Shane Rattenbury rules out light rail between Queanbeyan and Canberra

Shane Rattenbury rules out light rail between Queanbeyan and Canberra

A light rail line between Queanbeyan and the ACT has been ruled out until a Canberra-wide network is complete.

While the ACT government was still working on a master plan for a light rail network, any extension into Queanbeyan would be after a Canberra-wide rollout, and subject to NSW or federal government funding, said the ACT minister assisting the Chief Minister on transport reform, Shane Rattenbury.

An artist's impression of the proposed Capital Metro light rail.

An artist's impression of the proposed Capital Metro light rail.

While Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall said a light rail line between Queanbeyan and Canberra would be "absolutely" supported by Queanbeyan City Council, there had been no discussion on the issue.


More than half of Queanbeyan's working population – or 13,144 residents – travel outside the city, mainly to Canberra, for work.

However, a bus from Queanbeyan to Canberra costs more than a full day's parking fee in central locations in the national capital.

Queanbeyan residents commuting to their neighbouring city are being slugged $14.40 for a return ticket on a bus, with Canberrans paying almost $10 less to travel similar distances within the ACT.

A MyWay bus fare with Action buses costs $5.82 for a return journey, and a cash fare can be bought at a cost of $8.80 return.

A spokesman for Queanbeyan bus line QCity Transit, formerly Deane's Buslines, said their services carried about 600 adults and 4500 schoolchildren between NSW and the ACT on a normal weekday.

"Decisions relating to services, regulation, fares and infrastructure are matters for the respective governments, including consultation under the framework for cross border arrangements," a spokesman said.

Cr Overall said the Queanbeyan City Council had not considered subsidising the public transport arrangement.

"For a council to subsidise public transport it would have to consider being the owner/operator of the services or go to public tender for a subsidised service," he said.

However, Cr Overall said if the ACT or NSW governments committed to funding 90 per cent of a Queanbeyan to the City light rail project, he would champion the case.

He said the corridor could extend 12 kilometres from Queanbeyan city past the airport to Canberra, about the same distance as Capital Metro stage one.

Passing the airport would add plenty of passengers, with the Canberra Airport's light rail case stating 30,000 people a day travel to and from the airport, and those numbers are expected to double within the next decade.

Mr Rattenbury said cross border transport issues were difficult to tackle.

He said recent improvements – including dedicated bus lanes along Canberra Avenue and new park and ride facilities at Fyshwick – had enhanced the commute.

Kimberley Le Lievre is the Editor of The Sunday Canberra Times

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