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Tale of two cities: Wanniassa residents left in the cold with new bus network

Lachlan Roberts 17 July 2019 65

Rebecca Lamb, MLA Mark Parton, Chris Hastir, Arthur Abraham, Geoffrey Lamb and Andrew Wall are adamant the bus routes need to change. Photos: Daniella Jukic.

Canberrans living in the south of Canberra said they feel disregarded and forgotten by the ACT Government’s bus network and are calling for their local bus service to be reinstated.

Geoffrey Lamb and his wife Rebecca have lived in Michie Street, Wanniassa since 1977 and have used the 61 bus route at the end of their street for the past 42 years.

Since the rollout of the new bus network, the community has lost the route which took them to Woden town centre and has been replaced by the rapid R5, around 800 metres down the road.

Mr Lamb said he is now forced back into his car to drive to the park-and-ride, with the couple unable to walk to the next bus stop because his wife walks with a cane.

The couple, who have written to the new Transport Minister Chris Steel, said that the new service was not accessible for people with disabilities and was too full to catch during peak hours.

“In the past eight months, we have been shanghaied by the Government and Transport Canberra,” Mr Lamb said.

“They have taken our bus routes without our knowledge, without any consultation and without thought for the people living in this area. This was a very popular area and the service was well used and now it’s completely gone.

Geoffrey Lamb has lost the service he used for the past 42 years.

“It indicates to us as a group that this is the death knell for the service in Wanniassa. It is the same death knell that is being sounded through Tuggeranong.”

Mr Lamb described the new network as a tale of two cities: the north with the light rail and better service and the south which has lost services and gained nothing.

“Tuggeranong has been forgotten, not only Wanniassa,” he said. “The majority of bus services that have been supplied over the years have been a godsend to the people of Wanniassa. To put it mildly, we have been disregarded and forgotten.”

Bill Bowron recently downsized from this place in Farrer to move to Wanniassa in search of a more peaceful and accommodating lifestyle.

Bill Bowron said the removal of the service has made him an ACT Government cynic.

Mr Bowron said one of the selling points of living on Michie Street was the nearby bus service, which has since been removed.

“I was annoyed to see a notice go up on the nearby stop that said this service is being discontinued as a result of the new integrated bus and light rail network,” he said.

“Well, Woden is not likely to get a light rail for up to five years and Tuggeranong is not scheduled to have one for the next 10 to 15 years.

“I took offence at the general nature of the notice and it made me feel like a bit of smoke and mirrors is going on.”

Liberal MLA Nicole Lawder, a proud Tuggeranong resident, said residents have been angered by the myriad changes to the bus service in Tuggeranong.

“Minister Steel has admitted that the number of people catching the bus in Tuggeranong has dropped,” Ms Lawder said. “You cut busses, you close bus stops and you make the remaining bus routes less friendly and accessible and amenable for people.

Nicole Lawder, flanked by Mark Parton and Andrew Wall, said the old bus services in Tuggeranong need to be reinstated.

“I don’t think anyone in the Government really cares how the people of Tuggeranong feel about the bus service. We need some of these bus services reinstated for the benefit of Tuggeranong residents.”

Liberal MLA Mark Parton said making people walk up to two kilometres to catch the bus is not feasible for some residents.

“Residents are told by the Government that there are half-a-million-dollar parties on in the middle of town celebrating public transport but there is nothing to celebrate here,” he said.

“We are not talking about unknown consequences. People have made it abundantly clear to the Government about what would happen with the network changes.”


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65 Responses to Tale of two cities: Wanniassa residents left in the cold with new bus network
Order
Kerrie Buitendam Kerrie Buitendam 6:11 pm 17 Jul 19

The new bus service is only for the north side like most other things

    David Brown David Brown 6:21 pm 17 Jul 19

    Kerrie Buitendam Not in Bruce. They took my bus away.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:45 pm 17 Jul 19

    Ashley Wright yes I agree with you that sections from both sides of the Lake have had their bus services worsen since the new Bus network.

    The key to the issue is that if you live within walking distance of a rapid stop you are better off. If you don't you are worse off. This is true from Tuggeranong to Belconnen and beyond.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:34 am 18 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith I don’t think that is strictly true. I don’t live near a rapid and I am no better nor no worse off.

    And whilst I no longer live in Belconnen when I look at the map a large portion still has the same basic routes and frequencies.

    The biggest downside is the lack of peak hour expresses. Which ironically 3 were kept in Tuggeranong. Yet much bleating.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:36 am 18 Jul 19

    Ashley Wright You really have the spin going at full revs. The express buses for Tuggeranong you mention don't go close to replacing the large number of peak hour Expressos that were popular in Tuggeranong before April 29th change. 180 and 182 all leave between 6.20 and 7.30 in the mornings, that's not the popular peak times for commuters which is usually between 7.45 and 8.45. Also, You must be one of the very few not near rapid service 'who is no worse off'. The suburban routes have reduced number of bus stops, which means you have to walk further to a Bus that leaves less often. It's simple maths. Finder.com in their website report at the time of the change, clearly showed commuters outside the rapid routes had slower journeys under the new network than the old network. Why is the ACT Government now admiting that Tuggeranong public transport use has dropped, if the bus service is better than before? It's time to admit Canberra Transport stuffed up the new Network for Tuggeranong, as experts and citizens had warned.

    Laura Norder Laura Norder 10:04 pm 18 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith many distances are within walking distance for many people. 2 kms 5 kms, the question is what is 'reasonable'

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 12:36 pm 19 Jul 19

    Laura Norder you are right on the mark Laura. The ACT government changed walking distance definition to 800m which is well beyond the usual 400m standard. Canberra Times did a great report about 6 months ago highlighting that bus walkability was much worse than the Transport minister had claimed. No wonder the recent Bus changes have seen a reduction in use in Tuggeranong, the region where the most bus stops were removed.

Greg Garth Greg Garth 6:11 pm 17 Jul 19

I have lived in Tuggeranong since 1982. I love it. I am sick and tired of locals bagging the area for all sorts of reasons. Go. If you don’t like it, go. Sound like 6 year old school kids, she’s got it I haven’t, Why, I want. It’s continuous.

    Doris Andrews Doris Andrews 6:29 pm 17 Jul 19

    People love living in Tuggeranong, it is just that there is need for public transport system which is viable.

    Greg Garth Greg Garth 6:31 pm 17 Jul 19

    Doris Andrews It is for most.

    David Ilchef David Ilchef 6:49 pm 17 Jul 19

    Not good enough. They made an important part of our infrastructure worse. It needs to be corrected

    Greg Garth Greg Garth 6:50 pm 17 Jul 19

    David Ilchef Worse for you better for most.

    Meg Joy Meg Joy 7:12 pm 17 Jul 19

    Greg Garth no the new network is a debacle - I’m in Chisholm. Lost Xpressos, lost buses to Woden, getting around takes twice as long

    Gavin Henness Gavin Henness 8:22 pm 17 Jul 19

    Greg Garth you must not be the one with a disability who needs to catch a bus 🚌 💩🧠🤡

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:08 pm 17 Jul 19

    David Ilchef bus services are not infrastructure.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:40 pm 17 Jul 19

    Greg Garth I love Tuggeranong too. But the ACT government can't keep making Tuggeranong worse for residents in some parts of the region. If your nearby school has been closed, if your nearby bus stop has been removed, if your nearby sportsground and play area has been handed over to developers, than I can understand why many Tuggeranong residents are complaining about how they have been treated by the ACT government.

David Brown David Brown 6:20 pm 17 Jul 19

The bus “service” is a travesty.

Damien Kell Damien Kell 6:29 pm 17 Jul 19

Ridiculous to make it about north v south. The majority of suburbs in the north side also got dudded by the new network

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 6:34 pm 17 Jul 19

Don’t assume the north transport system is a good service!!!

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 7:13 pm 17 Jul 19

    Seon Ferguson, unfortunately true.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 9:13 pm 17 Jul 19

    Seon Ferguson for the most part that isn’t true either. It is really good for those that live along the light rail line but for those in the suburbs of Gungahlin it is status quo in terms of time.

    The down side is you need to change for tram, the good is that it is 15-20 minutes faster than the direct bus (in peak hour).

    John Kerry Tozer John Kerry Tozer 8:55 am 21 Jul 19

    Seon Ferguson - so why is less than 20% of the population of Gungahlin using the tram? Perhaps because the tram was only ever a very expensive way of increasing the value of the land the ACT government “owned” down Northbourne Avenue???

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 9:52 am 21 Jul 19

    I travelled by tram yesterday. I’m an older person, have chronic health issues, use a walking stick. For me the journey was horrendously painful. The only person who offered me a seat was a woman who looked like a cancer sufferer (yes, an assumption; she had no hair, wearing a beanie; also carried a walking stick). Of course no way I was going to take her seat. The trip was so bad for me, I hope I never have to travel by tram again. Bus if possible, otherwise cab.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 11:15 am 21 Jul 19

    Trish Roberts If you have problems speak up (politely); don't wait to be offered a seat. If you stood there without asking, suffering, you can only blame yourself. Maybe those in seats didn't know you were suffering. The same could happen in a packed bus (and bus rides are rougher); you could be standing on a full bus. Speak up...ask.

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 11:44 am 21 Jul 19

    Hi Julie, you are correct. However, I wasn’t near seats (except the single seat, which the lady with cancer was occupying). Once I got a hold onto something, I didn’t dare let go to move about and ask. If I do go on the tram again, I’ll try to get a seat immediately, or stand near seats so I can ask. This time I found myself near the bike area and the single seat. As I got on at Macarthur St, the tram was near the end of its journey and already full. On a bus there are several designated seats, where passengers are asked to give up their seats for the elderly, pregnant ladies, people with mobility issues etc. I’ve never had a problem getting a seat on a bus.

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 5:10 pm 21 Jul 19

    I’ll look for the red seats. The carriage was packed so it was hard to see (and I’m height challenged!). Thanks for the input.

David Ilchef David Ilchef 6:49 pm 17 Jul 19

The bus services are a joke. Packed to a point you can’t get on

God forbid if there’s an accident

Nicole McGuire Nicole McGuire 7:26 pm 17 Jul 19

The ACT Government doesn’t listen because they don’t care. Simples.

Emma Nikolic Emma Nikolic 8:32 pm 17 Jul 19

Not to mention Kambah - biggest suburb in Canberra and the bus that goes through the suburb to Woden now goes via Weston Creek! 40 minutes! What the heck? If you can’t get to a rapid service you’re stuffed!

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:50 pm 17 Jul 19

    Emma Nikolic the Kambah re-route via Cooleman Court is surely the worst Bus design in the new system. I emailed our local member Carolyn Lecouter and she said I was the only person to formally complain about the Kambah bus route.

    Emma Nikolic Emma Nikolic 6:33 am 18 Jul 19

    Thanks Jeff. I’ll get in touch with Carolyn.

    Ann-Maree Hatch Ann-Maree Hatch 6:36 am 18 Jul 19

    i think it’s great there’s a bus from Tuggers to Coolo but it’s a ridiculous way to get from Kambah to Woden

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 12:30 pm 19 Jul 19

    Nicole Juratowitch that's terrible. I will try and see if I saved the email and I will post it here. I was shocked when she so easily dismissed my concerns.

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 2:36 pm 19 Jul 19

    They claiim they did surveys and people were willing to wait longer and walk further. Who did they survey? I have not met one person who was surveyed. Plus there is no consideration for older people, parents with children, people with disabilities and more.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 2:49 pm 19 Jul 19

    Nicole Juratowitch Cheers Nicole, here is a quote verbatim from my email response from Caroline Le Couteur MLA

    ACT Greens Spokesperson for Planning and Transport "Hi Jeff,

    Yours is the only complaint I have had from a Kambah resident since the new timetable came into operation" she also went on to mention the record number of boarding's (90,854) since the new network that Transport Canberra dubiously spouted. I wonder if her stance has changed now that the new Transport Minister has admitted that Tuggeranong public transport use has actually 'decreased' since they took away so many Tuggeranong bus routes, made people walk further and made Tuggeranong buses meander through Weston Creek, Woden and South Canberra. Unfortunately she cares more about the inner north than she cares about her constituents in Kambah.

Jill Brown Jill Brown 1:17 am 18 Jul 19

Not to mention the expense of building a new park n ride only to discontinue half the services

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 8:35 am 20 Jul 19

Great to see people making their views known. But, where is the evidence? A lot of what I have been reading is hysteria?

Jeff previously had a compromise suggestion for his hobbyhorse routing. Has that now died in all the hysteria?

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:39 am 20 Jul 19

    I always like your clear and focussed views on transport, but I thought the Evidence was pretty clearly shown on this issue. 1. The new Minister admits that latest data shows that Tuggeranong public transport has reduced since the new network (this is the opposite of what was promised). 2. Buses from Tuggeranong no longer use the Tuggeranong expressway and Monaro Hwy thus ensuring longer and slower bus journeys (hey my commute time to Woden from Kambah has doubled, I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy losing an extra 4 hours a week of your precious time). 3. A post below says 42 Bus stops from one Suburb have gone, I wonder how many bus stops have disappeared from across Tuggeranong. 4. Walk times for Tuggeranong commuters has greatly increased, why did transport Canberra think that walking longer for a slower bus journey would increase ridership? The Evidence you seek is in the Canberra Transport data about less use and longer journey times for Tuggeranong commuters. That's why so many people from the South have been complaining for many months. False complaints die off, these complaints are real and are being ignored by the ACT Government.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 10:56 am 20 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith I would like to focus specifically on your claims about the Kambah-Woden journey time. You suggested an achievable compromise solution that also removed the farcical route 70/71 convoy. Would really enjoy seeing your evidence. I would also suggest a focus on the most important issues to you may lead to a positive result.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 10:42 pm 20 Jul 19

    Kambah used to have 3 local buses and also peak hour expressos before the new network, so I am not sure why Canberra Transport thought it was a good idea to take one whole suburban route away and the expresso's too. They also didn't provide a new Rapid bus for Kambah residents and for some unknown reason decided to send Kambah people on many stops via Chapman, Fisher, Stirling, Waramanga and Weston. Surely the easy fix is to re-instate the 3rd local route, use the Tuggeranong expressway again (which used to give me one stop straight to Woden, not a dozen via creek) and have peak hour express buses use Tuggeranong parkway to Civic and Belco again. It is very clear to see how much worse the bus network for Kambah is since the changes. None of our politicians, transport staff or transport association seem willing to accept this fundamental fact and they keep telling us how much better off we all are, despite the overwhelming evidence.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:18 am 21 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith but where are people coming from, and where are they going? How many are traversing the route? Not asking what would best suit you, but what is the greater good. I admit to having a few boutique suggestions of my own, but not getting worked up about it until I know the facts. But remember the 70/71 convoy still mercilessly proceeds.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:36 am 22 Jul 19

    Bill Gemmell Sorry Bill, I misunderstood what you meant. I don’t know about the MyWay travel data as I can’t find any suitable information on Kambah published by Canberra Transport on line. But that data is only about use, not about need. What is clear from busily searching the web is that the ACT governments Transport for Canberra plan says they need to provide public transport to areas with high public housing and areas in need of better social inclusion. A search shows that Kambah has the most public housing tenants of any suburb in Canberra, has one of the highest percentages of residents in public housing, has many pockets of poor people and the suburb has been highlighted by ACT Government as a place needing improved social inclusion. Looking at the physical Bus map you can see how poorly Kambah is serviced under the new network with large gaps, long walking distances and indirect bus routes. If public transport is about providing travel to the 4% of Kambah homes without cars, servicing Kambah’s over 3,000 students and supporting Kambah’s workers who are often in lower paid jobs that other Canberra suburbs, then the Bus cuts have been the opposite of the governments and Canberra Transports key goals for improved travel. But I would like to see some home to destination data from my way and my friend says the census has some of this data too.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:34 pm 22 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith,my view is that use of the two data sources you refer to needs to be supplemented by some comparison data. From conversations I have had with D.c. Haas I am aware he has a similar view and has suggested to the ACT Government more than once that they should examine some of the other aggregated data that is available in the marketplace. The data you have referred to is what was used to design the current arrangements we are told, so draw your own conclusions about its utility.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 1:50 pm 22 Jul 19

    Bill Gemmell OK that seems logical and totally crazy, I have not had much sucess with Mr Haas as he previously pointed me to Kambah services on the new Bus map that are effectively non existent buses (they only a couple of pre-morning routes from Banks) and he didn't seem to understand how the route change from using the Tuggeranong Parkway to now going via Weston Creek had such a big impact on travel times. I think he needs to stand up for the Bus issues for Tuggeranong residents if he wants people from across Canberra to take his organisation seriously.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:02 pm 22 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith may I suggest you try influencing from within the tent? How about you join PTCBR and try to influence the policy direction, as well as meet some interesting new people.

    D.c. Haas D.c. Haas 10:52 pm 22 Jul 19

    Jeff Smith I'm glad I took the time to respond to your giant whinge emails. Even though you aren't a PTCBR member, I took the time to research your claims and respond. Clearly that was a great use of my time 🤷‍♂️ If I understand this correctly, because transport Canberra haven't reversed the network 19 changes in Tuggeranong, somehow the PTCBR can't be taken seriously? We have recommended changes to network 19 in different parts of Canberra, and expect that more fine tuning will occur.

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 11:45 am 23 Jul 19

    Bill Gemmell Thanks for the offer, but I certainly won't be joining PTCBR as Mr Haas shows his attitude above about feedback. I had to chase him numerous times for a response when I first raised my issues regarding the new network and his comments on ABC Radio that Kambah residents were not worse off, I certainly don't blame him or PTCBR for not reversing the new network, but if his organisation wants to demonstrate that it represents the needs and concerns of public transport users 'across canberra' it will have to better understand why so many 1000s of people from Tuggeranong have signed petitions complaining about the new bus network and ask the obvious question of why bus use in Tuggeranong has dropped since the network rolled out. Tackling these key issues will make PTCBR the kind of public transport advocate organisation that many disgruntled bus users would like to join. Best of luck in trying to improve the network and trying to stop Canberra Transport from doubling commuter travel times for people like me.

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