Canberra’s bus network is failing to meet its own punctuality targets, with more than a quarter of the city’s buses consistently failing to run on time.
Last financial year buses met their timetables only 73 per cent of the time – a far cry from the target of 80 per cent.
For the current 2017/18 financial year, the performance target was lowered to 75 per cent but Canberra’s buses are still failing to meet the reduced target.
The Transport Canberra website states that for the six months to December 2017, only 72.96 per cent of buses ran to time – which is once again below the performance target.
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This is despite the fact that Transport Canberra considers a bus service to be on time when it departs one minute earlier or four minutes later than a scheduled time.
“This time variance is required in the bus network to allow for variations in traffic flow due to congestion, accidents, diversions and road works,” Transport Canberra states on its website.
The frequent problems with buses being on time come despite clear acknowledgement that people need to be able to rely on buses arriving on time.
“Public transport customers place a high importance on the reliability of public transport services. Customers need to be able to rely on their services arriving on time,” states the Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) Directorate annual report for 2016-17.
“This is a key element towards supporting customer satisfaction and providing a service that users of public transport will recommend to non-users.”
TCCS has a target of 85 per cent of buses running on time in 2020-21 but that would be of little comfort to passengers who are consistently experiencing the opposite.
Recently, one of The RiotACT’s readers made their concerns known about their daughter being regularly late for school because the ACTION school bus was late. The article prompted a host of similar complaints from other readers.
ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris conceded that punctuality is an important issue for customers and said the Government is continuing to look at ways to improve that punctuality.
Ms Fitzharris said the performance target was increased to 80 per cent in 2016-17 following a positive outcome in 2015-16 when buses met their on-time targets 78 per cent of the time.
“The target was reduced in 2017-18 in order to reflect the potential impact of unknown delays through increased roadworks across the ACT through the measurement period,” she said.
“We see major completion of not only roadworks but of the light rail in 2019 so at the moment we’re contemplating our targets for the 2018-19 financial year and will certainly take that all into account.”
Ms Fitzharris said that more people are choosing to catch public transport than ever before.
“So far this year, Transport Canberra is on target to meet or exceed its target of 18.4 million boardings,” Ms Fitzharris said.
“The Green Rapid from Woden through the Inner South, in particular, is very popular and is already one of the busiest routes on the network.
“In fact, we have had 15 of the 20 busiest days on the Transport Canberra network since 2011, so far this year.
“I’m confident that the more we provide frequent, direct bus services across Canberra, the more people will choose to leave the car at home and catch public transport.”
If you catch buses, what has your experience been like? Do you encounter many delays? Let us know in the comments below.