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New bus timetables

By johnboy - 10 October 2006 48

Bill Stefaniak thinks the new bus timetables, commencing in December, are going to reduce services outside of peak times re-inforcing the roll of public transport as a shuttle for working commuters and not actually a transport system at all.

The new routes are up on the ACTION site any bus users out there want to comment on how the changes will effect you?

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48 Responses to
New bus timetables
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VYBerlinaV8 10:56 am 13 Oct 06

This would explain why some ACTION drivers ‘volunteer’ their time (and use govt resources) to drive union members to rallies.

Mr Evil 3:09 pm 12 Oct 06

I thought all ACTION drivers were on a composite wage system?

LIC 12:43 pm 12 Oct 06

I would add too, that much more service could be provided for the same dollars if ACTION’s wage rates and employment conditions were more in line with other transport operators. However, its obviously cheaper to cut services than take on wage rates and well entrenched employment conditions. The end result is that ACTION exists to employment several hundred TWU members on very favourable terms rather than to provide a high quality and cost efficient service to the public.

LIC 12:39 pm 12 Oct 06

Samuel – the scheduling system ACTION uses is a Canadian one called Hastus – they’ve been using it for about 10 years. Scheduling works off a ruleset which includes times and distances between various places throughout Canberra, as well as drivers employment conditions – the point to point times are normally worked out by TWU driver delegates. The reason it schedules “deadheads” is largely to do with distance being cheaper than time – it is cheaper to move a bus quickly from one end of town to the other deadrunning than to get it in position on a meandering route. That this is the case is basically a product of ACTION’s very high driver wage rates and generous employment conditions.

Thumper 7:57 am 12 Oct 06

Okay, make that non specific furry rodent like animals of an unnamed gender.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart 10:03 pm 11 Oct 06

Re: Belconnen Interchange in Tuggeranong…it might look like a mistake, but it is an unfortunate insight into ACTION’s schedule production system. It, unfortunately has no concept of distance, and it is not uncommon for ACTION management to force it to create shifts and timetables all over again because it decided that a driver can finish a run in Tuggeranong and be ready to start another run in Belconnen in twenty minutes.

So called “dead runs” where a driver has to rush an empty bus from one location to another before starting the next run is not uncommon, and no system will ever remove the need for dead runs, but ACTION’s system (I can’t remember the name, but I do know it’s Canadian) seems to specialise in dead runs. I can’t help but think ACTION would have more actual services and lower fuel bills if they didn’t have so many dead runs.

miz 8:43 pm 11 Oct 06

Look! Belco interchange is in Tuggers! see here

The Xpresso I usually catch now has a 7 number but no change. No complaints there.

However my teenager catches buses a lot – it is usually a pain trying to get a connection to/from Woden (at Erindale) on weekends/evenings after his casual Maccas shifts. I can’t see where to find out if the connections will now be better? It is easy to get to Woden on weekdays as the bus swings from Tuggers to Woden via our suburb, but for some odd reason it doesn’t on the weekends which is a major hassle. I was hoping this glitch would be ironed out but it isn’t.

LIC 8:18 pm 11 Oct 06

My complaint to ACTION and the Minister – will be interesting to see what sort of reply I get:

“I’ve just had a look at the proposed timetables for route 313 and I must say they take me back many years. Hourly services instead of half hourly during the day was the norm back then. Even half hourly services are so infrequent that they make using buses more trouble than its worth, hourly even more so. It strikes me that ACTION is admitting defeat on its efforts to grow patronage, and the government is clearly abandoning whatever policy aims it had regarding growing public transport usage and encouraging people away from reliance on cars.

I rarely use buses myself – pretty much because of their lack of convenience which largely boils down to frequency and choice. My experience is that I can organise myself to be at a bus stop in the morning at a particular time – my choice then is time, ie am I happy to spend 45 mins on the bus vs 20 mins driving. The bigger problem for me is the relatively early time your evening peak finishes – I work at Barton, and convenient services on route 313 means I need to be at City Interchange by about 6.30 or else my trip home goes from 45 mins to well over an hour … again vs 20 mins driving. The choice is really a no-brainer!

Members of my family do however use buses to get around, and the regression back to hourly offpeak services reduces the convenience and flexibility they have in getting around. While half hourly service is just acceptable, hourly becomes more trouble than its worth. Be held up for 2 minutes at the wrong time and you’ve got an hour’s extra wait on your hands. Hardly an incentive to use public transport?

So, my question is what are these changes looking to achieve? Improving the attractiveness and useability of public transport is obviously not the objective, so what is? It seems to me that if ACTION is going to provide only a bare bones/token service, why bother?”

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