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Government gives way on school bus routes in new network

By Ian Bushnell 20 September 2018 16

Changes to the proposed new Network will be announced next month.

More dedicated school bus routes will be retained in the new Bus Network after a backlash from parents and schools about the proposed changes.

The changes to school services, including the scrapping of many dedicated routes, safety at interchanges, and the removal of Xpresso services emerged as the main sticking points to Transport Canberra’s proposed new Bus Network during community consultation.

The Listening Report released today (20 September) from the public consultation conducted from June to August this year says people did not feel they had enough information about the changes to the school bus system, which was to involve  the scrapping of many dedicated school routes in favour of more general routes past schools.

But Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the Government had heard people’s concerns and Transport Canberra would be restoring many of the school routes that were to be dropped.

People were also concerned about safety particularly involving more bus transfers at interchanges. Respondents said they wanted to feel safe when using public transport, and that they wanted Transport Canberra to ensure students were safe on public transport, when changing buses and when travelling between schools grounds and bus stops.

Respondents said they wanted to know more about how the new school bus system would work work.

Transport Canberra has said it will deploy more staff at interchanges to supervise bus transfers and ensure safety.

Commuters were also concerned the removal of single-seat crosstown Xpresso services will make travel times longer.

Weston Creek residents, in particular, have been upset by the proposed scrapping of the popular Xpressos that enable a fast, single service ride to the city.

Commuters face transferring at Cooleman Court, which will virtually become a new interchange, to the new Rapid services to the City and Woden.

The Listening Report says commuters are happy about getting more frequent services that run longer into the evening and on weekends, but there were many comments about changes to individual services, specific routes, journeys and stop locations.

The Listening Report was based on more than 13,000 pieces of feedback over the two-month consultation period, and after more detailed analysis Transport Canberra will next month make changes to the network and release map routes and timetable advice to commuters as well as a full post-consultation report.

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said bus users’ concerns had been heard and there would be changes but not everybody’s wishes could be met.

“From this consultation, we heard people support more frequent buses and services that run into the evenings and on weekends. They told us they want to feel safe when using public transport and had questions about some students having to change buses on their way to school. People said they want more information on how the buses will run and an improved journey planner,” she said.

“My message to people is that we have heard your concerns and we are making changes to help ensure the network works for as many people as possible. While we can’t make changes to everything, we will do our best to balance the different views of existing users while developing a network which will attract new users.”

Ms Fitzharris said full details of the changes will be announced in October, with ongoing discussions with a number of groups.

“Once the new timetables are released later this year, Transport Canberra will embark on an education campaign to inform the community about the changes and how to plan their routes and access public transport ahead of the new network launch in early 2019,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“As the new network is introduced we will continue to monitor feedback to help Canberrans use the new network.”

The Minister said that only 4 per cent of trips around Canberra are on public transport, compared to 78 per cent in private vehicles.

“Currently only 8 per cent of people are using our buses and this needs to change. Our new bus network will be designed to encourage greater public transport use as our city grows,” she said.

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15 Responses to
Government gives way on school bus routes in new network
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Amanda Adams 5:40 pm 20 Sep 18

Why not find out what us needed first before upsetting all that may be affected by changing ,routes .someone has a lot to answer for, and isn’t taking on ,any info of what’s needed. Maybe they need to do more research, before upsetting community s and then maybe they can earn the income they get 😢😢😡

bj_ACT 4:48 pm 20 Sep 18

Good to hear they are looking into the Bus routing through Coleman Court for Weston Creek residents. But as mentioned here previously, Kambah commuters from the Kambah Village park and ride will have an extra 13 Stops to Woden as they wind their way through Chapman, Fisher, Warramanga, Stirling and Cooleman Court before changing to Woden.

Previously these Residents had one stop and straight up the Tuggeranong parkway to Woden.

Surely if the government are going to review the re-design for Weston Creek residents they will address the Kambah residents who have it even worse under the new Bus system proposal?

Peter Starun 2:52 pm 20 Sep 18

I at least hope the Tram drivers are vaguely more friendly than most of the cranky, rude bus drivers.

Louis Sotiropoulos 2:39 pm 20 Sep 18

Nothing but hopeless as usual

Jason Presti 2:19 pm 20 Sep 18

How hard is it to run a bus network in canberra. Let's face it, if this is your job sack yourself. Canberra would have to be the easiest city in the world.

    Tim Cole 2:25 pm 20 Sep 18

    Actually it's the total opposite. We're only a city of 400,000 people, spread over a distance over 40km (North-South). Providing any sort of meaningful service to a sparse population requires a lot more resources and planning than if it was in a space quarter of the size.

    Kate Cuthbert 3:36 pm 20 Sep 18

    Tim Cole And the cost too. Ours is government funded, I don't think people realise that. Look at the cost for the Qbn buses

    Mary Kingsford 5:21 pm 20 Sep 18

    NSW school children travel on buses for free. ACT school children pay, each bus they travel on.

Trish Roberts 2:01 pm 20 Sep 18

Conditional “Like”. Will haveto wait and see.

Tim Cole 1:57 pm 20 Sep 18

Listening to the muppet on ABC Radio this morning suggested that some of the school routes will be reinstated. She was a lot more non-committal towards running the Xpresso services.

I agree with the general concept of running a core rapid network with feeder services, but not at the expense of peak express routes and providing Tuggeranong a direct service to Civic.

Aldith Graves 1:32 pm 20 Sep 18

We will wait to see what happens next

Denise Smith 1:31 pm 20 Sep 18

Which school services will remain?

Jon Ratcliffe 1:18 pm 20 Sep 18

The coolo interchange plan is completely stupid. Nobody in peak is going there as a final destination. Will add on at least 20 mins each way.

Jenni Zimoch 1:13 pm 20 Sep 18

But if it's going to take longer to get to Civic (for example ) from Tuggeranong and back home again, adding another hour or so a day traveling time,more people will be driving.

Not catching buses.

    Chele Forest 4:42 pm 20 Sep 18

    They plan to make the bus network more efficient by installing traffic 'control' measures (such as islands next to a bus stop so no car can pass while the bus is stopped - see drake brockman) that significantly reduce the speed at which a car can get from point a to point b. That way, although the bus still takes an hour to get from one end of your suburb to the other, car travel time for the same distance will be held hostage by buses and will actually be longer.

    That way they don't have to improve the bus network just make alternative travel less efficient. Genius.

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