ACTION will be assessing new types of buses, including hybrid and possibly hydrogen-powered, to replace its ageing Canberra fleet in the years ahead, and funds have been set aside for an additional light rail stop on Flemington Road.
A capital provision of $4.8 million has been set aside for the new light rail stop after fierce lobbying by Mitchell traders.
The oldest vehicles in the ACTION fleet will be progressively replaced, with 12 new buses to hit the road in the next six months and 24 to be delivered each year in the following three years.
Two years ago funds were provided for ACTION to increase the size of its fleet by 80 buses specifically catering for the limited stop rapid routes.
Of these, 40 have been brought into service and the remaining 40 are under tender with the intention of getting these buses into the network by the end of 2019.
A trial of three electric buses across the network has finished, the vehicles returned, and the results are being assessed now.
Early reports are mixed, suggesting that electric buses were challenging for the network given the lengthy recharging times and the lack of suitable fast-charging facilities in the depots.
ACTION operates a fleet of 454 buses across its network and the focus of the replacement program will be on those vehicles which are not compliant with the latest emissions requirements, use too much diesel, nor provide appropriate disability access.
The joint venture ActewAGL - Neoen public hydrogen refuelling station in Fyshwick opens up the potential for fuel cell technology to power the city's future bus fleet.
This would link with the government's broad strategic objective of Canberra becoming a net zero emission city under its zero emissions action plan for 2018-2021.
The complication with switching to hydrogen is the high entry-level cost of a fuel cell bus. This prevents ACTION from hitting its bus replacement fleet targets.
Action's flexible bus service has been funded for the next financial year but not in future years.
Work on a single integrated ticketing system for bus and light rail continues, with $450,000 allocated to replace MyWay.
A Federal Labor government had pledged $200 million to support the second stage of Canberra's light rail but this was not matched by the re-elected Coalition government.
With the second stage of light rail from the city to Woden, the brakes have gone on the proposed big-spending program to build a new bus-rail interchange at the terminal.
Design work is continuing on the Woden interchange, with $3 million put aside over the next two years.
Investment is continuing in free park and ride, with a 200-vehicle car park set up at the junction of Flemington Road and Well Station Drive, Mitchell.