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 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.”