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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
Jackie White Jackie White 7:06 pm 29 Apr 19

Unless you're 70 years old, with no car, on the aged pension, and your local bus has been cancelled, and the nearest one is now 2.5km away. Really successful!

    Kerrie Buitendam Kerrie Buitendam 7:22 pm 29 Apr 19

    Jackie White totally agree 4km walk now. disgrace only catering for one section of Canberra

Laura Stanford Laura Stanford 7:12 pm 29 Apr 19

It is in no way a success! It’s a colossal failure - read the comments on Transport ACT’s FB page. My daughter cannot get to school now - there are no buses, and the trip planner suggests she walk for an hour to get there 🙄

    Janine Gilchrist Janine Gilchrist 7:52 pm 29 Apr 19

    That's crazy

    Julie Jefferson Julie Jefferson 7:53 pm 29 Apr 19

    Laura Stanford seriously, maybe Andrew Barr can give her a lift

    Wouldn't want to be walking getting into winter

    Lucy Vullo Lucy Vullo 8:19 pm 29 Apr 19

    Laura Stanford same!!

    Vic Franklin Vic Franklin 8:26 pm 29 Apr 19

    Well that solves the obesity crisis in kids too, hooray! (Add heavy sarcasm please)

    Laura Stanford Laura Stanford 8:32 pm 29 Apr 19

    Vic - appreciate the sarcasm clarification. As a martial arts black belt she’s hardly obese - quite the opposite - more a safety issue, along with carrying the huge bags with laptops and books. I’m thankful my other two can ride to their schools (three kids at three different schools is fun!).

Joanne McRae Joanne McRae 7:15 pm 29 Apr 19

"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."

This is a joke, right? Of course the light rail is popular. Most of us on the northside don't have any choice about using it!

    Beck Schwarz Beck Schwarz 7:19 pm 29 Apr 19

    Southside has no light rail, and now almost no buses too.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 7:36 pm 29 Apr 19

    Belco can't use it and we're north side

    Joanne McRae Joanne McRae 7:42 pm 29 Apr 19

    Kathryn Ingram many in Belco are being forced onto it instead of our previous direct bus service to the city.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 8:16 pm 29 Apr 19

    To go onto it from Belco you have to go to gungahlin civic or woden

    How are you being forced onto it?

    Joanne McRae Joanne McRae 8:24 pm 29 Apr 19

    Kathryn Ingram because I live in Kaleen. Our bus service to the city now terminates at Dickson where we have to get the tram the rest of the way.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 8:28 pm 29 Apr 19

    If you don't want to use the tram there is always to belco then from there

    Joanne McRae Joanne McRae 8:36 pm 29 Apr 19

    Kathryn Ingram the issue is that we had a direct bus service to the city but now we have to take a bus and a tram or two buses. Takes a lot longer and much less convenient.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 10:38 pm 29 Apr 19

    Joanne McRae So did Gunghalin

    Meaning of government - how to stuff people around

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 12:00 am 30 Apr 19

    Joanne McRae by many you mean Giralang and Kaleen! Never mind the other 20 Belconnen suburbs.

    Peter Hatfield Peter Hatfield 5:34 am 30 Apr 19

    Ashley Wright It was planned to provide direct buses to Gungahlin but they missed out. After the raoll-out of planned LR all the outer areas will be forced to wait for a light rail connection which has a longer headway than the old 333. The ACT governemnt was told in estimates hearings implementing LR would lead to lower patronage from areas that lost direct buses.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:13 am 30 Apr 19

    Peter Hatfield yup well aware Gungahlin suburbs were meant to get xpresso’s that didn’t go down Flemmington road and to me with the whole network, Canberra wide the biggest issue is the lack of xpresso’s.

    I also think the Kaleen and Giralang buses should have kept going to Civic rather than ending at Dickson too.

    As for 333 headway I’m not sure about your comparison. Gungahlin was serviced by the 200 and light rail is providing the same headway during peak with bigger vehicles that do the run in peak hour 15 minutes quicker than the old 200 and 2xx services.

    And off peak during the day it is 10 on light rail rather than 15 on the 200.

Chele Forest Chele Forest 7:17 pm 29 Apr 19

Just how low is the bar for "success"?

    Trace Hawker Trace Hawker 7:18 pm 29 Apr 19

    Chele Forest more like how low is Barr..

    Michelle Fitzpatrick Michelle Fitzpatrick 9:37 pm 29 Apr 19

    Chele and by whose definition of success?? All I've seen on fb is complaints not compliments about it.

    Chele Forest Chele Forest 9:57 pm 29 Apr 19

    Michelle same. Actually I saw one compliment buried in among 230 complaints on transport ACT post.

Beck Schwarz Beck Schwarz 7:17 pm 29 Apr 19

Yeah, ACT Government has no clue if they think this was a success 🙄 It was disastrous, how can anything that leaves kids stranded at bus stops as buses fly by because they are full be called a success? Oh and not to mention 12 year olds being left at school because the ONLY school bus home was full. What a joke. Maybe the transport minister should catch the bus for a week, early morning during peak hour and she can start in an outlying suburb.

    Janine Gilchrist Janine Gilchrist 7:53 pm 29 Apr 19

    She probs lives in Bonner. They seem to like the changes grrrrr.

    Alison Brittliff Alison Brittliff 7:58 pm 29 Apr 19

    Beck Schwarz she can come bus with me, my nearest route now takes me from Kambah for a scenic drive round Westin Creek before arriving at Woden after a ‘lovely! 3O minute drive, then she can queue with me to get in a bus to civic. But it will drop her outside the Assembly after about an hour travel time!

    Beck Schwarz Beck Schwarz 8:00 pm 29 Apr 19

    Alison Brittliff Make sure to invite her to travel with you in the middle of winter, at the same time 1000s of school kids need to use those buses, and to top it off she has to walk half hour with you to even find a bus stop. What a success!

    Lucy Vullo Lucy Vullo 8:16 pm 29 Apr 19

    Beck Schwarz a complete fail!

    Chele Forest Chele Forest 10:01 pm 29 Apr 19

    Almost all of the bus stops in my suburb now say no longer in use. Is it the expectation that everyone has to walk to the edge of their suburb to find a bus?

    Beck Schwarz Beck Schwarz 7:52 am 30 Apr 19

    Chele Forest Seems to be, fun for all in Canberra's frost :(

    Max Welch Max Welch 11:59 am 30 Apr 19 give feedback directly to Megan Fitzharris - best way to get any action on this.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:15 pm 30 Apr 19

    Alison Brittliff Yeah Kambah totally stuffed! The dumping of the direct Parkway bus route for Kambah residents and instead sending them miles out of their way through Weston Creek is surely one of the worst pieces of transport design since the Zeppelin.

Lauren Andrea Lauren Andrea 7:18 pm 29 Apr 19

Spending 20 minutes with my face wedged against a stranger's shoulderblade = strong patronage. I feel like I've been verballed a bit.

Michael Doherty Michael Doherty 7:18 pm 29 Apr 19

This is typical ACT Government SPIN. It is a cost cutting exercise. The biggest disgrace is the cuts to the school buses.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 11:56 pm 29 Apr 19

    Michael Doherty no costs have been cut because there are actually more services! We could debate if those services are providing the right service or not, but cost cutting is not the reason.

    As for the school buses unless I am mistaken the ones whining the most are those that send their kids to private schools on the other side of town from where they live. To me it makes no sense to provide a dedicated school bus say from Tuggeranong to Mereci and Darramalan or from Belconnen to St Clair’s or Eddies.

    And from what I can see is they have provided dedicated school buses from these (mostly private) schools to local suburbs and to the nearest interchange for those not so local.

    The way many are making out is all school buses have been cut. Look at the timetables there are about 120 of them.

Jenny Koch Jenny Koch 7:19 pm 29 Apr 19

I would say after 12 hours operation that it’s a bit early to be deemed a success.

Michael Ahern Michael Ahern 7:21 pm 29 Apr 19

Deemed a success by who? The same organization that destroyed the old network- more changes, 50% less dedicated school buses.

    Piers Cambridge Piers Cambridge 10:10 pm 29 Apr 19

    Michael Ahern come on mate drink the cool aide.....light rail is goodness, it’s a success. It stops you from ageing even and helps you to lose weight, stop you going Grey.......

    Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill 10:20 pm 29 Apr 19

    Piers Cambridge I had better start riding then! 😂

Christine Jack Christine Jack 7:27 pm 29 Apr 19

Absolutely disgusting

Gail McCulloch Gail McCulloch 7:28 pm 29 Apr 19

Ms Fitzharris & Transport Canberra, to quote Lord Byron....

‘Self praise is no praise at all’.

Jo Howard Jo Howard 7:28 pm 29 Apr 19

Yeah everyone loves a longer commute! 😂

    Janine Gilchrist Janine Gilchrist 7:54 pm 29 Apr 19

    And longer walk to the bus stop. Never mind if your elderly or disabled.

Josh Rosner Moore Josh Rosner Moore 7:29 pm 29 Apr 19

The ACT Government thinks everything it does is a success, when all evidence points to the contrary. They think child protection is a huge success, too.

Beck Schwarz Beck Schwarz 7:32 pm 29 Apr 19

Bernhard Schwarz a success they say!

Alice Tancred Alice Tancred 7:32 pm 29 Apr 19

I have not read a single positive comment

    Jay Annabel Jay Annabel 7:33 pm 29 Apr 19

    Alice Tancred i like it. There you go.

    Mary Garbanzo-Beancurd Mary Garbanzo-Beancurd 8:38 pm 29 Apr 19

    Alice Tancred my commute from

    Gungahlin to Phillip is about 40 minutes shorter each way now. I’m pretty happy.

    Dave Edwards Dave Edwards 8:46 pm 29 Apr 19

    I rode my bike in. The weather was great.

Jen Dee Jen Dee 7:36 pm 29 Apr 19

Like my poor colleague who took an hour to get to work today!

Michelle Preston Michelle Preston 7:37 pm 29 Apr 19

Like to know what they are basing this success on 🤷🏼‍♀️

Julie Mylchreest Julie Mylchreest 7:40 pm 29 Apr 19

Public transportation will never be successful until it meets commuter expectations. Why would you spend more time and with greater inconvenience using public transport if you can half the commute time using your own car, or organising car pooling to reduce costs? Ill conceived, poorly considered and poorly executed. Strategic planning..... I think not.

    Sandra Smith Sandra Smith 9:11 am 30 Apr 19

    Julie Mylchreest agree with you there. In my working days I'd need to leave 90 mins earlier be at work earlier than needed. At the end of the day the same. So happy to use car and do as i pleased without waiting. Nothing really has changed except the use of the tram, with canberra's public transport system.

Sally Pabst-Reeves Sally Pabst-Reeves 7:45 pm 29 Apr 19

Based on...???

Dave Edwards Dave Edwards 7:46 pm 29 Apr 19

No one got run over today. That’s the metric for a success.

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