ACT News

Pay parking moves Canberrans to board the bus

Pay parking in the parliamentary triangle appears to be achieving what successive ACT governments haven't been able to: an increasing number of Canberrans are abandoning their cars to catch the bus to work.

According to statistics released by Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury, an additional 1500 passenger trips to and from the parliamentary zone have been recorded on ACTION buses each week day since October 13.

An additional 1500 passenger trips to and from the parliamentary zone have been recorded on ACTION buses.
An additional 1500 passenger trips to and from the parliamentary zone have been recorded on ACTION buses. 

An average of 5122 Canberrans caught the bus to and from work in the parliamentary zone each day since the beginning of the school term, an increase of 43 per cent on August figures.

During the first week of pay parking, the number of trips to and from the area each day increased by 797, with an average 4387 average trips per day.

Mr Rattenbury said he was pleased to see more Canberrans boarding buses as pay parking comes into effect in Parkes, Barton, Russell and Acton.

"There have been a range of improvements to ACTION in recent times, with new buses, the introduction of NXTBUS and upgrades to a number of bus stops," he said.

"For those who haven't given it a go yet, I would really encourage them to try it out"

The figures also reveal a marginal increase in passengers travelling to and from the parliamentary triangle since the introduction of the Network 14 bus route on September 1, despite criticisms from community groups in Weston Creek.

In September, 3778 people travelled to work in the area each day, which was an increase of 189 passengers each day compared with August figures.

New routes and services introduced as part of Network 14 program see an additional 602 trips through the area each day, in addition to the existing 400 services that travel on Commonwealth Avenue, including servicing several of the major national institutions.

While more Canberrans are now choosing to take the bus to work, more canny public servants have sought to capitalise on free parking on the fringes of the triangle,  even makeshift parks near the Canberra yacht club.

Mr Rattenbury last week released a report recommending the permanent implementation of $1 fares for travel commencing before 7.30am.

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe used MyWay travel data presented to the Legislative Assembly to question the recommendation, following a trial in May and June.

Mr Coe said travel data did not show more people use buses with discounted fares, but rather passengers moved their travel to earlier buses. 

"Compared to 2013, 21,000 fewer people took ACTION during the period that $1 fares were on offer," Mr Coe said.

"If the objective was to shift passengers on to earlier buses, the $1 fares appear to have been a success. If the objective was to attract new bus users, the $1 fares have not succeeded.

Mr Coe said better frequency, routes and reliability were needed to encourage more Canberrans to use bus services. 

The first results from the eight-week trial showed passenger numbers before 7.30am increased by an average of 1500 boardings each week. 

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