20 September 2023

Little blue buses prove big hit as Capital region's green community grows

| Katrina Condie
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The Ginninderry 'Little Blue Bus' parked on the side of a street

The Strathnairn Loop is a free bus service for the Ginninderry community. Photo: Ginninderry.

Ginninderry residents are embracing greener transport options by jumping on board their very own little blue buses.

Keeping in line with the vision to create a sustainable community in the Capital region, the two buses have provided a public transport solution since the very first resident moved into the suburb of Strathnairn in February 2020.

Ginninderry sustainability manager Jessica Stewart said since then, the distinct blue buses had racked up more than 75,000 passenger trips, with residents keen to make the most of the free, convenient service.

“We’re finding that as new residents move in, the number of people using the bus service is increasing – which is great,” she said.

“Everyone knows the little blue buses around town, and people are catching them to school, commuting to work or going to appointments in Belconnen or the city.”

Operated by Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS), the buses run seven days a week, with the loop service linking Strathnairn to the Kippax bus interchange via Kingsford Smith School and Macgregor Primary School.

The buses run every 30 minutes from 7 am to 7 pm with an increase in frequency to 15 minutes during peak weekday periods.

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Jessica said it was great to see residents leaving their cars at home and using public transport, an integral part of Ginninderry’s sustainable transport plan.

“Providing access to public transport in new communities is important, and the Strathnairn Loop service was seen as an important offering from the day residents moved in,” she said.

“It was crucial we were able to provide a service that was convenient and people would actually use from the very beginning.”

She said the innovative approach was a first for Canberrans, who would usually wait until about 2000 people were living in a new greenfield community before having access to a public transport network.

“One of the main complaints people living in a new suburb have is the lack of public transport options available to them,” she said.

“Often people move into their new home, in a new area and then have to buy a car to commute.

“So we took the lead and purchased the blue buses and entered into an agreement with TCCS to operate the service.

“As the new housing has grown, we know more people are catching buses out here than the average ACT bus network (based on 2021 census data), which is fantastic and means it’s all working really well.”

Jessica said commuters realised they didn’t need to wait long for the little blue bus which was ideally linked to the Rapid bus system that ran from Kippax through to Belconnen, the city and Fyshwick.

The blue buses are mostly patronised during the week, with about 200 trips every weekday, consisting mainly of school students. Jessica said grandparents often rode along with their grandchildren because the loop system dropped them back home.

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Public transport is not only more environmentally friendly, it also provides an opportunity for older people to get out of the house. They can go for coffee, meet friends for lunch and become involved in community, cultural and sporting groups in the area.

“Active travel is such an important social outlet where people talk to each other and get to know their neighbours. It’s community building,” Jessica said.

“We want to encourage residents to spend more time getting to know each other and exploring the great environment we live in.”

Located 20 minutes from Canberra CBD, Ginninderry is a vibrant and sustainable community with the mighty Murrumbidgee River on one boundary, Ginninderra Creek on another, and the Brindabellas providing a majestic backdrop.


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