The shocking state of the ACT Internal Omnibus Network

damianheffernan 12 August 2008 34

Since Action has now had a couple of months to work out the bugs in it’s new schedule I’m forced to ask: is this as good as it gets?

On my run we have five buses running between 8am and 9am This isn’t enough buses by far but it would work a lot better if the service could run anywhere near on time. Every morning the same story plays out: the first bus runs late and the second bus starts to run early because it’s right behind the first bus. This compounds because people from two buses now pack the first bus and it takes so long to squeeze them in that it gets further behind. By 3/4 of the way through the route the second bus is actually stopping at the stop seconds after the first bus and taking on no passengers. It’s passengers turn up 2 minutes later unaware their bus has already been and gone. So they double up with bus 3’s passengers and the whole thing repeats. I’ve actually been on the ‘packed to the rafters’ bus and been overtaken by the empty bus which arrives at the interchange before the bus that is ahead of it on the schedule.

But because there is no one watching at the other end how would action know their service has serious issues.

The bus that picks up ends up carrying way over it`s limit and the photo below really doesn’t do the overcrowding justice but it’s hard to surreptitiously take a photo when you’re packed in like sardines. God help us it a bus carrying way over it’s legal limit gets in an accident. People are going to get savagely injured and Action is going to get sued.

I can’t believe I’m unlucky enough to get the only route this is happening on so I’m assuming that our new ‘going in the right direction’ bus service is an outright failure.

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34 Responses to The shocking state of the ACT Internal Omnibus Network
damianheffernan damianheffernan 6:27 pm 12 Aug 08

Oh sorry I forgot. I did contact Action to complain and received the following reply:
“I have forwarded your feedback to ACTION’s Customer Services Manager to
discuss with the driver the importance of adhering to the timetables and
what effect early running causes our passengers.”

bubzie bubzie 6:26 pm 12 Aug 08

5 buses running from 8 till 9? yeesh, consider yourself lucky! down south, on my route, we’ve only got ..3. And dont get me started on the fact, that in the old network, it’d be two different routes (with what, 3 or 4 buses in that hour??)(and then there’s the fact that it only took 10 mins to get to tuggers, unlike the 30 min bus trip i’m left with now)

and we had one break down or something today, which got replaced with one of those 9 seater vans.
Which was nice, because im on one of the first stops, so i actulary got a seat, but ..there was at least 30 more people who clearly couldnt fit, so they had to wait another half an hour, for the next bus, which as you’ve described yourself, all have to cram into the next bus, which gets even more full, and so on and so-forth.

damianheffernan damianheffernan 6:24 pm 12 Aug 08

Some clarifications and additions: The second bus overtook on Barry drive and the remaining two stops from there don’t have people waiting to be picked up as they’re very close to the City. Secondly you can’t wait for the second (empty) bus because it’s so hit and miss whether it will turn up or not or even turn up 20 minutes late and be right in front of the next one…or not.

I indeed post in my own name, own my opinions and stand behind everything I say and am prepared to send stuff out into the public domain for debate. I’m a Candidate for the elections for the next few months, I’m a citizen of Canberra for all the rest of the time. My public comment won’t stop after the election.

I don’t see how it’s a vested interest other than the same interest anyone else who crams onto a bus has. The post may show people what I’m interested in but will it make people vote for me?

I know our public transport network can be fixed. Not by me because I’m no expert, but you can’t tell me there’s no one in the world, in similarly sized cities, that hasn’t already tackled this problem and won!

molongloid molongloid 6:21 pm 12 Aug 08

I’ve caught buses in other markets where there are procedures to cover the two-bunched-together problem, e.g. the at-capacity bus becomes an alight-only bus for the next 5 stops, the second bus pauses for 5 minutes, the two buses take turns at being the front bus, etc. When you take the bus every day for 5 years you notice these things. You’re effectively emulating light rail (to some degree).

el el 6:12 pm 12 Aug 08

Packed in, even.

el el 6:12 pm 12 Aug 08

He did use his real name, and….he’s right. I rarely catch buses but the last one I was on we were packing in like fcuking sardines.

johnboy johnboy 6:06 pm 12 Aug 08

He did use his real name, from there it’s really up to readers to make their own judgments.

Thanks to Caf for making the connection though.

Spectra Spectra 5:52 pm 12 Aug 08

Perhaps some disclosure would have been appropriate?
I wondered the same thing – it’s by no means a bad thing for a candidate to have opinions and want to share them (indeed, I’d consider it mandatory). However, wanting to get elected seems like something of a “vested interest” that should perhaps be mentioned when posting about topics potentially relevant to said election.

On the flip-side, of course, had he mentioned that he was a candidate I’m sure people would have been posting comments the the tune of “so we’re providing free political advertising now?” 🙂

Can’t please everyone.

mutley...again mutley...again 5:43 pm 12 Aug 08

A terrible terrible thing for candidates to share their thoughts with the public?

Perhaps some disclosure would have been appropriate?

johnboy johnboy 5:27 pm 12 Aug 08

JC said :

Oh great we have someone running for local government writting beat up stories and the light rail lobby pushing their barrow too….. Bloody great this is.

A terrible terrible thing for candidates to share their thoughts with the public?

JC JC 5:04 pm 12 Aug 08

Oh great we have someone running for local government writting beat up stories and the light rail lobby pushing their barrow too….. Bloody great this is.

With the buses if what was written was true then of course the 2nd bus would over take somewhere along the line and start picking up the waiting passengers. I for one am glad to see there is somewhere that has 5 buses and hour, that is pretty good, much better than in the good old days when every route had a bus 30 mins off peak and 15 mins peak.

Now Mr ACT light rail yeah sure a light rail train can carry more, but as history would know where people need to change vehicles it is a disinsentive to catch public transport. That is one of the reasons why the 333 which used high capacity articulated buses, running at one point every 5 minutes was abolished.

Morgan Morgan 4:44 pm 12 Aug 08

Hmmm, It seems to me that the light rail argument might be right, there is only so much capacity at Civic for all these intertown buses. The light rail might be the next big solution.

ACT Light Rail ACT Light Rail 1:12 pm 12 Aug 08

Capacity is one reason why intertown routes really need to be replaced by light rail. A bus can only carry 100 or so people, fully loaded. A light rail vehicle such as the ones used in sydney, carries 217 people.

To increase the capacity of a bus, you need extra buses and extra drivers. To increase the carrying capacity of a light rail system, you add another vehicle behind the initial vehicle. Two light rail vehicles = 440ish passengers. Thats 4 action buses and 4 drivers.

Action buses can best be used by collecting passengers from suburban routes and depositing them at collection points for light rail which will run efficiently and quickly between employment, town and population centres.

OzChick OzChick 11:50 am 12 Aug 08

I was on the second bus, that was travelling behind the first one, hence that is why I noticed that both buses didn’t stop for passengers in Bruce.

Swaggie Swaggie 11:44 am 12 Aug 08

So if the ‘second’ bus is less full and gets to the interchange before the ‘first’ bus why don’t you just catch the ‘second bus’ ?

OzChick OzChick 10:49 am 12 Aug 08

My bus to Belco was 15 mins late this morning, and I got on one of the 300 series buses at the Belco interchange, it was packed as (not unusual) and there was another 300 series bus that was there (which was really full). Both buses did not stop at the Bruce bus stops (near UC and Calvary Hospital) to pick up passengers that had been waiting for them to go to Civic, as they were too full.

I think that this new timetable is crap… At least put the bigger buses during the peak hours on the 300 series routes instead of these smaller ones that service bike riders.

seekay seekay 10:18 am 12 Aug 08

I love the way the bus bureaucrats move the routes but don’t move the bus stops.

There are bus stops on the route I’m now forced to use that were very obviously put there for very different services. You find one on a corner, turn left or right and – presto – there’s another around the corner.

Of course, the bus stops at all of these – which slows it down which makes the service less efficient which pushes more consumers to cars which means patronage falls which means that next time the bus bureaucrats pull out their red pencils they’ll be able to justify more cuts…

jakez jakez 10:01 am 12 Aug 08

I’ve experienced the same thing.

caf caf 9:58 am 12 Aug 08

This would be Damian Heffernan, Independent candidiate for Ginninderra in the upcoming election?

The bus issue sounds like a classic ballsup. Have you written to ACTION about it?

blueberry blueberry 9:53 am 12 Aug 08

Sounds pretty much the same as the busses i catch.
Luckly in the morning i get on early in on the route so it is not to squished straight away but it dosen’t take long to fill up and on the way home it is well worse, The bus regularly has to drive straight past people waiting at the stops beacuse it is too full.

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