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It’s our crap systems, not a decline in passengers – ACTION

By johnboy - 31 August 2010 18

ACTION bus

Canberra’s astonishingly inept bus system reaches a new low in today’s Canberra Times with a staggering 6-8% drop in passenger numbers blamed on an inability to charge and count them.

A new ticket system was due to start in July but is now awaiting customer trials in October prior to introduction.

How bad does it have to get before there’s a management clear out?

What’s Your opinion?


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It’s our crap systems, not a decline in passengers – ACTION
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JC 4:47 pm 01 Sep 10

mcs said :

The ticketing machines that are currently used are that old stonedwookie that they can’t even get replacement units for them- they have had to chase around trying to find 2nd hand ones. That and the fact they break down regularly is why there is a new system coming in. Its hardly privacy invasion though- all it will record is what class of ticket it is (Adult, concession etc), and where you get on and get off the bus. That is hardly privacy invasion, and the information should be useful to ACTION in adjusting their routes/timetables etc etc and hopefully improving the bus service. The actual chip card setup is far better for getting people on and off the bus as well (except for the need to swipe on the way out which is a bit crap but necessary). It works well in London on the tube, so I’m sure a similar system will be fine here in Canberra.

There is a big difference between the tube and a bus in terms of exiting. How about you come a little closer to home and go to Melbourne and look at their new system that requires people to tag on and off their trams. If you did you would see tagging off is such a pain in the bum that they have or are soon going to stop it by getting rid of their short trip tickets.

ML-585 11:00 am 01 Sep 10

Thumper said :

Did I hear last night on WIN news that Stanhope stated that they’d been working on this ticketing system for three years?

If so, incompetence is the only word for it.

I mean seriously, how hard is it to collect bus fares?

Seriously?? If you want an example of incompetence look at Melbourne or Sydney and their failed attempts to introduce a smart-card public transport ticketing system. Not to mention massive budget blow outs.

I don’t know whether three years is an accurate figure, but that would include the tender and selection process. I personally prefer that the time is taken to do things correctly.

In any case, pilot testing on ten buses has now commenced.

mcs 9:18 am 01 Sep 10

stonedwookie said :

this new ticket system sounds expensive bus fairs will be raised again also sounds like privacy invasion being spyed on which bus i catch in some electronic chip whats the point really other then hoarding useless infomation when we all know 300 is the busiest bus duh.
the ticket machines seem to work most of the time no system is perfect

The ticketing machines that are currently used are that old stonedwookie that they can’t even get replacement units for them- they have had to chase around trying to find 2nd hand ones. That and the fact they break down regularly is why there is a new system coming in. Its hardly privacy invasion though- all it will record is what class of ticket it is (Adult, concession etc), and where you get on and get off the bus. That is hardly privacy invasion, and the information should be useful to ACTION in adjusting their routes/timetables etc etc and hopefully improving the bus service. The actual chip card setup is far better for getting people on and off the bus as well (except for the need to swipe on the way out which is a bit crap but necessary). It works well in London on the tube, so I’m sure a similar system will be fine here in Canberra.

Thumper 9:15 am 01 Sep 10

Did I hear last night on WIN news that Stanhope stated that they’d been working on this ticketing system for three years?

If so, incompetence is the only word for it.

I mean seriously, how hard is it to collect bus fares?

everyone I’ve heard whinge about Action that I’ve heard have always been from people who never ever USE the buses.

Have you ever considered why these people don’t use the buses?

stonedwookie 8:00 am 01 Sep 10

this new ticket system sounds expensive bus fairs will be raised again also sounds like privacy invasion being spyed on which bus i catch in some electronic chip whats the point really other then hoarding useless infomation when we all know 300 is the busiest bus duh.
the ticket machines seem to work most of the time no system is perfect

MWF 8:45 pm 31 Aug 10

Skidbladnir said :

AG Canberra said :

I catch the bus home each night. I have only been charged twice since the 4th of August. This is the best value 10 trip ticket I have ever purchased.

I used to buy a monthly ticket, then moved to the 10 ride ones when I realised that, due to a population of sufficiently broken machines in use on each leg of the trip, I could get roughly half my total journeys for free.

I have bought my kid 3 10 trip school kid tickets this year, a total of $30 or so dollars. The ticket machine on the bus is always broken. Bargain transport – it’s always FREE FREE FREE!!!!

mikal 7:46 pm 31 Aug 10

There have been consistent ticketing machine failures for my recent rides. I assumed they’d just stopped fixing the machines given they were about to be replaced.

geoffrah 7:29 pm 31 Aug 10

KB1971 said :

I peronally think the people who criticise Action are generally people who rarely use the service and will not change thier lives from car based travel to public transport travel. Travel by public transport requires the user to change not the system.

No its not as convenient as a car but its not as inconvenient as people make out.

Spot on KB1971 – everyone I’ve heard whinge about Action that I’ve heard have always been from people who never ever USE the buses. Don’t knock what you don’t know !

nhand42 5:12 pm 31 Aug 10

I caught the bus to work once a few years ago. I needed to changes busses twice (three busses in total) and it took an hour and a half to travel from Gungahlin to the Airport. It takes 25 minutes by car.

Waste of time. Never bothered again.

Skidbladnir 4:55 pm 31 Aug 10

AG Canberra said :

I catch the bus home each night. I have only been charged twice since the 4th of August. This is the best value 10 trip ticket I have ever purchased.

I used to buy a monthly ticket, then moved to the 10 ride ones when I realised that, due to a population of sufficiently broken machines in use on each leg of the trip, I could get roughly half my total journeys for free.

*checks wallet*
This set of ten rides, despite catching buses to work every morning and home every day, starts on August 24th, and still has four rides available.

JC 4:43 pm 31 Aug 10

Keijidosha said :

After using ACTION for a solid 3 years I gave up and now drive/ride to work. The so-called “expresso” service is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. To get from West Belconnen to Civic using this service takes upward of 45 minutes. To travel on a regular “300” series bus only adds 5-10 minutes – a gap that will narrow further once the new Barry Drive bus lane is in operation.

If the bus network in the ACT is to work properly, it needs more than a new ticketing system. There needs to be a ground-up rethink, starting with paring back the spread of routes, and working with ACT Roads to provide more peak-hour transit roads purely for use of buses. This is especially needed on the Northside, and Gunghalin.

How will that speed up your journey from West Belconnen? 45 minutes is not too bad from out there (where I also happen to live).

Kerryhemsley 4:05 pm 31 Aug 10

KB1971 said :

I am going to back Action here. I live in the deep south and commute daily via bus & pushbike (30km). The bus service has only let me down on a couple of occaisions when I needed a bike rack and the next bus didnt have one (3 times in 3 years if my memory serves me rightly).

The service is cheap, $2.50 to travel 30km is a bargain & there is a 3 series bus every 1/2 hour (5 minutes inter town). It picks me up in my street & drops me off out the front of work. The buses are mainly on time and the drivers mostly friendly if you say gudday to them (which seems to be such a task fo some Canberrans). It takes an hour at the longest & 40 minutes if I take an expresso.

Compare this to say a train in Melbourne. If I was to live in SE Melbourne & take the train to work I would have to either drive or take a bus to the train station. Driving leaves your car at risk of break in or complete theft. I dont know what the bus ride took but the train ride return was $22 per day (3 years ago was the last time I travelled on the train down there) and it takes about 1.5 hours to get to the City. This particular system is plagued with delays due to aging infrastructure (especially in summer)and a stand alone ticketing system that does not work properly (the VIC government had to make their own even though there were off the shelf systems availiable). These are a couple of examples I can think of at this time.

I peronally think the people who criticise Action are generally people who rarely use the service and will not change thier lives from car based travel to public transport travel. Travel by public transport requires the user to change not the system.

No its not as convenient as a car but its not as inconvenient as people make out.

People say its a waste of taxpayers money and inefficient, the ACT government is the only duristition in Australia that still owns a bus service so of course it is going to be heavily subsidised, thats why it is so cheap to travel. Enjoy it, jump on Deans bus to Queanbeya & see how much it costs………..

Is that jurisdiction? Pretty sure the State Transit Authority is still owned by NSW Government (not sure it should be).

Service is not that cheap and given the timetables and routes available is not value for money for the rate payer if it is heavily subsidised.

sepi 4:02 pm 31 Aug 10

Wouldn’t there always be a slight decline in ACTION numbers in mid-Winter. Also it has been wet. there are always more cars on the road on wet mornings, as people don’t want to trek down to the bus stop or ride in the wet.

I know I used to catch the bus to work, and I gave it up one year in mid-winter – it is just too cold to stand around waiting for a bus that is taking forever to arrive.

braddonboy 3:03 pm 31 Aug 10

I catch a bus from Kambah to Civic and home three times a week. I get on any one of the 300-series which seem to appear about every five minutes along Athlon Drive in the morning and the same from Civic going home…takes 30 mins and is a bargain at $2.70 a ride.

But a strange thing can happen at the Woden interchange in the mornings and the Civic interchange in the afternoons…the ACTION people with notepads who seem to direct operations at the interchanges regularly tell passengers who hold passes to board the bus through the central doors. This means that, in the course of a month, many hundreds of passenger movements are not recorded and those passengers are getting a free ride.

No wonder there was an apparent 6%-8% decline in passenger numbers in July.

KB1971 2:50 pm 31 Aug 10

I am going to back Action here. I live in the deep south and commute daily via bus & pushbike (30km). The bus service has only let me down on a couple of occaisions when I needed a bike rack and the next bus didnt have one (3 times in 3 years if my memory serves me rightly).

The service is cheap, $2.50 to travel 30km is a bargain & there is a 3 series bus every 1/2 hour (5 minutes inter town). It picks me up in my street & drops me off out the front of work. The buses are mainly on time and the drivers mostly friendly if you say gudday to them (which seems to be such a task fo some Canberrans). It takes an hour at the longest & 40 minutes if I take an expresso.

Compare this to say a train in Melbourne. If I was to live in SE Melbourne & take the train to work I would have to either drive or take a bus to the train station. Driving leaves your car at risk of break in or complete theft. I dont know what the bus ride took but the train ride return was $22 per day (3 years ago was the last time I travelled on the train down there) and it takes about 1.5 hours to get to the City. This particular system is plagued with delays due to aging infrastructure (especially in summer)and a stand alone ticketing system that does not work properly (the VIC government had to make their own even though there were off the shelf systems availiable). These are a couple of examples I can think of at this time.

I peronally think the people who criticise Action are generally people who rarely use the service and will not change thier lives from car based travel to public transport travel. Travel by public transport requires the user to change not the system.

No its not as convenient as a car but its not as inconvenient as people make out.

People say its a waste of taxpayers money and inefficient, the ACT government is the only duristition in Australia that still owns a bus service so of course it is going to be heavily subsidised, thats why it is so cheap to travel. Enjoy it, jump on Deans bus to Queanbeya & see how much it costs………..

Kerryhemsley 2:12 pm 31 Aug 10

The first thing Action need to think about is providing a transport service that actually meets the needs of the community.

Then maybe they might get the support of the public and the extraordinary percentage of people who drive cars to work in Canberra will decline.

AG Canberra 1:32 pm 31 Aug 10

I catch the bus home each night. I have only been charged twice since the 4th of August. This is the best value 10 trip ticket I have ever purchased.

I see this as an offset for the 11 bucks a day we have to pay for parking now on London Circut.

I have suggested this before – make all buses in the ACT free. That removes the ‘cost’ barrier that many use when arguing against the use of buses.

Keijidosha 12:55 pm 31 Aug 10

After using ACTION for a solid 3 years I gave up and now drive/ride to work. The so-called “expresso” service is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. To get from West Belconnen to Civic using this service takes upward of 45 minutes. To travel on a regular “300” series bus only adds 5-10 minutes – a gap that will narrow further once the new Barry Drive bus lane is in operation.

If the bus network in the ACT is to work properly, it needs more than a new ticketing system. There needs to be a ground-up rethink, starting with paring back the spread of routes, and working with ACT Roads to provide more peak-hour transit roads purely for use of buses. This is especially needed on the Northside, and Gunghalin.

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