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What I’ve learnt from catching buses in Canberra

Vanessa Jones 12 October 2016 43

Bus stop
The Riot Act said I could write a “500 word piece for RiotACT on what catching buses regularly has taught you about Canberra’s transport needs,” after I commented about buses.
OK, seeing the number 500 makes me want to divide this article up into numbers. Let’s start with one.

1. Catching buses has taught me that we do not need a yuppy tram line to increase the price of Shane Rattenbury’s 2 investment properties in the tram line area, we need Alistair Coe’s rapid bus system. And that opinion is coming from someone who has never voted Liberal in their life, and who grew up with a Liberal hating father, who swore and cursed Fraser all my childhood, who saw Whitlam fund public schools so well and hated everything about Fraser. So, it’s a big step for me to say “go with the Liberals’ rapid bus system, it’s the best system for bus users and non drivers”.

2. Not driving for 3 years has taught me that not driving sucks, especially in Canberra. I miss driving to the country, I miss driving to Hall to go for a walk amongst the beautiful paddocks, and quiet country roads. I miss ducking out to get chook food at Hall, or from the new pet food place at Belconnen. How can you carry a 25kg bag of chook food home on the bus?

3. I miss seeing the development of this city, the changes. It’s hard to see it all from the bus. I miss looking, with my eyes, from the freedom of a car. I miss the independence of going where I want, when I want. I miss popping into cafes or galleries or doing whatever I want when I want. I think I just said that.

4. I miss being able to drive to the coast when I want.

5. So, I’d better get back to the issue. What has catching buses taught me about our transport needs?

6. Do the rapid bus system.

7. Build bus shelters on every main road-street. I have discussed this on my Facebook page, and then the other day I met a man who is blind, and he told me that his main concern is having bus shelters. He gets wet, waiting for a bus to work, in West Belconnen. That really sucks. Imagine being blind, you get dressed, get to the bus stop, and then it rains on you. Your work clothes are wet, for the day ahead. If we can build a tram line, then build bus shelters in all suburbs on major streets. The man told me that some bus shelters had been smashed, new ones. Well, maybe we can build the old concrete ones. Hearing that man’s story really moved me.

8. So, we need Coe’s rapid bus system. And we need bus shelters on all major streets-roads. Also, we need more buses on the weekends. Catching a bus on the weekend in Canberra really sucks. You wait ages. I campaigned to get rapid buses more frequently to Kippax, and now they are every 10 minutes on weekdays. They need to be more frequent on weekends. Recently, there was a talk at Kingston about local politics, with journalists. It was on a Sunday evening. Catching buses on the weekend would have been a huge headache – 2 buses to the event, then 2 buses home, after 7pm. No way, what a headache, what if it’s cold and it rains. Make buses more frequent on weekends.

9. The nicest bus driver in Canberra is Francesco, he is lovely. He smiles and “hi 5s” people on buses, he recognises you, he is great. Francesco should get a well-paid job teaching bus drivers PR skills, he is fabulous.

10. It rains in Canberra, and it gets windy in winter. Those winds can eat you with cold. We need bus shelters. It’s hot in summer, we need bus shelters.

11. Kippax didn’t have a My Way machine before. I asked for one, now we have one. Make sure there are My Way machines all over this city.

12. If My Way bus tickets do not work, bus drivers should be nice. Often, upset people get kicked off buses when their My Way card does not work. Those people look like they will cry on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere. Be kind to people who have their My Way cards muck up, and not work. Let them on the bus. Most people look shocked and upset when their card does not work. Be kind.

13. When there are tram debates, about the pros and cons of trams, listen to non-drivers and bus users. Have you not driven in this city for one year or ten years? Non-drivers know so much, they know about transport, they are not thinking of their home prices increasing when they debate tram issues, or their 2 investment apartments increasing in value. Listen to people who catch buses. Ignore people who have bought 2 investment apartments in the tram area, to cash in on the tram line. Use common sense, not greed, when planning for transport with government funds.

14. Avoid being a non-driver, it really, really sucks.

Vanessa Jones is an independent candidate running for the seat of Ginninderra in the ACT Legislative Assembly election.


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What I’ve learnt from catching buses in Canberra
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Ubiquitous 8:23 pm 07 Aug 18

Francisco is my favourite driver too! He used to be my driver after school. Always greeted me with a high five and a small conversation in Spanish (due to us both being Fromm spain.) A true legend of this town.

sportsmum 12:37 pm 15 Oct 16

This is a really great piece with lots of very good points in it. I hope our local government members read it and adopt the suggestions.
I really like the idea of smaller buses to run more frequently in the suburbs, with large buses doing the rapid runs between town centres. There doesn’t seem to me to be any reason why we can’t do rapid runs linking all the major local hubs from Lanyon, Tuggeranng, Erindale, Woden, Weston Creek, Fyshwick, Hume, Kingston, Barton, City, Belconnen, Jamieson and so on out to Gungahlin. It would work better than a light rail and provided the right attention is given to rapid bus lanes on the roads then it seems very practical to me – and about half a billion dollars cheaper.

Vanessa Jones 7:25 am 15 Oct 16

JC said :

Vanessa Jones said :

I looked at the weekend timetable from Kippax to Belco, and there are 3 buses per hour I think, but all leave within about 15 mins of each other- so for 45 mins there are no buses- so it’d be better to have them every 20 or 30 mins. I might be wrong, but that is what I worked out. Also, keep bus numbers the same all week- changing the numbers at weekends is so confusing and crazy. Why? So, need weekend buses every 20 or 30 mins Kippax to Belco and return. Too easy, but they choose not to do it… Vanessa

On Sundays for example Kippax is served by the 903, 904 and 905.

The 903 leaves Kippax (Belco bound) at around x:48, the 904 yeah much the same time and the 905 at x.19. So in essence a bus every 30 minutes, which is not really unreasonable.

You may think it is easy to have one every 20 minutes to even it out, but frankly as they take different routes to get to Belconnen you may well find two buses leave 20 minutes apart but arrive at the same time. One route (903) goes straight down Southern Cross, as Kippax is near the end of the route and the other two go through suburbia and hence take longer. Then there is the issue of the effect on other bus routes, spreading them out to every 20 minutes might mean an extra bus is required to do the same job.

Also unless I am mistaken Labor have promised to extend all 300 and 900 series buses to Kippax.

On the weekends, there are rapids Civic to Belco and return every 15 mins I think. That is great. BUT, what about weekend rapids for Belco to Charnwood, Dunlop and Kippax and return? That is the next issue. Every 20 mins would be great. I tried to find The Liberals’ rapid bus weekend promise- what would that be? I couldn’t find it.

Vanessa Jones 7:19 am 15 Oct 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Getting your shopping home delivered isn’t exactly affordable for people on tight budgets. $11 for orders up to $150 odd means you have to forsake some items. You also can’t get delivery from other shops. Not everything is available at the one supermarket, thanks to their homebrand items killing off everything else, so when I shop I have to go to several different places. How do you get all these different shops to deliver to your door?
As for carrying it home on the bike or walking, you will need an ice pack and cold bag for meat, dairy and other fridge items. Where are you going to get that on your way home from work? Our shops are a good 2km+ walk, which at my current walking speed means about half an hour in the hot summer sun, so frozen goods won’t be frozen for very long.
Thanks to self serve and lack of register operators, if you were to pick up a day’s worth every day, you will end up spending hours waiting in queue every week, instead of waiting just the once. That is not very efficient use of your time.
There are so many reasons why it is better and easier to do the grocery shopping with a car, but if you are happy to do it your way that’s fine by me. It’s a personal choice after all.

Please see my reply to Kent re delivery fee.

Vanessa Jones 7:16 am 15 Oct 16

KentFitch said :

Maya123 said :

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

I don’t get the grocery’s argument either. Sure the car is more convenient, but bringing the groceries home by other means is not, for most people, as difficult as some people have painted it to be for themselves. I have brought groceries home by bus, but I would rather get off at the local shops and get the groceries there and carry them home. The bicycle can also carry a lot of groceries, especially if the journey is longer. I once brought two dinner sets home on the bus and then carried them home. Instead of say, shopping weekly/fortnightly, smaller shops can be done too to lesson the load.
My elderly mother shops locally and then has the groceries delivered.

Here’s the thing: if they can, most people shop in big supermarkets because they are cheaper and have a bigger range. Yes, you can pay to get the shopping delivered, or you can pay more and get free delivery. Yes, you can transport dinner settings, washing machines and a menagerie of animals by bike, especially if you are healthy and the weather is kind.

But paying more for delivery of groceries is just another thing that contributes to the social and economic disadvantage of those unable to drive.

Please, develop some understanding and empathy with follow. Imagine you are a single parent with three kids and lots of shipping to be done on a tight budget. Imagine if you are not so fortunate that every 10 dollars is a big deal. Imagine if you are not lucky enough to have good health or fitness. We used to be able to rely on the ALP / greens to at least represent those who have had bad luck or made choices that didn’t turn out well.

But sadly, this is of no concern to the ALP/green elites who have abandoned their base: after all, if the current greens leader thinks it is ok to ignore his party policy on negative gearing to speculate on investment properties along the tram line, then you know traditional political lines count for nothing. Clearly, greed is good, so let it rip. And the elites wonder why Brexit, Trump and One Nation attract a following desperate for anyone that claims to represent them.

All excellent points, Kent, and other excellent points by other readers, below. I found that doing a bulk online shop every 2 months was good- the delivery fee was cheaper, the bigger the order, and it was easier to do it once every 2 months, as less waiting around for the delivery etc. Yes, it limits your choice of shops, and might be dearer than Aldi for example, but it sure beats carrying home huge amounts of heavy items. Beggars can’t be choosers, unfortunately… if you don’t drive, you just have to make do with what options are available, and I think a small delivery fee every 2 months is ok, since a driver would pay for petrol when shopping. And yes, of course if someone has an illness and is a single parent, things would be more challenging, especially if not driving. My experience of not driving has taught me what we need in the outer suburbs, and good, frequent rapid buses with bus shelters would help the majority of people much more than a tram line in a small area. Get the basics right for the majority first…I think a tram line to Kippax would be the 5th (or more) tram line built, if we ever got it, so good rapids would help non drivers much more, in the immediate future. The blind man would get wet for a long time, waiting for a tram line to Kippax…

pink little birdie 12:05 am 15 Oct 16

KentFitch said :

Maya123 said :

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

I don’t get the grocery’s argument either. Sure the car is more convenient, but bringing the groceries home by other means is not, for most people, as difficult as some people have painted it to be for themselves. I have brought groceries home by bus, but I would rather get off at the local shops and get the groceries there and carry them home. The bicycle can also carry a lot of groceries, especially if the journey is longer. I once brought two dinner sets home on the bus and then carried them home. Instead of say, shopping weekly/fortnightly, smaller shops can be done too to lesson the load.
My elderly mother shops locally and then has the groceries delivered.

Here’s the thing: if they can, most people shop in big supermarkets because they are cheaper and have a bigger range. Yes, you can pay to get the shopping delivered, or you can pay more and get free delivery. Yes, you can transport dinner settings, washing machines and a menagerie of animals by bike, especially if you are healthy and the weather is kind.

But paying more for delivery of groceries is just another thing that contributes to the social and economic disadvantage of those unable to drive.

Please, develop some understanding and empathy with follow. Imagine you are a single parent with three kids and lots of shipping to be done on a tight budget. Imagine if you are not so fortunate that every 10 dollars is a big deal. Imagine if you are not lucky enough to have good health or fitness. We used to be able to rely on the ALP / greens to at least represent those who have had bad luck or made choices that didn’t turn out well.

But sadly, this is of no concern to the ALP/green elites who have abandoned their base: after all, if the current greens leader thinks it is ok to ignore his party policy on negative gearing to speculate on investment properties along the tram line, then you know traditional political lines count for nothing. Clearly, greed is good, so let it rip. And the elites wonder why Brexit, Trump and One Nation attract a following desperate for anyone that claims to represent them.

We were that family but 4 kids (due to widowing). Shopping was done at the majors. We were relatively lucky that the local woolworths was within 2 kms. Yes it requires more planning to carry groceries home other than by car but when you are at the point where every $10 matters you are already doing that planning. It won’t bother you if your shopping is done at the majors in the major malls before you get on the bus and carry it the 500m home or at the local shops and carry 2km. If you are that concerned making your dollar strech further for food is more important than how far you carry it.

wildturkeycanoe 11:24 pm 14 Oct 16

Getting your shopping home delivered isn’t exactly affordable for people on tight budgets. $11 for orders up to $150 odd means you have to forsake some items. You also can’t get delivery from other shops. Not everything is available at the one supermarket, thanks to their homebrand items killing off everything else, so when I shop I have to go to several different places. How do you get all these different shops to deliver to your door?
As for carrying it home on the bike or walking, you will need an ice pack and cold bag for meat, dairy and other fridge items. Where are you going to get that on your way home from work? Our shops are a good 2km+ walk, which at my current walking speed means about half an hour in the hot summer sun, so frozen goods won’t be frozen for very long.
Thanks to self serve and lack of register operators, if you were to pick up a day’s worth every day, you will end up spending hours waiting in queue every week, instead of waiting just the once. That is not very efficient use of your time.
There are so many reasons why it is better and easier to do the grocery shopping with a car, but if you are happy to do it your way that’s fine by me. It’s a personal choice after all.

Maya123 8:17 pm 14 Oct 16

KentFitch said :

Maya123 said :

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

I don’t get the grocery’s argument either. Sure the car is more convenient, but bringing the groceries home by other means is not, for most people, as difficult as some people have painted it to be for themselves. I have brought groceries home by bus, but I would rather get off at the local shops and get the groceries there and carry them home. The bicycle can also carry a lot of groceries, especially if the journey is longer. I once brought two dinner sets home on the bus and then carried them home. Instead of say, shopping weekly/fortnightly, smaller shops can be done too to lesson the load.
My elderly mother shops locally and then has the groceries delivered.

Here’s the thing: if they can, most people shop in big supermarkets because they are cheaper and have a bigger range. Yes, you can pay to get the shopping delivered, or you can pay more and get free delivery. Yes, you can transport dinner settings, washing machines and a menagerie of animals by bike, especially if you are healthy and the weather is kind.

But paying more for delivery of groceries is just another thing that contributes to the social and economic disadvantage of those unable to drive.

Please, develop some understanding and empathy with follow. Imagine you are a single parent with three kids and lots of shipping to be done on a tight budget. Imagine if you are not so fortunate that every 10 dollars is a big deal. Imagine if you are not lucky enough to have good health or fitness. We used to be able to rely on the ALP / greens to at least represent those who have had bad luck or made choices that didn’t turn out well.

But sadly, this is of no concern to the ALP/green elites who have abandoned their base: after all, if the current greens leader thinks it is ok to ignore his party policy on negative gearing to speculate on investment properties along the tram line, then you know traditional political lines count for nothing. Clearly, greed is good, so let it rip. And the elites wonder why Brexit, Trump and One Nation attract a following desperate for anyone that claims to represent them.

When I was struggling to pay a mortgage, I dug up my back yard and grew most of my own vegetables, eating what was in season. Saved a huge amount of money. Cheaper than the cheapest supermarket. Yes, not everyone is fit enough to do this, and not everyone has a back yard, but dare I suggest though, that except for a few, most people are fit enough to do this and many people have some land available to them. Unfortunately though, they will make excuses and not help themselves. It becomes cheaper when you initially grow from seeds and then save seeds, so as not to have the expense repeated. Saves needing to carry the food home from the supermarket too. There are community gardens about for those that don’t have their own land. Get the children that are old enough involved too. I also (still do) would get on my bike and go hunt for wild fruit, pick that and bring it home to eat fresh, bake with, bottle and make jams etc. Another way to save money.

JC 5:35 pm 14 Oct 16

Vanessa Jones said :

I looked at the weekend timetable from Kippax to Belco, and there are 3 buses per hour I think, but all leave within about 15 mins of each other- so for 45 mins there are no buses- so it’d be better to have them every 20 or 30 mins. I might be wrong, but that is what I worked out. Also, keep bus numbers the same all week- changing the numbers at weekends is so confusing and crazy. Why? So, need weekend buses every 20 or 30 mins Kippax to Belco and return. Too easy, but they choose not to do it… Vanessa

On Sundays for example Kippax is served by the 903, 904 and 905.

The 903 leaves Kippax (Belco bound) at around x:48, the 904 yeah much the same time and the 905 at x.19. So in essence a bus every 30 minutes, which is not really unreasonable.

You may think it is easy to have one every 20 minutes to even it out, but frankly as they take different routes to get to Belconnen you may well find two buses leave 20 minutes apart but arrive at the same time. One route (903) goes straight down Southern Cross, as Kippax is near the end of the route and the other two go through suburbia and hence take longer. Then there is the issue of the effect on other bus routes, spreading them out to every 20 minutes might mean an extra bus is required to do the same job.

Also unless I am mistaken Labor have promised to extend all 300 and 900 series buses to Kippax.

KentFitch 4:25 pm 14 Oct 16

Maya123 said :

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

I don’t get the grocery’s argument either. Sure the car is more convenient, but bringing the groceries home by other means is not, for most people, as difficult as some people have painted it to be for themselves. I have brought groceries home by bus, but I would rather get off at the local shops and get the groceries there and carry them home. The bicycle can also carry a lot of groceries, especially if the journey is longer. I once brought two dinner sets home on the bus and then carried them home. Instead of say, shopping weekly/fortnightly, smaller shops can be done too to lesson the load.
My elderly mother shops locally and then has the groceries delivered.

Here’s the thing: if they can, most people shop in big supermarkets because they are cheaper and have a bigger range. Yes, you can pay to get the shopping delivered, or you can pay more and get free delivery. Yes, you can transport dinner settings, washing machines and a menagerie of animals by bike, especially if you are healthy and the weather is kind.

But paying more for delivery of groceries is just another thing that contributes to the social and economic disadvantage of those unable to drive.

Please, develop some understanding and empathy with follow. Imagine you are a single parent with three kids and lots of shipping to be done on a tight budget. Imagine if you are not so fortunate that every 10 dollars is a big deal. Imagine if you are not lucky enough to have good health or fitness. We used to be able to rely on the ALP / greens to at least represent those who have had bad luck or made choices that didn’t turn out well.

But sadly, this is of no concern to the ALP/green elites who have abandoned their base: after all, if the current greens leader thinks it is ok to ignore his party policy on negative gearing to speculate on investment properties along the tram line, then you know traditional political lines count for nothing. Clearly, greed is good, so let it rip. And the elites wonder why Brexit, Trump and One Nation attract a following desperate for anyone that claims to represent them.

Vanessa Jones 4:16 pm 14 Oct 16

Genie said :

I have been using buses on a regular basis for as long as I can remember, at least 20+ years. I will admit I have been lucky during this time and have lived close to bus stops or had multiple routes available for my use but things are still pretty woeful.

In my teens I was spoilt for choice, I lived near Kippax and could catch one of 4 buses to travel to Belconnen, these would take anywhere from about 10 minutes to 45 minutes. However the biggest problem was that all 4 stops were no where near each other and the buses all came within a 5-10 minute time frame. If I missed one, there was no chance of walking several kms to catch a different route I’d have to wait an hour for the next bus. THIS STILL APPLIES 20 years later. The timetables just aren’t spaced out very well giving people choice. I’ve always been happy to catch a bus with a 2km walk home over waiting 30-45mins for one with a 200m walk home. (I know this doesn’t apply to everyone)

Now living out in Gungahlin the Red Rapid is an amazing service, the buses are still crowded but you’re no longer being turned away at the very first stop because it’s full. Those catching a bus along Flemington no longer have to watch dozens of buses drive past before one is empty enough to stop.

One downside is that they’ve already cut back on the non-stop route 202. Assuming because not a lot of people use this bus as when it first started. Wanna know the reason why? IT NEVER RUNS ON TIME ! This service has only 3 stops but it consistantly LATE. Pick up passengers at Gungahlin Town Centre, stop a few hundred metres up the road at the Hinder St stop (aka the Woolworths end bus stop and the Coles end bus stop) and you don’t stop until you get to the city. Yet I don’t think I’ve ever caught a 202 route at it’s scheduled time, it’s usually at least 10 minutes late so people give up waiting assuming they’ve missed it and catch a standard 2xx bus into the city.

As for the buses from the ‘burbs. It’s quicker for me to drive to the town centre and use the park n ride carpark than it is to walk to my nearest bus stop and catch the bus. (approx 5-10min via car versus up to 45mins on the bus). Many people have already said it, Rapids are great but please start with the suburban routes.

I looked at the weekend timetable from Kippax to Belco, and there are 3 buses per hour I think, but all leave within about 15 mins of each other- so for 45 mins there are no buses- so it’d be better to have them every 20 or 30 mins. I might be wrong, but that is what I worked out. Also, keep bus numbers the same all week- changing the numbers at weekends is so confusing and crazy. Why? So, need weekend buses every 20 or 30 mins Kippax to Belco and return. Too easy, but they choose not to do it… Vanessa

Vanessa Jones 4:11 pm 14 Oct 16

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

Good to meet you on Twitter, Kent. It’s a huge debate. I think if we focus on the basics, ie not getting wet & getting bus shelters, and having weekend buses every 20 or 30 mins, life would improve for many, and the Canberra economy would improve- ie easier for me to get out on weekends and spend money on outings. Plus improved mental and physical health for all non drivers- by being more mobile and active, generally.

Vanessa Jones 4:06 pm 14 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

The best help for non drivers is bulk home delivery from supermarkets. Order heaps of everything every 2 months. Heaven!!!!! Saves carrying heavy loads home from shops. Once I ordered about 40 long life milk (for extras- I prefer fresh) and heaps of everything, included heaps of loo paper rolls- the delivery guy said “I thought this was for a childcare centre”!! It saves carrying heavy/bulky loads home. Getting 10 of everything at one time really helps. The internet has helped this happen. Mail order from overseas is great, ie free shipping with M&S was fun, with the weak pound- easier than local shopping, and cheaper. Also, a wheelie shopping trolley is great- I got one on ebay, like elderly people use. Vanessa

Vanessa Jones 3:59 pm 14 Oct 16

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

Vanessa Jones said :

Yes, agree. Problem is when you have to catch buses, ie rain, cold etc… so need shelters etc. Vanessa

Yep – I much prefer the old concrete with orange trim bus shelters – so much better than those new ones, which don’t give nearly as much “shelter” anyway. At least to me the old ones look better too. But hey, this is new Canberra – so out with the old and in with the new – whether it was needed or not.

They are still around.

Build new ones.

Vanessa Jones 3:58 pm 14 Oct 16

carnardly said :

the new clear glass/perspex shelters do nothing to protect anyone from the rain. The seat is usually totally soaked as well so nobody ever sits on it or puts their bag down when its raining.

totally useless design in protecting people from the elements, and like others above have said, a number have been replaced time and time again due to vandalism.

Bring back concrete bus shelters.

Vanessa Jones 3:57 pm 14 Oct 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Regarding the new bus shelters, apart from providing less protection from the elements, they also are very susceptible to vandalism. The one closest to us has had panes replaced at least half a dozen times since its creation. I quizzed the glazier when I spotted him fixing it as to why they didn’t use Lexan instead and was told that it burns substantially better so becomes a fire hazard. They were installing laminated safety glass to make the cleanup easier, but I doubt it will deter the perpetrators from trying.
They also allow the rain to blow straight in from the front and have a gap at the bottom, which allows wind to blow straight past your legs unimpeded. You’d be pushing the limits of personal space to seat more than four people on the bench too. Worst design ever.
One thing that annoys me the most about catching the bus is the scheduling. Apart from having only hourly services from the nearest stop at our place, meaning you may have to wait for up to 45 minutes for the next service, the next connection is probably another 15 minutes wait to catch the express. If you decide to catch the meandering suburban collector service to save you that 15 minute wait, it takes so long that you end up getting to the main station later than if you’d waited for the express.
I am very thankful my bus taking days are over now I am behind the wheel of a reliable car again, because I can not only get the kids to school on time AND make appointments scheduled shortly thereafter, but I won’t get wet, cold and miserable in the process.

miz said :

As a fellow bus user, totally agree with your points about rapid bus (to serve everyone), those useless new shelters (ad stands really), and the terrible weekend/after hours service. They were meant to reinstate the ‘old’ weekend timetable, in, I think, 2008. Still waiting.

Rapids are great, bring back concrete bus shelters, make weekend buses every 20 or 30 mins.

Maya123 3:32 pm 14 Oct 16

pink little birdie said :

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

I don’t get the grocery’s argument either. Sure the car is more convenient, but bringing the groceries home by other means is not, for most people, as difficult as some people have painted it to be for themselves. I have brought groceries home by bus, but I would rather get off at the local shops and get the groceries there and carry them home. The bicycle can also carry a lot of groceries, especially if the journey is longer. I once brought two dinner sets home on the bus and then carried them home. Instead of say, shopping weekly/fortnightly, smaller shops can be done too to lesson the load.
My elderly mother shops locally and then has the groceries delivered.

carnardly 3:19 pm 14 Oct 16

the new clear glass/perspex shelters do nothing to protect anyone from the rain. The seat is usually totally soaked as well so nobody ever sits on it or puts their bag down when its raining. totally useless design in protecting people from the elements, and like others above have said, a number have been replaced time and time again due to vandalism.

JC 12:28 pm 14 Oct 16

rommeldog56 said :

Vanessa Jones said :

Yes, agree. Problem is when you have to catch buses, ie rain, cold etc… so need shelters etc. Vanessa

Yep – I much prefer the old concrete with orange trim bus shelters – so much better than those new ones, which don’t give nearly as much “shelter” anyway. At least to me the old ones look better too. But hey, this is new Canberra – so out with the old and in with the new – whether it was needed or not.

They are still around.

pink little birdie 12:01 pm 14 Oct 16

KentFitch said :

Bravo, Vanessa Jones. The irony of this election (as a hitherto ALP/Green voter who thought he was “rusted on”), is that it is the ALP who are acting with born-to-rule arrogance indifferent to the needs of those outside their narrow inner circle.

From many comments extolling the benefits of the tram on those and other social media, the ALP/Greens are now representing those that have won life’s lottery, those for whom the inevitable reversal of fortunes cannot be imagined.

They cannot imagine what it must be like to haul 4 bags of groceries home from the bus stop in the rain, or how the lack of access to convenient transport can damage your dignity and reduce social and economic opportunities.

They have given up arguing against their own internally produced documents: the tram is no longer a transport solution, but part of progress towards a social utopia based on one spurious argument, that people prefer standing on a tram to sitting on a bus.

I’m really confused about the having to carry groceries home from the bus stop arguments.
When I was a kid there was a few periods when we didn’t have a car. So most nights people would either get off at the local shops and pick up a few groceries that were needed for the next day and walk the remainder 2 kms home with the groceries. On weekends my mum would take 2 (out of 4) and walk over for a bigger shop and again we would have to walk it home again with backpacks and bags in each hand.
Now my husband and I specifically choose a place that we could walk to work which also happens to be on the other side of a shopping centre – this means that we buy less becasue we carry it home and we buy what we are going to use in smaller but more frequent trips. I don’t really see how carrying groceries is an argument.

Also the majors now do grocery deliveries so I don’t think it’s as big an issue.
Surely also people have friends that would help out with driving if you needed it occasionally.
The community services organisations also provide driving services for the elderly and disabled.

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