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.