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Public transport failure?

By johnboy 15 January 2013 57

The ABC has word on an RMIT study on Canberra’s public transport policy which is less than kind.

The national study by a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) academic found Canberra was no where near meeting any of its sustainable transport targets.

It says the national capital has experienced a sustained decline in public transport and a steady rise in car driving over most of the past two decades.

Canberra was the only capital city where public transport share actually fell in the five years to 2011.

The report blames poor policies which have focussed on road construction while reversing successful public transport measures in place until the late 1980s.

Who would have thought mouthing empty platitudes wouldn’t pay off?

What’s Your opinion?


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Public transport failure?
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steveu 10:00 pm 22 Jan 13

The public transport “solution” isn’t going to be a “silver bullet” approach IMHO, I think a combination of things, in conjunction with buses etc, park and ride will I suspect reduce some KMs people use their cars for. Making buses free I think is something that could be considered. I’m not sure giving gunghalin residents their own personal rail line is going to help either I’m sorry to say. I cant see the rail going further than that.

TP 3000 11:43 pm 19 Jan 13

steveu said :

Make all schools and shopping centres park and ride. Service them by express buses. Would mean that parents dropping kids to school can leave car a the school and catch the bus. Doesn’t eliminate the use of a car-but if you have kids who can’t get their own way to school, it will encourage this segment to catch the bus. Which I suspect doesn’t currently use the bus.

I have also submitted this to ACTION, however my idea was to use old termini & have school runs leave from these places. But if you & others who support this, submit this idea (or their version) to ACTION/Transport For Canberra. This idea might go ahead.

Dacquiri 11:20 pm 19 Jan 13

Or…how about this? Personalised public transport (Would More Drivers Use Mass Transit if It Mimicked Private Cars?, The Atlantic Cities, 15 Jan.: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/01/would-more-drivers-use-public-transit-if-it-mimicked-private-cars/4391/

nothappyjan 11:14 pm 19 Jan 13

Canberra’s public transport is shite, most people generally don’t like paying for or putting up with shite services. The reality is Canberra will never have a population or government capable of sustaining a good public transport system. So while many aspire to see Canberra’s public transport in the same league as other major cities, the fact is that Canberra is just a small country town compared to these cities, and it always will be.

No matter the argument, cars are more convenient for most people, most people have one, and if you are going to have to pay for the costs of running a car, whether you use the buses or not, you may as well pay that bit extra for the convenience and overall better experience of driving yourself rather than paying slightly less for a an inconvenient and shite bus service.

However, if the buses were free* many more people would put up with it, even though it will still be shite. Many people will accept a lower quality of service if they don’t have to pay extra for it. It is not like the buses are making a profit anyway, and they are already heavily subsidised by our taxes, so why not just make them free so that people will accept their problems and actually start using them. People generally like or will put up with free shite. *free as in no additional cost, which would be possible with good governance.

steveu 9:02 pm 19 Jan 13

Make all schools and shopping centres park and ride. Service them by express buses. Would mean that parents dropping kids to school can leave car a the school and catch the bus. Doesn’t eliminate the use of a car-but if you have kids who can’t get their own way to school, it will encourage this segment to catch the bus. Which I suspect doesn’t currently use the bus.

Innovation 5:53 pm 19 Jan 13

pirate_taco said :

Pirate Party ACT’s transport policy was based off Dr Mees very sensible submission to the 2010 transport plan, which highlighted how the network has been stuck in a destructive loop since self government, and how to fix it with supporting evidence from other successful cities.

Installing light rail by itself will not fix the public transport problem in this city, it will just continue to entrench what happens at the moment – a small section of the community who are well served if they chose to use the network, and a much larger portion who the network simply isn’t a viable option except as an absolute last resort.
You should never start a project with a technology picked first. You define the problem first, then find solutions.

Problems with the current network
1. It takes too long to get from A to B
2. Frequency at suburban stops are too infrequent – long waits if you miss the bus because it came early or it didn’t arrive.
3. Intertown routes are overcrowded during peak.

We need to reduce the amount of time it takes for a suburban route to get commuters to an interchange, so shorten the suburban routes so that they feed to the interchanges quicker.
Increase the frequency of the suburban routes to at least every 15 to 20 minutes during peak, 30 minutes off peak.
We also need to stop the intertown routes being suburban routes too, so that we can put bigger buses on those routes during peak, increasing intertown capacity and efficiency, and also stopping the common occurrence of intertown routes bunching up and following each other.

Light rail as proposed will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make small improvements to the above problems for a very limited portion of commuters who live along the proposed corridor and work along the corridor.

If we got the bus network right, light rail would sell itself as a needed upgrade, and it would plug straight in to the network as a replacement for the busy intertown routes.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT

“Intertown routes” should not be the be all and end all. The service should be broken into three components; suburban runs to and from main corridors, main corridor routes and routes between main corridors and town/business centres. If a route manages to combine more than one component – great.

The problems with the current service are that it takes too long to get in and out of suburbs on to a main route and that not everyone needs to travel to the nearest interchange. A lot of passengers might be happy to get themselves to and from a direct route on a main corridor (eg, walk, cycle, park and ride or borrow a lift) and change to another regular route on another corridor especially if buses on those corridors were only five or ten minutes apart.

Of course this is never going to happen because the Government seems to operate on the assumption that passengers don’t like changing buses and passengers worry about waiting five minutes between main service route buses even though this can cost them, say, an extra fifteen to thirty minutes waiting for and traveling around suburbs and possibly another five or ten minutes getting off a main route to go via town centres.

DrKoresh 12:59 pm 19 Jan 13

Bussie said :

What exactly is the problem with the intertown routes having suburban legs at the ends? It’s certainly not what you think it is, the bigger buses can do all of the current intertown routes.

Glen neglected to mention being refused entry onto an intertown bus because it’s crowded and you aren’t headed to one of the suburban stops, then having to wait up to half an hour for another bus despite the promise of 10-15 minute frequency in 300 numbered routes, that’s another problem, Bussie.

pirate_taco 9:56 am 19 Jan 13

Bussie said :

What exactly is the problem with the intertown routes having suburban legs at the ends? It’s certainly not what you think it is, the bigger buses can do all of the current intertown routes.

The problem with the intertown routes having suburban routes at their ends was explained in Dr Mees 2010 submission http://images.canberratimes.com.au/file/2012/07/30/3510331/Mees%2520submission%2520-%2520Transport%2520for%2520Canberra.pdf?rand=1343613343071

“The new network was based on ‘through routing’ from residential areas onto the
intertown corridor: for example, a bus might run from Fraser in Belconnen to Banks
in Tuggeranong, via the interchanges at Belconnen, Civic, Woden and Tuggeranong.
Through-running meant that articulated buses could no longer be used on the
intertown segment, requiring more buses to transport the same number of passengers.
The longer routes also made it much harder to keep to schedule, so punctuality
deteriorated. Since the intertown route already offered much higher service
frequencies than the rest of ACTION’s network, and since reliability deteriorated,
there was no effective reduction in waiting time for passengers on the intertown
segment, just an increase in operating costs.”

Also how exactly will bigger buses stop bus bunching?

Stopping bunching is a result of increased punctuality from the above.

Glen: I agree with the majority of what you say until this point here. If you get the bus network right there would be no need for light rail at all. And not having a light rail will save the ACT taxpayer several hundred million dollars.

There does become a point where light rail is necessary for capacity upgrades when the buses can no longer handle the demand, which Dr Mees discusses in the 2010 submission I linked to above.
We can get the bus network so popular that we have no other options but to upgrade to light rail purely on an economics argument, when the capital cost of installing light rail is lower than the ongoing cost of bus maintenance, petrol, oil, tyres, road wear and tear etc,

Antagonist 10:38 am 17 Jan 13

zippyzippy said :

The report also says that all the cities that have had a resurgence in public transport patronage have done so using rail based systems. That’s what canberra’s moving to. Shane could very well have been talking about that.

The increase has been for heavy rail, which is not proposed for Canberra. Light rail patronage (which is what has been proposed for Canberra) is unchanged in nearly every example.

It also helps to look at the data (nobody ever seems to look at the data). There is a heirachy, with users only appearing in one category. Train is in position number 1, busses at 2 and so forth. Somebody who busses (or rides a bike) to the train station and then gets on a train is only counted as a train user. The bus ride goes unreported.

Antagonist 10:26 am 17 Jan 13

pirate_taco said :

If we got the bus network right, light rail would sell itself as a needed upgrade, and it would plug straight in to the network as a replacement for the busy intertown routes.

Glen: I agree with the majority of what you say until this point here. If you get the bus network right there would be no need for light rail at all. And not having a light rail will save the ACT taxpayer several hundred million dollars.

Bussie 9:08 am 17 Jan 13

pirate_taco said :

We also need to stop the intertown routes being suburban routes too, so that we can put bigger buses on those routes during peak, increasing intertown capacity and efficiency, and also stopping the common occurrence of intertown routes bunching up and following each other.

What exactly is the problem with the intertown routes having suburban legs at the ends? It’s certainly not what you think it is, the bigger buses can do all of the current intertown routes.

Also how exactly will bigger buses stop bus bunching?

Typical political party, determined not to let complete ignorance stopping you having a policy on everything under the sun.

pirate_taco 10:07 pm 16 Jan 13

Pirate Party ACT’s transport policy was based off Dr Mees very sensible submission to the 2010 transport plan, which highlighted how the network has been stuck in a destructive loop since self government, and how to fix it with supporting evidence from other successful cities.

Installing light rail by itself will not fix the public transport problem in this city, it will just continue to entrench what happens at the moment – a small section of the community who are well served if they chose to use the network, and a much larger portion who the network simply isn’t a viable option except as an absolute last resort.
You should never start a project with a technology picked first. You define the problem first, then find solutions.

Problems with the current network
1. It takes too long to get from A to B
2. Frequency at suburban stops are too infrequent – long waits if you miss the bus because it came early or it didn’t arrive.
3. Intertown routes are overcrowded during peak.

We need to reduce the amount of time it takes for a suburban route to get commuters to an interchange, so shorten the suburban routes so that they feed to the interchanges quicker.
Increase the frequency of the suburban routes to at least every 15 to 20 minutes during peak, 30 minutes off peak.
We also need to stop the intertown routes being suburban routes too, so that we can put bigger buses on those routes during peak, increasing intertown capacity and efficiency, and also stopping the common occurrence of intertown routes bunching up and following each other.

Light rail as proposed will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make small improvements to the above problems for a very limited portion of commuters who live along the proposed corridor and work along the corridor.

If we got the bus network right, light rail would sell itself as a needed upgrade, and it would plug straight in to the network as a replacement for the busy intertown routes.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT

Diggety 12:50 pm 16 Jan 13

Genie said :

Sigh ! That post was meant to go in the other ACTION thread. Damn phone and its tiny screen

I forgive you Genie.

bryansworld 12:48 pm 16 Jan 13

Genie said :

I must be the minority. Because *gasp* I enjoy catching the bus and find it convenient. Perhaps I’ve just always lived in places that are serviced well by ACTION.

I’m also not too fussed about the fares going up. It’s still significantly cheaper than driving. I seem to only be putting $50 on my card every 3-4 weeks and I can’t even park my car in the city for $50 a week. Let alone petrol costs ontop of parking fees
Yes it is quicker to drive to work than catch the bus but I enjoy my time zoning out with my music or throwing angry birds at pigs. Plus I’m getting some added exercise walking to and from the bus stops.

Yes catching the bus in the summer heat sucks, but so does getting into a car that has been baking in the sun for 8-10hours.

+1. Bus is good for reading books and listening to podcasts. It is sad how many people who live in the inner suburbs still drive, when bus is a better option.

Martlark 11:32 am 16 Jan 13

Thumper said :

The real transport policy this mob appears to have is remove car-parks and increase car parking fees in the hope that people might use buses more often.

However, ten years of the same policy has proven not so. …

It’s not worked because they have still not reduced the supply enough or increased the price enough.

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