Canberra's ACTION bus services will be boosted by more than 300 daily trips as part of the latest changes announced by the ACT government.
Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said improvements as part of the Network 14 plan would come into effect from September 1, resulting in a nearly 10 per cent increase to 3400 standard weekday trips.
Saturday services will be boosted by about 170 trips and a further 191 will be added to Sunday timetables, an increase of 30 per cent.
Mr Rattenbury said areas including Gungahlin, Tuggeranong, Weston, Molonglo, West Macgregor and Majura Park would benefit as part of the new weekend timetables, while services to the National Arboretum would increase.
“A number of areas of Canberra will have enhanced services including Molonglo, Gungahlin, Weston Creek, the Parliamentary Triangle, Hume, Brindabella Park and Majura Park and there will also be greater alignment between the weekday and weekend services," Mr Rattenbury said.
An advertising campaign explaining the changes will get under way on August 18, with information on board buses and posted at passenger stops and bus stations.
Radio, print and online advertising will also take place and ACTION staff will be available to discuss service changes with passengers. Its website will carry new timetables and route maps from next month and printed material will be available.
School students will receive information on special services from August 4, giving them four weeks to prepare for the changes.
Mr Rattenbury said passengers would see more direct routes, better connections and increased frequencies.
“The new network will be the highlight of wide-ranging improvements the ACT government is making to public transport in coming months,'' he said.
“A number of infrastructure upgrades are also nearing completion including the dedicated bus lane on Canberra Avenue, the Park and Ride facility in Fyshwick and the Bike and Ride facility in Kippax.”
Patronage data from the MyWay ticketing system was used in planing the changes the first time, as well as information from more than 2300 pieces of correspondence received during a community consultation process late last year.
"ACTION’s real-time information system, NXTBUS, is also expected to go live in time for Network 14 to make it easier for people to track their bus," Mr Rattenbury said.
On Tuesday the government unveiled the first of 77 new Scania Euro 6 low-emission buses for Canberra.
The $460,000 vehicle is already in circulation on the public transport network and seven others are being modified before begining operations.
More than 14.5 million passengers have boarded ACTION buses since July last year, with patronage so far this year peaking in March. That month there were 1,652,281 boardings.
An average of 70,000 boardings take place each weekday, while 16,000 take place per day on weekends.
So far this year ACTION services have achieved performance rates of more than 99.1 per cent.
Mr Rattenbury conceded more Canberrans should use public transport, citing reputational issues and outdated impressions of the bus network.