ACT News

ACTION misses all performance targets but slowly improving

ACTION Buses failed to meet every performance target in the past year including arriving on time and performing below cost, despite showing improvement across the board.

The budget for Canberra's bus service blew out by $11 million in 2013-14, according to the most recent Territory and Municipal Services annual report.

But ACT director of public transport James Roncon said the report was just a "snapshot in time" and ACTION's new Network 14 service was improving passenger numbers and running times.

ACTION was allocated $133 million by the ACT government budget but costs grew by eight per cent over the past year. in 2012-13, they went over budget by five per cent.

Canberra's bus system also failed to achieve their 75 per cent timeliness targets for the second year in a row, with 71 per cent of services operating on the scheduled times. This was an improvement on 2012-13 when 68 per cent of services arrived on time.

The annual report attributed the shortfall to the delayed introduction of the new Network 14 timetable which was designed to rectify a number of timing issues.

The blowout in ACTION's budget and decreased passenger numbers led the service to also miss its operating cost targets, both on a per kilometre and a per passenger basis.

In 2013-14, Canberra's bus service spent $7.96 per passenger boarding, 13 per cent above their proposed target of $7.04, as well as missing their target of $4.65 per network kilometre by six per cent.

Both of these indicators were well above the previous year, where ACTION also exceeded their per passenger operating costs of $6.43 by 11 per cent.

Fare revenue also fell short in the past year, due to a shortfall in patronage numbers.

Finally a delay in the delivery of new buses for the ACTION fleet has also caused the service to miss its targets on disability access compliance and emission standards.

Director of public transport Mr Roncon said the service's new Network 14 had already addressed a number of problems, while the budgetary blowout had been due to workers compensation premium increases and an unexpected devaluation of ACTION's assets.

He said despite only being in place for just over a month, Network 14 had already seen an increase in on-time running and an growth in patronage for ACTION.

"We'll see some significant improvement in on-time running over the next few months and into the future. I'd be really disappointed if we didn't meet and exceed our performance target [in 2014-15]," he said.