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On the buses

By Madam Cholet 14 January 2010 44

ACTION bus (image care of abc.net.au)

ACTION bus (image care of abc.net.au)

I’m sure that this is not a new rant or rave, but having just had two days of using the buses in this swealtering heat I will give it a go.

Before I go too far into said rant, the point of my post is this – does anyone know if Action Buses have a plan to replace any of  their old fleet? I have heard a few things recently about new this and fantastic that, but haven’t actually seen anything materialise. What exactly do our fares pay for in the long term?

On Monday afternoon, in full knowledge that the old bus on my route would not be air conditioned, I still ran the gauntlet in order to get home slightly earlier. By the time I got off the bus I was so overheated that I thought I might throw up! At least I can say that all the windows were open, although even hurtling down the Monaro Highway was not enough to provide anything other than an extra blast of heat. It appears though on the old buses that the drivers area is air conditioned – just haven’t managed to extend to the paying passengers.

Thinking a bit more carefully about my trip today I decided to take the later bus which is always a new air conditioned model. Upon taking my seat I realised that the air con on the bus was not coping with the heat at all and we were essentially travelling in a super heated sealed box.

Over the years of travelling on the buses in Canberra, I have made a number of calls to ACTION asking what has to be done to get a newer bus on our route for a bit of cool relief at the end of a long day at work. I have been advised that bus drivers pick their own buses and unfortunately some of them prefer the old ones so nothing to be done. It seemed as if the school kids who have subsidised fares always got the newer buses, yet even with the kids on school holidays, we still miss out. Years later we are still being fobbed off with the old buses that break down frequently, and now it seems new ones that can’t cope with anything higher than 25 degrees outside.

When will “they” realise that no one is going to seriously consider taking the bus if the service is not improved. We are frequently advised not to leave children/dogs in vehicles on hot days, but Action are quite content to move passengers around Canberra in exactly the same conditions.

Thankfully back to driving the car tomorrow –  and air conditioned luxury. In an ideal world I would take the bus everyday if I could, however childcare obligations make that an impossible choice for now. Given the last few days though, I may consider driving on these days of extreme heat.


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On the buses
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Observing 12:45 pm 18 Jan 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

I’ll take that as amusing sarcasm

You can take it with a fried egg on top for all I care – I very, very obviously wasn’t talking about you.

Cool! I prefer poached over fried though, so I’ll take it with a poached egg thanks.

Hells_Bells74 8:29 am 18 Jan 10

“Many of the orange buses are mainly used in peak hours only and for school runs and see little or no use at all on weekends”

I found the orange buses to be in use a lot more on the weekends on my 300 series run, because on the weekends it turns into a 12 and you have to alight and change buses at Belconnen weekends and nights, so they probably figure for just a Belconnen to Evatt run instead of all the way across town in the week, when they use mostly the green buses.

The 56 I used to catch sometimes too was always (and I do mean always) an orange bus (weekends and weekdays). That went from Gungers (through Evatt) to Belco to the City and looped back.

One of my main beefs especially when I used to have to open and close the shop (in the city) on weekends and it made life difficult not having that 300 series to work with. Real difficult when the intertown only ran half hourly for connecting.

Must say it was worth the extra walk to my house and hour long trip for me to get on that 56 at nights and weekends, as opposed to an almost hour-long connecting wait at Belco that seemed to always get me after work.

Prospector 9:33 pm 17 Jan 10

Although the air conditioned green buses only make up about 30 per cent of the fleet, they probably provide about 50 to 60 per cent of the services operated by ACTION…check out the ACTION Annual Reports to find out more. They clock up far more daily use than the orange buses – deliberate policy to spread the benefits of the low floor, air conditioned as widely as possible as part of the government’s accessibility policies I gather.

Many of the orange buses are mainly used in peak hours only and for school runs and see little or no use at all on weekends.

You can check out which services on your local route are likely to have green buses by going to the on-line timetables pages of the ACTION site – they show which services are ‘wheelchair accessible” …most of these are run with green buses “subject to operational availability”…

Hells_Bells74 4:44 pm 16 Jan 10

miz said :

The new green buses have less seating and less poles to hold onto – and more people swinging from straps and landing on top of the people sitting in the sideways seats. Poor design*

*unless you are in a wheelchair, in which case, it’s MADE for you!
(I have NEVER seen anyone in a wheelchair use a bus designed with them in mind, but have seen plenty of people toppling over).

AND the seats are smaller and very uncomfortable for people with generous bums, like me.

+100 for all your points and I don’t even have a generous bum but a bony one, hardly any padding on those tiny seats, ouch when bumpy!

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