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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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Taryn Saunders Taryn Saunders 9:49 pm 02 May 19

Pity it's a federal election...

Robert Koch Robert Koch 8:00 pm 02 May 19

Billion dollar tram, bargain basement landscaping with mulch already washing away. This is at the main tram terminal in the city.

Anne Hurn Anne Hurn 9:59 am 01 May 19

It’s Happening Everywhere!- Sooo Clever ! 😡😡🙄

Kathryn Hurn Kathryn Hurn 9:48 am 01 May 19

Completely agree with Dale Phillips. My daughter is on the same bus and gets on at the stop before Woden Interchange. I put her on the bus yesterday and the bus was completely full with room for only one more person (thank god) - but what about the poor kids at the Interchange? The bus was not a double, bendy bus either, which I was expecting for so many kids. Today, the bus didn't get to her stop until just before 8:30am - looks like they'll all be late for school....

Julie Hunter Julie Hunter 7:42 am 01 May 19

We bought our house in an area that was close enough to my kids schools that they would only need one bus. Feeling ripped off.

Ruth Chatterton Ruth Chatterton 6:25 am 01 May 19

They've killed the bus service south of the lake, but think it's a success because the trams are full!

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:27 pm 30 Apr 19

Here's the article I mentioned below, The issues raised by the expert analyst 6 months ago have proved eerily prophetic. "the results of the analysis he conducted on behalf of Fairfax Media should cause alarm for public transport designers of the new Bus network" another bit from a separate ANU professor is also core to the current issue "The distance between homes and the nearest bus stop is regarded as a fundamental part of accessing the broader public transport network" https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6003000/most-canberrans-live-too-far-from-tram-or-rapid-bus-stops/

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:12 pm 30 Apr 19

A Transport and demographic expert raised concerns about the switch to Rapid Routes in the Canberra Times about 6 months ago and it was also covered in Riotact at the time. The story analysed the added walk distance of the ACT Governments proposal and that the removal of local Bus stops would actually make the network worse for anyone who lived more than a reasonable walking distance from a Rapid Stop. Looks like the expert was correct on this occasion.

Next I’ll be agreeing with the 99% of experts who believe in human influenced climate change and that vaccination has actually improved global health.

Janise Farrell Janise Farrell 9:15 pm 30 Apr 19

They have cancelled the route 10 bus I used to take to work. To get there in time for my daily 8am appointments, I need to leave home at 5:55 to get the 6:07 bus to Franklin+light rail+ bus to work, taking a total of 1 hr 37 mins. I couldn’t face it on the way home today and got an Uber to the city, instead. It’s a mega fail! I will have my licence very soon (learned later in life) and then I will totally forsake public transport to commute. They are pushing people off public transport rather than encouraging them to take it up.

    Adelaide Jones Adelaide Jones 9:38 pm 30 Apr 19

    That really sucks! I had a feeling it wouldn't work

    David Shanley David Shanley 10:41 pm 30 Apr 19

    Janise Farrell what a mess! And such a shame as ACT bus network was so good in the past. Really feel for you all in this chaos

    Janise Farrell Janise Farrell 10:43 pm 30 Apr 19

    Yes, it’s very frustrating. They had an abundance of community ‘consultation’, but they don’t seem to have listened to any of it.

James Ballard James Ballard 9:06 pm 30 Apr 19

Certainly not a success for those in East Belconnen.

Dale Cameron Dale Cameron 8:33 pm 30 Apr 19

Just another example of the effluent people running Canberra

Kim Cameron Kim Cameron 8:07 pm 30 Apr 19

Hilarious. Not my observation at all and a tad early to be claiming success after being implemented only two days.

    Faye Todd Faye Todd 9:50 pm 30 Apr 19

    Kim Cameron I’m with you Kim - wondering how they can claim it’s a success. Wonder where they dream this stuff up!

    Kim Cameron Kim Cameron 9:56 pm 30 Apr 19

    Faye Todd Ben's supposed connecting buses home from school didn't connect! We were still in Kaleen when his connecting bus left Westfield.

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

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 😡

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