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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
Jas Go Jas Go 7:43 pm 30 Apr 19

These guys are monkeys they cancelled my sons bus route from Belconnen to Lyneham high what a joke. I don’t see any bloody teams I’m belco going that way. Transport ACT have their heads in their arses seriously

Michelle Rak Michelle Rak 7:16 pm 30 Apr 19

It’s a joke. Routes not remotely near the light rail have been changed and now people have to get multiple buses. Let alone the changes affecting school commutes.

If the light rail is highly patronised, that’s simply because ALL the buses from Gungahlin suburbs have been cancelled.

If they want to measure success by delays, poor connections, students stranded with worried parents, increased commute times and more people driving - this is a resounding success. Think of all of the car parking revenue they will raise...

Paul Hollings Paul Hollings 6:58 pm 30 Apr 19

How can they justify cutting a school bus to Daramarlen from Belconnen that was an articulated bus chock a block full every day !! Makes no sense

Karen Evans Karen Evans 6:49 pm 30 Apr 19

This government thinks it’s a success that they were able to get away with, yet again, ignoring its constituents and pursuing a plan that very few agree with.... if, by success, they mean they did whatever suited them and noone else then goodo.... cheers to them!

Ben Harkin Ben Harkin 6:13 pm 30 Apr 19

Ben Morrison Two buses? Success!

Lorynn Vanovič Lorynn Vanovič 6:12 pm 30 Apr 19

With harldy any bike room on the tram and no bike cages to store your bikes at stops…

Karen Cooper Karen Cooper 6:08 pm 30 Apr 19

How do you measure the success of this rollout after one day? What about all of the children who no longer have dedicated school buses? What about schools who are having to let children leave afternoon classes before the end of the day to enable them to get home? What about the parents who are scrambling to get their children to school safely and then enduring longer periods of travel themselves? Sounds pretty ‘successful’ to me

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:25 pm 30 Apr 19

About it being deemed a success, Lenin said “If something is repeated long enough it will become true!”

Juz Hawke Juz Hawke 5:16 pm 30 Apr 19

Of course they deem it a success! To admit that they got it wrong and should have listened to all the feedback is just too much to ask. Shame on you 😡

Terry Grosvenor-Jones Terry Grosvenor-Jones 4:35 pm 30 Apr 19

I think this says it all. Billion dollar tram for Gunghalin, painted footpath signs and withdrawn bus services down here. The government comic yesterday, without a hint of irony. Gee I laughed.

Ella River Rose Ella River Rose 4:28 pm 30 Apr 19

I have only heard friends and colleagues describe negative experiences of the changes. If the govt claims it a success, it needs to show the evidence. I’m wondering by what measures checks and balances govt is measuring said success? Certainly not by commuter experience it would seem. I envisage people will give up buses and return to driving.

Liam Zeller Liam Zeller 4:26 pm 30 Apr 19

Looking good Peter Steele

maven maven 4:25 pm 30 Apr 19

This article must have been sponsored by Transport Canberra? Inconvenient. Takes longer. Previous network was heaps better. Roll it back please.

    maven maven 5:17 pm 30 Apr 19

    For many years, with 2 school kids, we were managing with one car. Now thanks to ACT Govt I am forced to get a second car. There goes my sustainable transport out the window. Well done!

Cassandra Ward Cassandra Ward 3:58 pm 30 Apr 19

Alexander Reynolds this is what I'm scared of tomorrow

    Alexander Reynolds Alexander Reynolds 1:27 pm 01 May 19

    Don’t be scared I’m sure the Transport dep has it locked

Juz Hawke Juz Hawke 3:55 pm 30 Apr 19

Of course they deem it a success! To admit that they got it wrong and should have listened to all the feedback is just too much to ask. Shame on you 😡

jgsma jgsma 3:41 pm 30 Apr 19

How to get to Fyshwick?? Catch a bus that takes over an hour and meanders through Red Hill – last week the #80 got me there in less than 25 minutes. This is not a success.

    JC JC 6:02 pm 30 Apr 19

    Said it before but the idea is to get a rapid as close to where you want to go and change for the local route. The 56 crosses two rapids one to the city (R2) and one to both the city and Woden (R6).

    This change thing is it seems is foreign to many but so it it should speed up trips.

Kelly Carr Kelly Carr 3:13 pm 30 Apr 19

BS! My son now has to walk 25 mins to catch a bus to school

    Katreena Guy Katreena Guy 5:48 pm 30 Apr 19

    Kelly Carr same here 7am-5pm just to go to school

Barbara Court Barbara Court 2:18 pm 30 Apr 19

Why would the change in the pubic transport we considered a success when children who had direct school buses now have to leave home about 45mins earlier in the morning and catch a full local bus, change to the tram in Civic and then walk 15mins to school and then do the same after school and get home 30mins later than they did before the change?

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 1:29 pm 30 Apr 19

By who? Certainly not by anyone using it!

Fred Pilcher Fred Pilcher 1:23 pm 30 Apr 19

It's like Vietnam - declare victory and bid a hasty retreat.

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