ACT News


Canberra Airport public transport service to start March 20

The main driver and manager of Canberra Airport's express shuttle bus says he had no idea the ACT government would soon be introducing public transport to the terminal.

The Canberra Times broke the news to David Wischer on Thursday afternoon after Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris revealed the new service in a Legislative Assembly committee.

Ms Fitzharris said public buses would begin running to the airport on March 20.

The route 11 bus will have 32 city-airport services each way on weekdays from 6.26am to 9.11pm. Return trips will run from 6.48am to 9.40pm.

The bus will run 13 times on Saturday and 12 times on Sunday and public holidays.


The private shuttle operates 12 times each way on weekdays and 10 times on weekends.

Currently on holiday in Melbourne, Mr Wischer, who runs the express shuttle operated by Royale, said he was "gobsmacked" to hear the news.

A phone call to Royale also found the receptionist was unaware.

Asked if the express bus would continue after March 20, Mr Wischer said "it's dead in the water", although it could possibly be reconfigured as a hotel transfer service.

"I'm shocked and dismayed," he said, adding that three jobs could be lost.

Mr Wischer said the express shuttle had struggled with a lack of signage at the airport.

"Uber has got a sign and we don't," he said.

The committee this morning heard signs will be installed at the terminal to inform arriving passengers of public transport and the bus will stop close to the main entrance.

Timetables show the journey taking 15 to 19 minutes, slightly faster than the shuttle, which stops at the YHA and National Convention Centre.

"The government doesn't even realise we exist, I think," Mr Wischer said.

"There's been no warning at all. I've heard people on radio saying 'why isn't there a public bus service to the airport?'.

"Well there is; we cost $12 and we give a really good service."

Public transport advocates however, have welcomed the introduction of government buses.

"It has been one of the great mysteries of Canberra why there has not been public transport to and from the Canberra Airport terminal," David Johnston said.

"Some bus services currently go tantalisingly close to the airport, but still leave a good walk for public transport users.

"Most cities have had public transport to their airports for many years now and these services are in the main well patronised, as I am sure the new service here will be."

Mr Johnston said modifying route 11 was a good choice.

"The timetable also looks good for a new service and I am pleased to see that MyWay and standard fares will apply," he said.

"It is also good that the new service will have wheelchair access for the disabled. This has been a big gap with the existing private shuttle."

Mr Johnston said more improvements to the wider network were needed.

"It's great to be able to commence this new bus service so people have another option about how they travel to and from Canberra Airport," Ms Fitzharris said in a statement.

"Customers will be able to take public transport from the city to the Canberra Airport, with services running about every half hour, better during peak times on weekdays, and every hour on weekends.

"Canberra Airport plays an important role in our city's economy, and this service is being implemented following talks with the Canberra Airport and feedback from the community."

The government had previously committed to introduce the airport service by 2020.

"It's great we have been able to introduce a public transport link to the airport early, and this service will operate until such a time that a Rapid Bus to Canberra Airport is introduced," Ms Fitzharris said.

"This is another example of the ACT Government's commitment to providing accessible and attractive public transport options for the ACT."

Canberra Airport also welcomed the government's move.

"This will increase the transport offering for airport passengers, in addition to taxi services and Uber ride sharing," managing director Stephen Byron said.

"Airport passengers have been well serviced by the Airport Express shuttle service run by Royale since September 2011.

"Royale has been very generous in providing this service, and we express our gratitude to them for complementing the airport's transport offerings.

"The decision by Transport Canberra will be particularly welcomed by our low-cost carrier passengers, who will be well serviced for departures and arrivals."


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