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Some confusion and delays but new transport network roll-out deemed a success

Ian Bushnell 29 April 2019 234

A Transport Canberra officer assists a passenger at the city interchange. Photos: George Tsotsos.

Despite reports of confusion and longer commutes, the ACT Government believes today’s roll-out of the new integrated public transport system has been a success, particularly with the popularity of light rail.

Boosted by the month-long free ride with a MyWay card and workers back from school holidays, the light rail reported full carriages during the peak run into the city, with strong patronage along Northbourne Avenue.

Transport Canberra staff were out in force to assist passengers, particularly to guide them to the right bus connection at interchanges.

The new bus network created the most confusion for passengers, although Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris believed, on the whole, the changes meant a quicker, more frequent, and more reliable system.

“We’re prepared for a transition and we’ll continue to work with the community as they get used to the system and it’s bedded down,” she told reporters at the city interchange.

“With 10 Rapid services that are running at high peak frequency through interchanges, it’s actually the case that there are more services, moving more people more quickly, seven days a week, and in the evening than before.”

A bus at the city interchange.

For those whose commutes were longer than before she urged them to contact Transport Canberra and take a look at the online journey planner to see if there was a more efficient route to take.

Ms Fitzharris said the Government was committed to lifting public transport usage, which was languishing at second last in the nation at 8 per cent, and urged people to give the system a go while it was free.

Transport Canberra would be monitoring the system and patronage but would only be making minor tweaks to the network ahead of a review towards the end of the year and a further one in 12 months’ time.

Ms Fitzharris said frequencies could be increased if necessary but because routes were set and the network was interlinked it would be very difficult to make major changes.

She said Transport Canberra would also be monitoring the 200 school services still operating and working with school communities to ensure a smooth transition.

Although there are fewer dedicated school services, Ms Fitzharris said that overall more buses are running past schools than before.

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris chats to a Transport Canberra officer.

Despite being called a seven-day-a-week service, the network remains reliant on the Transport Workers Union drivers volunteering for weekend shifts. It has been known for some weekend services to be dropped due to a lack of drivers.

Asked whether she could guarantee there would be enough drivers for the weekends, Ms Fitzharris said the Government was very confident that the drivers would do the right thing by the Canberra community.

Additional transport officers, customer service assistants and Transport Canberra representatives will continue to be at major bus interchanges over the coming weeks to help customers with the changes and provide timetable information.

There will be services at least every 15 minutes along rapid transport routes from 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, continuing into the evening with less frequency. Weekend and public holiday service times will also be extended to 10 pm.

Safety across the network has been given a boost with CCTV cameras on every bus and at all major interchanges, school crossing supervisors at 25 school crossings, improvements to infrastructure around schools and additional customer service assistants at interchanges.

“This is a new era for public transport in Canberra. Our city is growing and that’s why we are investing in a better public transport network to keep Canberra connected,” Ms Ftizharris said.

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234 Responses to
Some confusion and delays but new transport network roll-out deemed a success
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9:30 pm 29 Apr 19

‘Popularity of light rail’ ‘Full carriages’ There’s NO OTHER CHOICE lol and twice as long to get home.

9:21 pm 29 Apr 19

Fewer travel options, longer journey times, less family time, overcrowded buses.

9:16 pm 29 Apr 19

It is not a success..why make the public transport system worse. Everyone I talked too are complaining about their kids taking 3 buses to get to school or walking 1km for the nearest bus stop and doubling commute times.

9:06 pm 29 Apr 19

took me 13 minutes to get to work from

gungahlin to fyshwick. down majura. was nice.

    11:14 am 30 Apr 19

    You'll be the case study they use to justify the changes. It will take them a while to work out you used a car not a bike and bus combo.

8:55 pm 29 Apr 19

No one I've talked to said that the network is better for them. It is actually worse. In the mornings I now have to wait LONGER between buses

8:53 pm 29 Apr 19

With the amount of people jumping on the free transport commute, it was a success. If U couldn't catch it, it still a success.

    5:30 am 30 Apr 19

    A success because we have to pay more rates so others can catch a light rail? Anywhere else in those along light rail corridors pay for their services throguh higher land and betterment taxes; here low income propl in outer areas pay higher rates and other outer and rents to pay for it, and missed out on rapid buses from all the group centres.

8:49 pm 29 Apr 19

What do you expect from a government who thinks they are helping only everything they touch implodes ..

Don't help us anymore we haven't got the time or money

8:44 pm 29 Apr 19

Exactly how was it a success?

8:40 pm 29 Apr 19

Ok, so this morning was good. This evening was a whole different case. R4, London Circuit, 25 minutes wait for a bus to come and when one arrives it is so packed and can't take on any more passengers. So half an hour wait on what used to be a regular well serviced route with 5 minutes between buses in the evening peak.

8:37 pm 29 Apr 19

Says who? The new timetable only started today

8:35 pm 29 Apr 19

Try half hour extra each way and standing room only if barely that. If that is a success what’s a failure.

8:27 pm 29 Apr 19

Interesting definition of successful. Must use that for my next performance review and see that goes.

8:07 pm 29 Apr 19

Can no longer get direct route from Gungahlin to Barton without changing in Civic - has added extra time. All for the light rail but not at the expense of lauding other direct services.

    9:35 pm 29 Apr 19

    Dianne Prime there are no buses from school to home anymore! Massive impact to us 😞. And we were using a 300 series that’s a highly used route

    9:55 pm 29 Apr 19

    Crystal Simmone and they call this a success? Media will spin what ever as always $$$ involved

    9:57 pm 29 Apr 19

    Edd Wardo Jones exactly! We found out the hard way this morning! I don’t listen to the radio

    My bad I guess 😞

    10:08 pm 29 Apr 19

    Crystal Simmone - transport system has been totally screwed up and when it affects young school children it becomes inexcusable

    10:09 pm 29 Apr 19

    Crystal Simmone not at all.

    As in your fault

    10:10 pm 29 Apr 19

    Dianne Prime it’s incredibly frustrating. One I need to find a new route (proving difficult) and two I cant teach them until the weekend so I’m left like others rearranging work and commitments to accommodate. It’s not even a school service. Many ppl use our stop for their commute to work 😢

    11:11 pm 29 Apr 19

    Edd Wardo Jones ok so worked out that the kids need to take two buses (1hr) to get home. We live 6 mins drive from school. 🤦‍♀️

8:06 pm 29 Apr 19

Took me 1 hr 15 mins and two buses to get from Latham to City. Used to be one bus and 50 minutes.

8:02 pm 29 Apr 19

I was pleasantly surprised to see the new integrated transport system would allow my once 1hr15 commute from Tuggeranong to Civic to be achieved in 47 minutes... that was until I read the trip planner which involved cycling 7 klms at the start of the trip and 1 klm at the end. They're having a lend!

    9:36 pm 29 Apr 19

    Sue. The suggestion was I walk 6.6km from Woden to Symonston. There is NO bus.

    10:56 pm 29 Apr 19

    Dory Johns it just like the gold coast. Unless you live near the tram station you have to drive and park to be able to catch it.

    8:34 pm 30 Apr 19

    Dory Johns They better build a footpath for you then. Might be a tad dangerous talking the highway. Funnily enough I read an article today that said at the very beginning of the tram project, Simon Corbell dreamt that one day he'd be able to catch the tram from Civic to Kingston for a coffee. I had a look at how far that was and then wondered why, if we can all ride and walk up to 8klm, he would need a tram to travel 5.5klms!

8:00 pm 29 Apr 19

They should have left the south well enough alone. I got home 30 minutes later than I would have the same day last week and I had the pleasure of catching an uber home from Tuggeranong to get home late because the connecting bus (it was a single bus trip last week) was gone when i got to Tuggeranong interchange. So a real f*****g success. I didnt get to see my baby awake today thanks to the successfull rollout of the new timetable.

    8:35 pm 29 Apr 19

    Sorry to hear mate. My son's school bus service was cancelled so he was on the road for about an hour and a half as a result of this great service...

    9:42 pm 29 Apr 19

    Daniel Castro - the new schedule and routes totally screw over us from the South. Was fast and easy last week, now...a literal pain!

    11:11 pm 29 Apr 19

    Daniel Castro screwed West Belconnen too, two buses to the city and it already used to be a bloody 45 min trip. Can’t tell you my experience today cause there is no way I’m bussing it anymore!

    5:20 pm 30 Apr 19

    Rod P-c dude, does he still have the afro?

    5:23 pm 30 Apr 19

    Lou Catlin I legit used to tell non-bus ppl that it was a stress less pleasure to commute on the bus. I was all like "THE PLUSSES OF BUSSES AMIRITE???"

7:55 pm 29 Apr 19

That’s what the Captain of the Titanic said

7:54 pm 29 Apr 19

Some confusion! What a joke, took me an hour and ten minutes to get from the city to Mawson. Sent off to catch four wrong busses, then the rapid to Tuggeranong terminated at New Tuggeranong, formerly known as Woden (yes the bus had Tuggeranong on the banner on the front) b, bus had to leave about 40 people in the city, no pickup in London Circuit or Canberra Avenue.

I got told more services, 12 an hour every seven minutes, so an Action hour is now 84 minutes! Genius!!!

Total joke, can’t wait for light rail to get south so I can get of a shitty bus

7:53 pm 29 Apr 19

I walked to school as a child.

It took 20 minutes.

Then I got a bike. It was a considerably shorter distant but for stopping to suck nectar out of the honeysuckle halfway up Russell Street.

If I got a flat, I changed it myself.

After walking my bike home, of course.

Self awareness and self reliance are the beginnings of independence.

Encourage it.

Our community needs ppl who can think for themselves.

    8:04 pm 29 Apr 19

    Yeah so who cares about kids safety, or those in wheelchairs or elderly with mobility issues who can't ride a bike. Or those who are a lot more than 20 minutes walk from their schools, who researched which buses to catch but still couldn't get a bus because they were all full. Yep, total issue with lack of thinking for themselves and not at all to do with Transport Canberra screwing over so many people.🙄

    8:20 pm 29 Apr 19

    Never mind the multiple and frequent reports of the random men trying to stop and lure our local school kids into their cars. I'm sure my tiny 6yo can deal.

    9:16 pm 29 Apr 19

    Beck -so sorry for Ella-Rose. All the buses are jam-packed, kids looked like sardines

    9:33 pm 29 Apr 19

    My daughters both caught a bus today. Eldest was lucky,she got a bus which stopped for her. She then watched as the bus went straight past numerous stops, as it was too full to pick up anyone else. Youngest watched 2 buses go past, before finally managing to catch 3rd bus home from school. New bus network is a success if you are only interested in how full the timetabled buses are. I’m sure there is nothing to measure how long it actually takes to be able to get on a bus.

    11:28 pm 29 Apr 19

    Yes, I also walked or rode my bike to school, as did most of my class mates. We were always sent to the nearest government school. I started walking to school at age 4, although that school (we moved a lot and I went to several) was the closest to home of all the schools over the years. The only exception was a few months I lived on a farm and then I caught the country school bus. How times have changed. Now kids must be driven to school and often the local school is skipped and they are driven to a distant school.

    7:25 am 30 Apr 19

    Or the local high school is just too far to walk to.

7:46 pm 29 Apr 19

My inadequate 5 expresses a day have become nearly 5 an hour.

My options for finishing work time have exploded off the horizon (that is, for arriving home while the sun is still up, and actually having time to contemplate what’s for dinner). I’m sorry everyone is very unhappy.

You can pls some of the ppl some of the time but you can’t pls all the ppl all the time

    7:51 pm 29 Apr 19

    It has helped only a handful - school kids are being left stranded at bus stops far from home because full buses are passing them by so they can't get to school, or having to catch several buses to get there. That isn't about pleasing everyone, that is a complete safety issue for 1000's of kids in Canberra. It's not just an inconvenience.

    8:09 pm 29 Apr 19

    My adequate 20 expresses a day has become zero expresses a day. But since Bek Clark is OK then I should just stop being unhappy it seems. Great advice Bek. Thanks for your heartfelt support there.

    9:52 pm 29 Apr 19

    Anne T Turner I agree with everyone’s sentiment.

    A lot of ppl have been badly put out.

    I’m able bodied and managed.

    I hope there will be some modifications made to the network based on everyone’s feedback.

    I’ll adjust back to getting up early so I can start when I want to.

    10:16 pm 29 Apr 19

    Anne T Turner Since you are unhappy everybody must be? All comments gratefully accepted... but only if they support my point of view?

    Sounds fair.

    11:03 pm 29 Apr 19

    Bek Clark my six expresses a day are gone, I know get a tourist drive around Weston creek in the way to Woden (I live in Tuggeranong)

    6:43 am 30 Apr 19

    Alison Brittliff it’s bizarre what’s happened to Kambah.

    I suspect they’re using population data to justify some of these decisions.

    Kambah has negative population growth.

    8:52 pm 02 May 19

    Jules Anne I was not suggesting everyone is unhappy. Bek Clark is obviously happy. I am just pointing out that telling us "you can't please all the people all the time" is a bit rich when your service has been reduced to literally nothing. Support my point of view or don't, I literally don't care. But don't tell me my point of view is not valid because you are doing Ok.

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