We’ll walk further to catch the bus if it gets us to our destination faster, survey finds

Ian Bushnell 20 April 2018 23

More frequent and faster services is the key to more people taking public transport. File photo.

Canberrans have an understandable desire for more frequent and faster bus services and it seems they may be willing to accept longer distances to bus stops – and as a result, fewer of them to achieve that.

The findings from the first phase of the ACT Government’s consultation for a new public transport network that will integrate buses with light rail announced today (Friday), shows Canberrans are prepared to walk further to a bus stop if services were more frequent and journeys faster.

They also want more up-to-date information on services and routes via mobile apps and digital displays.

The findings show Canberrans unsurprisingly want public transport to be quicker and more frequent and that this is the key to getting more people to use public transport but the trade-off will likely be fewer bus stops and routes, which could pose difficulties for the very young, elderly and people with a disability.

Conducted in late 2017, the consultation sought feedback from the community and stakeholders on how best to provide local and suburban connections to the Rapid network and how to improve the overall experience of public transport.

People were engaged through pop-up stalls, an online survey and at community group briefings. A total of 678 people filled in the online survey, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they currently used public transport.

In answer to the question “Would you walk further to a bus stop if the bus came more often and got you to your destination faster?”, 80 per cent of respondents said yes, which the consultation report said ‘clearly shows that most people would be willing to walk further to connect to the new Rapid Network’.

Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris said the first phase of consultation told the Government that as Canberrans moved away from a ‘nine-to-five’ lifestyle, people wanted more services at all times of the day and week.

“We can achieve this by reducing duplication across existing routes, freeing up more buses and providing more frequent services. Integrating light rail with our bus network will also free up buses and provide more direct services to key destinations,” she said.

The report said most respondents indicated that they would generally prefer to access information about timetables and route changes via digital display apps to plan their journey.

But more than 40 per cent preferred traditional printed timetables, “suggesting this remains an important source for those who cannot access digital information and as a backup if there is a technological failure”.

There was strong support for Transport Canberra investigating Flexible Bus services for residents with limited mobility (60.91 per cent), ride-sharing services for large employment areas/workplaces (39.82 per cent) and Demand Responsive Services for residents who cannot access regular bus services (50.44 per cent).

Ms Fitzharris said the introduction of two new Rapid services last year had already had a great response, with more and more people using the new services every day.

“But while 82 per cent of respondents said they currently use public transport, we know only 7.1 per cent of Canberrans took public transport to work on Census Day 2016,” she said.

“The bottom line is we need more Canberrans to catch public transport.”

She said the trend was encouraging with Transport Canberra on target to meet or exceed its target of 18.4 million boardings.

“The Green Rapid from Woden through the Inner South, in particular, is very popular, and is already one of the busiest routes on the network. In fact, we have had 15 of the 20 busiest days on the Transport Canberra network since 2011, so far this year,” she said.

“I’m confident that the more we provide frequent, direct bus services across Canberra, the more people will choose to leave the car at home and catch public transport.”

The next stage of consultation on the integrated public transport network will take place in May before a new network is introduced.

It will include the detail of the new and updated Local and Rapid routes, and also cover school services and ways to improve timeliness in the wake of recent controversy over buses arriving late at schools.

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23 Responses to We’ll walk further to catch the bus if it gets us to our destination faster, survey finds
tim_c tim_c 11:59 am 30 Apr 18

Canberrans walking? Ha ha ha. More likely they’ll just drive their car to the bus stop and then catch the bus. Many Canberrans would prefer to park illegally if it means 20m less walking to the entrance of the gym or supermarket.

    John Moulis John Moulis 2:50 pm 30 Apr 18

    Canberra has a reputation as the city where everything is laid on within our fingertips. From the days where every suburb had a shopping centre and a school to today where we complain if our NBN connection goes below 90Mpbs. I take the results of this survey with a large grain of salt.

Queanbeyanite Queanbeyanite 7:39 pm 26 Apr 18

So the local council bought Mr Rattenbury’s vote with $3 billion dollars of ratepayers hard earned? To serve only 7% of the population?

    Maya123 Maya123 2:46 pm 30 Apr 18

    Public transport is for the whole population; same as hospitals, whether you use them, or schools, whether you have a child using one. It’s also to attempt to encourage people to use public transport and improve the liveability of the city by having less cars on the road. And as a side effect improve people’s fitness, by getting them out of their cars. Some people would drive to their desk if they could.

Karen Nicholson Karen Nicholson 10:16 pm 22 Apr 18

If you are able to walk 25 minutes that is great: but what about the frail, elderly, people with disabilities (including anxiety and other mental health concerns), uneven footpaths and the fact that it is dark after 5:30 in winter and street lighting is patchy to say the least? Add to the list young kids who are carers: people with chronic medical conditions....I think the survey people meant to say that able-bodied office hour commuters would be happy to take a 25 minute walk each way to the bus. Which is funny, as they seem to be the people driving to work.

bd84 bd84 10:38 pm 21 Apr 18

People have been telling the government for 20+ years that they don’t want to catch buses that take the scenic route around the mulberry bush to get them where they want to go, or buses that stop every 100m down the road. It only takes a few vocal whingers to change their plans to make these improvements and just retain the status quo. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Bec O'Brien Bec O'Brien 12:05 pm 21 Apr 18

I walk an extra 25 mins to get the black rapid to Belconnen to get to work.I see it as additional exercise as well.

Louise Anne Louise Anne 9:15 am 21 Apr 18

Bus shelters. Standing on rhe side of the road in the Winter weather with no shelter does not make waiting for a bus seem like a good idea.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 9:05 am 21 Apr 18

Sooooo reflecting what the government would want to hear. Save a few shekels on bus stop maintenance, inconvenience old and disabled people…. what do the Greens think?

Ann-Elise Koerntjes Ann-Elise Koerntjes 8:42 am 21 Apr 18

It’s already almost 2km with poor lighting.

Can’t go much further!

gooterz gooterz 10:20 pm 20 Apr 18

Do they factor in walking both ways when the bus doesnt show and runs only every hour?

Peter Bee Peter Bee 9:00 pm 20 Apr 18

Getting rid of the Ancient orange and blue buses.

Bus shelters that actually shelter.

Reeducating the driver of the 1 route bus in the morning that refuses to open the back door.

David Brown David Brown 7:22 pm 20 Apr 18

Seeing is believing. Watch the passenger numbers plummet like Malcolm Turnbull in an opinion poll.

Lauren Andrea Lauren Andrea 6:55 pm 20 Apr 18

Plan to build new bus shelters that don't just drip the rain directly onto people's heads, that's a good starting point. Otherwise the points people make below about mobility are good.

Peter Kelly Peter Kelly 4:01 pm 20 Apr 18

Unless they are old, disabled, unfit, toddlers, it’s raining, it’s -8 , it’s 40 degrees, it’s on a main road with poor footpaths, it’s dark and they are alone/ but yep you stick with your theory!!!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:46 pm 20 Apr 18

    Such as the elderly living on Kootara Cres in Narrabundah. There is a line of aged care housing there, built conveniently for the elderly beside the old Number 5 bus route, which I always imagined was built there because the bus did go by there. Now to go to the local large mall, and medical appointments, etc in Woden, there is over a km walk (or shuffle) for them to the nearest route 6 bus stop. The silly thing is, is that the replacement route 6 is basically route 5 without that one segment in Narrabundah, It could so easily have continued to include that segment.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 2:30 pm 20 Apr 18

"The trade-off will likely be fewer bus stops and routes, which could pose difficulties for the very young, elderly and people with a disability."

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 5:49 pm 20 Apr 18

    My bus in Narrabundah was cancelled and now I need to cross a four lane road and go to the next suburb to catch a bus. I am now imagining the nearest bus stop being one of them that gets removed, making my walk even further.

jamesblake2908 jamesblake2908 12:46 pm 20 Apr 18

Hopefully the ACT govt can take this research into consideration re the winding, indirect Stage 2 rotue

aleayr aleayr 11:15 am 20 Apr 18

Judging by this list, it looks like I’m going to lose the 3xx bus that runs down the road near me (30 second walk). Replaced by a 10 minute walk. Will be interesting if Canberrans really do walk that extra distance to get a bus.

It’ll now make me think more than twice about getting the bus to work especially since the route after those early suburbs doesn’t change, so it’ll just be a 10-15 minute increase on the commute each way for me.

Good exercise though if the weather is good 🙂

gooterz gooterz 10:50 am 20 Apr 18

What happened to the gold line? Cancelled.
Consultation just to return an excuse to decrease number of busses. Action budget shinks because light rail takes a bugger share of the pot. Why isnt there a belconnen to tuggeranong rapid?

    jamesblake2908 jamesblake2908 5:11 pm 20 Apr 18

    Gold Line is not on the map because it’s not a Rapid. I’m guessing it would be replaced bu Purple Rapid though

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:14 am 20 Apr 18

“The bottom line is we need more Canberrans to catch public transport.”

Year after year the vast majority of Canberrans have rejected public transport. The city was designed for the private motor car and we use it that way despite all the “speed humps” the government creates.
Most other cities our size are envious of our roads.

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