Canberrans who haven’t yet tried out the new light rail service for free only have until this Sunday to do so.
The city’s month of free rides on trams and buses comes to an end on Sunday 26 May, with Canberrans being encouraged to get on board and try the new public transport network during the last few days of free travel.
The ACT Government provided a month of free transport for people with MyWay cards from April 29 to build patronage and acceptance for its new integrated public transport system which was rolled out on the same day.
The initiative has led to record numbers of people using the new network but did not stop a torrent of complaints from disgruntled bus passengers who were unhappy about the loss of previous routes, longer commutes and the axing of some dedicated school buses.
Less than two weeks after the new bus service’s introduction, community pressure forced the ACT Government to make some improvements, including bigger buses for certain services, adding extra services past schools where there was high demand and adjusting bus stops near schools. It also added more light rail services, particularly where it had proven to be more popular than anticipated.
ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said that so far more than 1,629,720 passenger journeys have been made by Canberrans using the new services, with record numbers recorded on every measure.
“We’ve offered a month of free travel to help people give it a go and get used to the new network,” Ms Fitzharris said.
“While this has been a big adjustment for a number of regular users, feedback is already showing people, including school students, are starting to get used to the changes and find a route that works best for them.
“We are also hearing more each day from new and existing users about how the new network has given them added options, and that they are now using public transport more, and in some cases using public transport for the first time,” Ms Fitzharris said.
“We are also giving priority to school-related travel issues, and Transport Canberra have been talking to schools, monitoring services and making adjustments. And our Transport Officers, Customer Service Assistants and other staff have been out and about, helping people at interchanges and at light rail stops.
“We hope people will continue to use public transport after the free period concludes, and we will keep monitoring the system as people settle into travel patterns and get used to our new integrated public transport network.”
With paid services starting back up on Monday, May 27, Canberrans are being reminded to top up their MyWay cards and avoid fines of up to $181 for travelling without a ticket.
Passengers are also being reminded to tap off on all services, including light rail, to ensure they pay the lowest possible MyWay fare.
MyWay cards are available from a select number of newsagencies, post offices, and Access Canberra outlets. Click here to see the full list.
MyWay cards are $5 for adults, $2.50 for students and concession card holders, and free for seniors. They need to be topped up to pay for the cost of travel.
All MyWay fares include a free 90-minute transfer period so that passengers can connect to a different bus or light rail service or start their return journey using the same ticket within 90 minutes of purchase. Daily tickets are valid until midnight on the day of purchase.