More services, fewer stops: check out Canberra's new bus network
Advertisement

More services, fewer stops: check out Canberra's new bus network

Canberrans will walk farther and change buses more often in exchange for a faster, more frequent service, under a new bus network proposed by Transport Canberra.

Dedicated school stops will also be traded in most cases for more general services going past Canberra schools, while other routes have been cut to make way for more rapid buses.

Transport Canberra director general Duncan Edghill at the announcement of a new public transport network for Canberra on Monday.

Transport Canberra director general Duncan Edghill at the announcement of a new public transport network for Canberra on Monday. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The new bus network will go live next January, following the completion of the Gungahlin to Civic leg of light rail in December.

There will be 10 rapid routes, one more than originally planned, with services at least every 15 minutes along rapid transport corridors from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

Advertisement

The extra rapid route will connect Denman Prospect to the city, via Wright, Coombs and the inner south.

The new Rapid 5 will connect the whole Tuggeranong Valley from Lanyon, Calwell, and Erindale to Woden and the City via Barton every ten minutes or better during peak times.

Rapid 4, which travels between Lanyon, Woden and the City, will run as frequently as light rail – every six minutes or better – during peak time.

There will be 10 rapid routes including light rail.

There will be 10 rapid routes including light rail.

More than 55 per cent of Canberrans will live within walking distance of a rapid bus or light rail stop under the new network, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris says.

Currently only about 30 per cent of Canberrans live within 800 metres of a stop, she said.

The new seven-day week timetable will include more evening and weekend services, and Sunday and public holiday service times will be extended to 10pm.

There'll also be 30 per cent more bus trips past schools, rather than dedicated school buses, and students can get to school via the regular network.

Already nearly three in five kids who catch the bus to school use the regular network.

The new suburban services across Belconnen.

The new suburban services across Belconnen.

"I think what we’ve seen is where there have been dedicated school bus stops is if a school kid either misses that bus then there is no bus that will stop so this will significantly increases the number of buses travelling near or to our schools," Ms Fitzharris said.

"At the moment 80 per cent of kids going to school in Canberra go there by private motor car.

"Five per cent of primary school kids catch the bus to school and only 25 per cent of high school kids catch the bus to school. We’d love to make school bus travel to our local schools the norm here in Canberra."

Transport Canberra will bump up staff at its interchanges to ensure students get on the bus safely, Ms Fitzharris said.

If there is no bus that passes the school, a dedicated school bus will run.

However the trade-off is some bus services will no longer travel down the same street and there'll be fewer stops on some services.

The peak-hour Xpresso services have also been dumped to make way for the rapid routes.

Transport Canberra deputy director-general Duncan Edghill said they'd used population data and data from the MyWay ticketing system to determine which streets and stops were included in the new network.

He said the number of routes and coverage was "comparable" to the old network but they'd been able to increase the frequency through its design.

He said the new network, including the extra rapid bus route, would be delivered within Transport Canberra's existing budget.

“When we look at the network as a whole we think there are a tremendous amount of positives in the network. Of course for individuals with the changes to bus routes throughout Canberra there will be some people who have changed circumstances but fundamentally what we’re trying to do is attract people out of the motor vehicle and make our public transportation network something that’s more attractive to use," Mr Edghill said.

The government is considering introducing more flexible bus services for people who can't get to their closest stop.

It is also looking at providing a flexible bus service to the the jail, Calvary Hospital, the University of Canberra Public Hospital and Lawson, until the local road network is completed.

The new bus network planned for the western half of the inner north/Belconnen.

The new bus network planned for the western half of the inner north/Belconnen.

However the Canberra Liberals accused the government of "giving with one hand and taking away with the other".

"Direct services between the city and Belconnen suburbs are being slashed from eight to two. There will be no more direct services between the north side and the south side," transport spokeswoman Candice Burch said.

"People who are used to travelling from Tuggeranong or Woden directly to Belconnen will now have to change buses in the city. This will mean more waiting in the cold at bus interchanges on winter nights.

"Slashing the Xpresso services will mean longer journeys between town centres during peak hour and will put even more pressure on crowded interchanges. The city interchange could become an enormous bottleneck, making it more difficult for Canberra commuters."

Fares will not be increased as part of the new public transport network and Canberrans will be able to use their MyWay cards for light rail and buses.

Ms Fitzharris said they would introduce an integrated ticketing system next year that will likely be account-based so people can tap on through a card or their phone.

Have your say on the new bus network at yoursay.act.gov.au/rapid-bus-network until August 12.