is incredibly, frustratingly bad urban design.

Martin Miller Martin Miller 4:36 pm 01 Mar 21

For nearly 50 yrs as a Canberra bus commuter from the southside you are able to catch 1 bus (articulated) that will take you from Tuggeraonog to Belconnen without having to change at an interchange. Given that most of the facilities are at Belconnen particarly for Uni students this is great. Now when light rail arrives you will now have to transition at Woden ( limited weather protection) and at Civic ( limited weather protection) to get to Belconnen. It will be a overall a much much slower commute . There will also be Light rail stops at Curruthers st, Kent st and Hopetoun Cct along Yarra Glen - Adelaide Ave. Yes these stops were investigated for bus stops as well, some years ago. Overall there will be nothing gained for southside commuters except a slower more expensive service , with more people standing up ( Capacity light rail vehicle 100 standing 66 seats).

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:59 pm 02 Mar 21

    Martin Miller 50 years? You wouldn’t have done that from Tuggeranong! The first suburb in Tuggeranong isn’t even 50 years old, Those first suburbs like Kambah had to change for a bus to Belconnen at Woden. And to get to CIT or UC (CCAE as it was known then) you had to go to Woden then the 333 to Belconnen and change as the 333 was an express that went down Valley way in Belconnen.

    The first direct bus to Tuggeranong from Belconnen came in the early 90’s but even then if I recall it was only every second bus for a few years. And it was late 90’s early 2000’s that buses changed to go down Haydon Drive this negating the change in Belconnen. So really no worse than what it was 50 years ago. Will be same or better.

    David Green David Green 7:36 pm 02 Mar 21

    Martin Miller move to the country were there is no buses stop complaining you have it good

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:56 pm 02 Mar 21

    Martin Miller clearly it is time for the Woden-Belconnen passengers to be serviced by a route that travels via Coolo, Molonglo and Coulter Drive. Would be much quicker and avoid congesting Civic.

    Martin Miller Martin Miller 12:53 am 03 Mar 21

    Ashley Wright you are incorrect .I've said for nearly 50 years . It started with the 333 from Woden to Belconnen then was extended to Tuggeranong when the town centre was built. Any way transitioning from bus to light rail to buses at Woden and Civic will make the trip much much slower.

    Martin Miller Martin Miller 1:09 am 03 Mar 21

    Bill Gemmell true but then Civic has the ANU . The Gungahlin Woden route is flawed because Gungahlin residents and Woden residents do not transit in high numbers between each other.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:46 am 03 Mar 21

    Martin Miller you are wrong. When the town centre was built and the Hyperdome opened the 333 did not go to the hyperdome. It was a bus to Woden, the 160 if I am not mistaken.

    When the Tuggeranong bus interchange was built in 1991 that’s when the 333 went direct to Tuggeranong initially only every second service too. That’s 30 years ago.

    But as I said even in those days the 333 didn’t go to the places in Belconnen you specifically mention above. That came in the late 90’s when the 333 was replaced with the 300’s series buses. So that’s only just over 20 years ago.

    Both measures are a far cry from the nearly 50 you claim.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:34 am 03 Mar 21

    Martin Miller all I am suggesting is that some of the load could be serviced by an alternative that may well be quicker as well. Also, would provide a strategic alternative during the upcoming high congestion period

Richard Windsor Richard Windsor 2:18 pm 01 Mar 21

There is still no rational cost/benefit analysis for this white elephant. Given the choice of busses with the majority of passengers seated compared to trams with the majority of peak hour passengers standing, I suspect lots will vote with their bums and drive (even car-pool)

aussie2 aussie2 2:10 pm 01 Mar 21

I ask again. This is a waste of public funds and is too expensive. That aside, as a Tuggeranong traveller, why would you catch the long distance bus via Woden when you can go via Yamba Drive or Tugg Parkway in better time with fewer stops. Absolutely bonkers Canberra. You seems to have agreed to it though I have not the faintest idea why. May it is the fancy toy which takes too long over the current bus route which is itself too long via Woden. The DA needs to be shot down in flames and those Ministers responsible removed from office post hjaste before they make our day to day living more exspensive for little gain. You can contact me to discuss further-dabblers3@gmail.com if you have something to say.

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