22 November 2005

Time travelling busway route known soon

| Kerces
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The Canberra Times has picked up on Zed Seselja’s questions about the time travelling busway as well as telling us Planning Minister Simon Corbell said the route would be announced before the end of the year.

However a decision being made on the route appears to be no guarantee the thing will actually be built, with no money having been appropriated thus far for the busway’s construction and the Government having money problems anyway.

Mr Corbell told the CT that in fact the 15 minute saving in time was between west Belconnen — say Higgins or Charnwood — and Civic via a new Belconnen interchange (did anyone else know there was going to be a new interchange?) and so is probably physically possible. Now how come he didn’t tell us that, given we’ve been on the story since last December AND he’s previously put us straight about other things?

Anyway, this time around Mr Corbell said he could not in fact make any guesses, estimates, statements or otherwise about what kind of time saving the busway would contribute, but did confirm there will be right of way for buses along Barry Drive (and, presumably, Belconnen Way seeing as there is already a bus lane on much of Barry Drive).

He also said that travellers between Belconen and Civic accounted for 30 per cent of ACTION’s patronage.

Full text of the story below.

Busway route to be known shortly
By Graham Downie

The preferred route for a Belconnen-to-Civic busway would be announced by the end of this year, Planning Minister Simon Corbell said.

Whether the busway would proceed would be for the Government to decide after advice on detailed planning, to be completed in three to four months. Although the Government had committed “a significant amount of money for preliminary design”, no money had been appropriated for the construction of a busway.

Its cost has been estimated at $100 million to $150 million.

“Obviously our capital capacity is slightly reduced at the moment,” Mr Corbell said.

He would not speculate on whether the Government might borrow to fund the project. But he said that clearly with a AAA credit rating, the Government had the capacity to borrow.

Mr Corbell was criticised last week by shadow planning minister Zed Seselja for saying the proposed busway would save passengers up to 15 minutes on journeys from Belconnen to Civic.

Mr Seselja said ACTION’s current timetable showed the trip from Belconnen to Civic took 17 minutes. “Did this mean passengers would complete the journey in two minutes?”

Mr Corbell said the 15-minte saving was from western Belconnen suburbs, such as Higgins and Charnwood. The time saving would be achieved in conjunction with a new Belconnen interchange.

He could not say how much the busway would contribute to the time saving. “We certainly see improvements on the Barry Drive stretch, where there will be right of way for buses.” Patronage between Belconnen and Civic already accounted for 30 oer cent of journeys by bus.

A tender for a $6.7 million real-time information system was expected to be let early next year. As well as telling passengers when the next bus would arrive, it would include the capacity for buses to link into any traffic light to give buses priority.

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Just explain to me again the “Sustainable Transport Policy”. From where I sit, I see whole carparks being given to the less fortunate amongst us, ie developers, and the spread of pay parking like a rash across the cityscape, but NOT ONE MORE BUS travelling at a useful time, or for a realistic journey time.

A colleague of mine describes the current setup with parking as pure discrimination. If your journey to work includes several stops to deliver children to their education or such, then parking is a cat fight for you when you finally arrive at your place of employ. On the other hand, if you have no parental, or similar responsibilities, all you need to do is hit the road early and get the pick of parking spaces, admire the nearby construction site and its inherant litter (don’t get me started there) and wonder what the fuss is about.

the Stanhope govt will harness donkey’s and load passengers up before considering light rail…

The buses already have a union? Light rail might have a commercial interest? The ALP can’t be seen to change it’s mind just because something better comes along?

I don’t know, it makes no sense to me either.

unfortunately this government will never support light rail. if you look at the KBR report, they directed the consultants to cost light rail as if it was heavy rail and as if all infrastructure would need to be constructed from scratch, with things like tunnels under civic added in for good measure. this is how they arrived at the ‘light rail too expensive’ response.

the liberals seem committed to at least considering it seriously. vicki dunne changed her tune around 2003 when she was adamantly opposed to light rail and very pro bus, to being fair minded. this could have had something to do with a trip to france to see the proposed automatic bus system action really were pushing, turning into a debacle when it was shut down due to never ending problems. instead of seeing a bus success, vicki dunne saw the proposed system as a debacle. the busways were an integral part of that system. so the autobahn like system is shitcanned, but the busways live on. the bus lobby never gives up.

this was told to me third hand so im not sure how much is accurate, but i do know that her attitude did change from being pro bus to being NOT anti light rail.

since that time the liberals have been less pro bus and more pro light rail than before. i dont see this as a firm committment to building a light rail system, but its definitely positive vibes that you just dont get from the alp.

zed also seems fairly open minded to better public transport alternatives.

whenever you ask teh alp you just get packaged glibness as a response.

if you want light rail, dont support the alp. the two cannot coexist for reasons i dont understand. i woudl have thought that a long term sustainable efficient public transport system that woudl increase patronage and allow focussed development would appeal.

I believe there is still a provision that Gov’mit departments have to provide stabling for their employees at work, THIS is the real reason for Howard’s Work Choices

Simon, bloody well drop the busses idea and adopt light rail, how many times do you have to have that little golden nugget dropped in your lap before the sprocket in your head finally turns to ‘call it in’ ?

Busses are doomed to failure, and continuing to support them is like… well it’s rather flogging a dead horse.

The bus will always fail, due to it’s constructed nature of only allowing one person on or off at any one time, and the associated delays, the fact that they have to share the road with cars, so in congestion they are in the same boat as everybody else, and they are about as popular as hospital waiting rooms.

I will never use a bus, if fuel prices go up any further, I’d sooner buy a horse, as would most other Canberrans. Get with the program…

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