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Would you take a bus if it were ‘free’?

By rosebud - 13 October 2008 63

What if every ACT holder of a driver’s licence was required to pay a small public transport fee in order to renew their licence?

What if every person who paid this tax was then given a bus pass that was integrated into their licence card that allowed them to ride for free?

Would that get more people out of their cars and onto public transport?

I mean, if you have already paid for it, don’t you have a greater motivation to then use it?


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63 Responses to
Would you take a bus if it were ‘free’?
Deano 12:29 pm 13 Oct 08

PsydFX said :

PsydFX said :

The only way to make people catch busses in Canberra is to pay us all considerably less so that owning and running becomes financially impossible.

owning and running a car that is.

I would argue the opposite. You pretty much have to own a car – try catching the bus to Bunnings on the weekend via the kids soccer match, or doing the weekly shopping etc.

Owning a car currently involves a considerable fixed cost – registration, insurance, depreciation. The less it is driven, the more it costs per kilometre, or conversely the more it is used the lower the cost. It therefore doesn’t make sense to own a car (which is a necessity) and then not use it. If you want people to use buses instead of cars you need to reduce the cost of leaving the car in the garage.

deye 12:17 pm 13 Oct 08

It’s not the cost keeping people away it’s the sucky service.

PsydFX 11:56 am 13 Oct 08

Here’s a nice green policy for you all that could potentially annoy enough people forcing them to consider either car-pooling or public transport.

More Transit 2 Lanes.
Make a lane of the Parkway T2, a lane on Monaro Hwy T2, make another lane on Adelaide Ave T2 and then police it.

Make it so inconveniet for single car commuters that they are forced to reconsider their travel habits.

simbo 11:50 am 13 Oct 08

It’s interesting – I rode the bus on a regular basis back in 96 or so when there was a driver’s strike (which DIDN’T mean they didn’t drive – instead they just didn’t collect fares!)

However – at that point I was working in Civic. One bus trip only.

For any combination other than that… the bus is essentially useless/awkward/time-consuming. If you work in Civic and live on a bus route that can take you directly to civic … frankly, I dunno why you’re paying for carparking instead, you must be insane!

PM 11:48 am 13 Oct 08

The intertown routes are more or less the onlt part of ACTION that make any money.

If light rail is implemented between the town centres (as is being spoken about), and the buses were to continue to operate as “feeders” into the town cente interchanges, you might actually have a situation where the buses would operate at a loss anyway. If that were to occur, you’d need to re-evaluate whether it’s worth collecting fares on buses given the overheads.

OliverCromwell 11:46 am 13 Oct 08

The cost isn’t the main reason people don’t use busses.
The gratuitous waste of time is the reason people don’t use busses.
Around the peak times it’s not unusual to have 3 or 4 busses (intertown route) drive straight past without stopping.
They’re almost always overcrowded.

What’s worse though is when you’re relying on non-intertown bus that’s coming once on the half hour or hour, and one of the following two things happens:
A: the bus is full (happened to me with the 30 from the city around 6pm – oh joy! Add half an hour onto what’s already a longer journey then by car)

B: arrives early
Busses running late are an annoyance, but the way busses run early is obscene.
It isn’t at all unusual for any bus after around 6:30pm to be running as much as 10 minutes early which means needing to waste yet more time by allowing for +/- 5-10 minutes for the time you need to be at the bus stop to catch the damn thing.

Going on the 30 to Belconnen, I remember a few times where the driver was speeding ridiculously, not only being 10 minutes early, but tearing along Baldwin Dr and down the hill across Gininderra Dr at what has to have been 100 km/h.

It isn’t usually the case that busses don’t arrive – when people complain of this it seems to usually be the case that the bus was running ahead of schedule and arrived before they did.

Now for me as a student at ANU, there isn’t much point to driving to uni as there’s no where to friggin park but for professionals working in and around city whose time is worth $30+ an hour, you’d need to be paying them to get them to take the bus.

Bluebelle 11:45 am 13 Oct 08

ACTION needs to do some marketing..make its ticketing discounts more worthwile… give out 1 week free trial tickets…I started catching the bus 3 months to drive is an inconveniece…the 701 from Spence to the City is very social, great way to meet people..I have also read 2 novels and arrive home relaxed. Not to mention no hassles parking and watching what I drink and after work drinks.

harvyk1 11:44 am 13 Oct 08

Despite what people may think backed on some of my previous posts, I don’t think that a free bus is the answer. Getting buses to go frequently, come on time, and take a somewhat non scenic route is the answer. Not free buses.

Making parking in the city a nightmare is not the answer either.

PsydFX 11:36 am 13 Oct 08

PsydFX said :

The only way to make people catch busses in Canberra is to pay us all considerably less so that owning and running becomes financially impossible.

owning and running a car that is.

PsydFX 11:34 am 13 Oct 08

I think that makes no sense, why would you penalise the people who are incapable / can’t afford to get thier drivers licenses – i.e. the people who usually depend of busses?

The fact of the matter is, as I have said before, Canberrans on average are the best paid in Australia, and most of us prefer the convenience a car gives us regardless of fuel or parking prices. On top of that most of us don’t like catching busses because they are moving germ factories, and most us feel uncomforatble sitting next to smackies and space invaders.

The only way to make people catch busses in Canberra is to pay us all considerably less so that owning and running becomes financially impossible.

This is such a dead political issue.

jessieduck 11:34 am 13 Oct 08

Interesting idea. I’d support it but I don’t have a licence so I catch the bus anyways.

I think they should trial free rides for certain times of the day to increase numbers on quieter services (ie, before 7.30am, after 7pm) I could see a lot of people getting used to going to work for free and then paying the $3 to get home in a peak service.

PBO 11:34 am 13 Oct 08

A great idea, but it would eventually fail as pre paying for something will initially work, but over time with the assumed public interest the pre paid quotient would eventually run out causing fares to be raised. Added to this the costs of maintenance and whatever mysterious charges the transport union would come up with would undermine the program in about six months. Plus rising petrol costs, workers pay etc etc etc……..

Sands 11:31 am 13 Oct 08

so you pay a (small) fee to use the buses, AND you pay for your registration. Why wouldn’t you drive again? It would just be another useless tax. Include free buses in your car registration and maybe.

astrojax 11:30 am 13 Oct 08

i would certainly catch the bus if it was free – if it went (more or less) when i needed it to… getting to work isn’t an issue, it’s getting home when i work later than core hours (like, almost always) from the parl triangle… but i’m guessing that increased use would likley increase services and it would snowball into a useful ‘service’ like it oughta be.

i’d be in that.

Cameron 11:26 am 13 Oct 08

Interesting idea, but the cost isn’t what is keeping me from catching a bus. I need a car to visit clients during the day.

So as someone who hasn’t caught a bus since high school, I wouldn’t really be a fan of the idea.

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