27 August 2019

Woden and Tuggeranong not getting on board new transport network, data reveals

| Lachlan Roberts
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There has been a five per cent drop in weekday patronage on the new public transport network in Woden and Tuggeranong. File photo.

Despite more people boarding the new public transport network compared to last year, new data shows that fewer Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong residents are using the network.

The ACT Government has released data of average passenger numbers on Canberra’s public transport network from June 2018 to June 2019.

The data showed there has been a 12 per cent increase in weekday passenger numbers in Central Canberra and a 27 per cent increase in Gungahlin over the past year, but fewer people have caught public transport on weekdays in the Woden Valley (down 5 per cent), Tuggeranong (down 5 per cent) and Belconnen (down 2 per cent).

The new network has seen an overall increase in weekend bus patronage across the territory, with patronage up 27 per cent on Saturday and 39 per cent on Sunday.

Despite the drop in patronage in certain areas of Canberra, ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel said there had been an 11.3 per cent increase in boardings compared to this time last year.

“We have seen an increase in the number of people taking journeys on the network and more people using the network overall,” Mr Steel said. “In particular, we know that residents are flocking to the new rapid bus services that reach further into our suburbs.

“But the ACT Government also recognises that Canberrans living in different parts of our city need different things from our public transport network, and that is complex.”

Mr Steel said the ACT Government would continue to improve the network.

Mr Steel said the ACT Government had made over 100 tweaks to the network since it started in April and would continue to monitor the network.

ACT Greens Transport spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said that while it was clear that Network 19 had seen more patronage overall, some areas had done better than others.

“For example, Weston Creek was the one big winner out of the bus network changes. They now have a 15-minute service between Cooleman Court and Woden and as a result, patronage is up 9 per cent,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“What this tells us is that by making key improvements in our public transport network, you can get people out of their cars and onto public transport.

“The Greens will continue to encourage the Government to improve the public transport network in line with community feedback because we want to ensure that reliable services are available, seven days a week.”

Canberra Liberals spokesperson Mark Parton said people in the outlying suburbs in Tuggeranong were feeling let down by the ACT Government’s new network.

“They are absolutely ropeable over the disdain that has been shown to them in regards to the bus network changes,” Mr Parton said. “Lives have genuinely been changed because some people now find themselves confined to their home because it is too difficult to get out.

“People have been left stranded.”

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The R4 busses to and from Tuggeranong need to do the loop via the length of Athllon Drive before arriving to /after leaving Tuggeranong Bus Interchange. This will encourage more bus passengers especially those that drive to work at the many businesses, government agencies along Athllon Drive and in the streets south of South.Point.

A 39% increase on Sundays when bus drivers only turn up if they feel like it? The propaganda gets less believable by the week.

Queanbeyanite7:24 pm 29 Aug 19

Queanbeyan 833 takes 20 mins to Civic, 830 takes 20 min to Kingston, marvellous service since 1994. Didn’t cost $750 million either.

Once again, how can anyone say that overall patronage is up based only on boardings?

One thing that has become quite evident in Wanniassa is that the 72/73 bus route which is supposed to connect local shopping centres in the northern side of the Tuggeranong valley excludes the Wanniassa shopping centre. The route connects the Tuggeranong and Erindale centres via Oxley, and its buses get to within about a kilometre of the Wanniassa shopping centre — but there they remain. I imagine shop-owners (including a Coles supermarket) are not too happy at being left out like this — if you want to shop in Wanniassa you have to take your car because the bus that’s supposed to get you there won’t…. Maybe this particular local bus route would attract more passengers if it served a more useful purpose.

The Wanniassa loop bus doesn’t even go to the Wanniassa shops – it passes 500m away past ovals where no-one is waiting. I’m surprised Coles hasn’t objected as the bus only goes to Woolies at Erindale. It would be easy to reroute it up Athllon Drive and back past the shops and would only add 1 minute at the most to the trip.

Ngunnawal to Belconnen journey time by car = 18 minutes.
Ngunnawal to Belconnen journey time by bus = 50minutes.
Which form of transport do you think I’ll use for that journey? Especially when on two occasions the R28 bus, Casey – Ngunnawal – Gungahlin didn’t turn up.

michael quirk8:19 am 29 Aug 19

It is not surprising patronage in Canberra Central and Gungahlin has increased as a consequence of the introduction of light rail and strong population growth in these locations. The increased patronage in Weston Creek is a result of improved bus services while the declines in Woden, Tuggeranong and Belconnen reflect a poorer bus service.
The government needs to urgently reassess its public transport priorities to ensure the best use of available funds. In particular it should review whether its commitment to extending light rail to Woden could limit improvements to the overall bus network and assess whether bus rapid transport could be a more effective use of limited funds.
The government should also provide figures on peak hour car use to give a fuller picture of how well the growth of our city is being managed. If congestion is increasing,even from Gungahlin which has benefited from the gold-plated light rail, then policies related to employment location should be explored. The government has failed to undertake rigorous land use/transport assessment with its urban strategy largely confined to increasing density along current and proposed light rail routes, which at best, is only a partial solution.

Overall increase in patronage over 10% is an improvement in service. The weekend statistics are very good. Overall, usage is up. However many outer suburbs haven’t seen the same result. It’s a difficult balance to achieve.In some areas of the inner south, there has been a much better service to Civic but not so good to Woden. Airport services is very good. Frequency of services around a lot of areas has improved significantly through the Rapid network. I don’t think using this as a stick to beat the current Government is a rational approach. The Liberal opposition hasn’t put forward any meaningful transport policy.

Quicker to drive to sydney than to go across town and back.

HiddenDragon6:49 pm 28 Aug 19

Whatever the carefully curated transport statistics show (or don’t show), they will doubtless serve as an excuse for further increases in parking fees, reductions in (public) parking spaces and/or increased restrictions in terms of time limits – all in order to “encourage” more of the recalcitrants to embrace the fabulous new bus and tram network.

It now takes 90 mins to Fyswick every morning from Macarthur Ave, up from about 40 minutes. Ever since I remember (1982) there has been a bus from civic to fyshy, but no more they expect us to sit on a bus for 70 mins via Red hill and compared to the old logical route next to no one is using it. The rapid R2 stays on CBR Ave to COC and doesn’t serve the place at all (A large employment hub). It’s TOTALLY CLEAR the government doesn’t even acknowledge the needs of private sector commuters, so cliquey are they and their public servants. Can anyone imagine this in an actual real and diverse city? The mentality I am referring to is also why Mitchell is also not accessible by bus from the south (as has always been the case) NO RESPECT shown to workers outside of the bubble. Snobbery at its finest.

Travel from Civic to Fyshwick doesn’t take 70 minutes. if you are travelling to any of the streets within walking distance from Canberra Ave (e.g. Geelong St, Yallourn, Ipswich, Wiluna, Lithgow etc) it will take about 20 minutes on the R2 which is a much more frequent service than the previous 80. It also provides later services in the evening than the 80 did. If you are travelling to any of the streets further into Fyshwick, such as Gladstone, Isa or Newcastle, then the best way to get there is an R2 to Fyshwick Mail exchange, then change to a 56. This takes all up about 40 minutes, not 70. No one is expecting you to travel all around Red Hill on the 56.

After the bus timetable changes it now takes a change of buses and an hour for my son to get to college. Each way.

So he went out and bought himself a motorcycle just to get to and from college.

A week after getting the motorcycle he took a corner badly and came off, damaging the motorcycle, but fortunately not himself.

If there had not been these badly planned changes to the bus timetables, inexperienced drivers/riders would not be compelled to seek alternative ways of getting to school/college.

Stephen Saunders12:57 pm 28 Aug 19

Never be afraid of the obvious. The numbers say clearly that punters like trams. Could you have got near that 27% hike, by fiddling bus schedules? Nope.

In 1985, Canberra transit had 25m trips a year. Now, with nearly 2x population, it’s about 18m. Can you even get back to the 25m, mainly using buses. Nope.

Interesting comment from Ms Le Couteur. Does she realise the Greens are a part of this government and therefore a party to the new network?

No surprise here. You reduce the services, you get fewer people using it. Elementary my dear Watson.

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