The Canberra Liberals have released their plan to counter the ACT Government’s recently announced free weekday City Loop bus: a loop bus of their own to run seven days a week over a longer route that would service an ANU circuit, the Australian War Memorial and Parliamentary Triangle, and for which users will pay.
The Government’s City Loop bus (pictured below) launched on July 4, and attracted 1233 users in its first five days of operation. It runs every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday in a single direction, starting at the bus interchange and continuing past the Canberra Theatre, City Walk, and Canberra Centre, up Lonsdale Street, back down Northbourne Avenue, to the ANU bus station, along Marcus Clarke Street, to NewAction, around London Circuit back to the interchange.
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The Opposition’s City Hopper service would run every 20 minutes, seven days a week.
Opposition Transport spokesman Alistair Coe said work commuters, students and tourists deserved an all encompassing and reliable city loop that serviced key locations.
“[The City Hopper] will travel in a clockwise direction and intersect the City twice. It will go from the City, to the War Memorial and Russell Offices, then on to Barton, Parliament House, Parkes, back over the Commonwealth Bridge via Lennox Gardens to the City, through the ANU, before heading back to the City,” he said.
“This is a far superior service to the one announced by the government last week. For too long, people have remarked how difficult it is to travel between our key destinations.”
The Liberals have not revealed what time the service would start and finish each day, but have said a single, standard fare ticket would last all day on their loop service.
Transport and Municipal Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris welcomed the Liberals’ support for a city loop service but said only Labor was committed to keeping it free.
“[The Liberals’ loop service] is not free, it’s less frequent, it looks like a very long journey, and they project fewer people will actually use it than currently use our free City Loop,” she said.
Ms Fitzharris said this morning that 1233 trips in the first five days of the City Loop was a “great result”.
“Patronage is expected to increase further in the following weeks with the return of school and university students from their break,” she said.
The Minister said passenger boardings had been at their highest between 12pm to 2pm and 5pm to 6pm.
The Liberals have yet to confirm operating hours for their proposed service, with 8am to 6pm on weekdays with reduced hours on weekends one possible scenario.