Monday, June 6, 2016

Weston Creek direct bus service and free City Loop bus services announced


Public transport will be a key Assembly election subject and the ACT Government are getting in early by announcing a range of measures to improve bus services for all parts of Canberra. This is in addition to the Capital Metro Stage One light rail (that has already commenced construction) that will when it begins operation in 2019, free up one million bus kilometres that can be used to improve bus services in other parts of Canberra.

Today the Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the Minister for Transport and Municipal Services Meegan Fitzharris announced the following transport improvements for Canberra's bus network:
  •  a free City Loop bus service for commuters travelling in Canberra’s CBD;
  • $10 million over two years for 20 new buses as part of the ongoing fleet replacement program;
  • $3.5 million over four years for improvements to public transport services in Weston Creek and the Molonglo region. 
  • A new all-day direct service called the Weston Line providing improved connectivity between Woden, Cooleman Court in Weston and the City.  
  • increased bus coverage and frequency in Wright
  • Route 83 and Xpresso 783 services will be extended to include Coombs
  • $1.5 million for the design and construction of a new Park and Ride facility in Wanniassa;
  • $300,000 for improvements to the Woden bus interchange to provide a better bus station for the Woden town centre;
  • $900,000 for a 12-month trial of up to three electric buses on regular on- and off-peak route services; and
  • $775,000 for the design of a new bus depot in Woden to cater for growth in the bus fleet and meet the future needs of bus transport in the ACT.  
These are significant improvements to the public transport network and build upon upgrades in services and fleet modernisation that have been underway for some time. These improvements to a bus service that has been experiencing a  decline in patronage are important.

It is widely expected that when Capital Metro commences services that bus patronage will also rise. This has been the experience in other places where light rail has been introduced (on the Gold Coast bus services saw a 22% rise in patronage after light rail started operations). Our bus fleet must not only be able to cope with an increase in patronage, but offer a compellingly pleasant alternative for people to continue to chose public transport as their primary mode of travel to and from work.

A bus only public transport network, as the Canberra Liberals would prefer, is not the best way for Canberra to progress as we are simply to large and are continuing to grow, but it is important that we make our buses operate as efficiently and attractively as possible. Buses will always be a vital part of an integrated transport network that has light rail as its primary mass transit backbone, more frequent local bus services, a strong active travel (cycling and walking) focus and ample Park and Ride facilities.

free City Loop bus service route
Weston Line and Molonglo services
video
WIN TV Canberra covered the announcement here
video
ABC TV Canberra covered the announcement here

The Canberra Times reported on the announcement here and followed up in its next edition with this editorial praising the move.

ABC Online covered the announcement here.

Full media release below.




The full media release from 6 June 2016 can be found here.

More funding to build a better public transport network for CBR

The ACT Government is continuing to build an integrated, city wide transport network with a $17 million investment in the ACT Budget 2016-17 for new transport services, including $10 million for 20 new buses.
The new investment includes a new, free City Loop bus service in Civic, an electric bus trial, new bus services in Weston Creek and Molonglo, a new Park and Ride facility in Wanniassa, improvements to the Woden bus interchange and a new bus depot in Woden, all of which are part of our plan to improve our public transport system so it becomes more convenient, efficient, affordable and reliable.
The City Loop will start on 4 July 2016 to coincide with the new Transport Canberra agency. Transport Canberra will be responsible for integrating buses with the new light rail, developing a single ticketing system and new coordinated timetabling, active travel upgrades and transport innovation. The City Loop is one of the ways the ACT Government is making public transport more frequent and easier to use, with a strong focus on the customer.
The new service will provide a convenient link to highly-frequented areas of the CBD such as the City Bus Station, Canberra Centre, Braddon precinct, Northbourne Avenue, the Australian National University and New Acton precinct.
The City Loop will provide a convenient ‘turn up and go’ weekday service for commuters and will connect with high frequency Red and Blue Rapid services and buses to the Parliamentary Triangle. The service will support local businesses and help Canberrans travel around popular areas in the CBD for free.
In addition to the City Loop, the ACT Government will invest $900,000 for an electric bus trial. The buses will be used on regular route services, on and off peak, across the bus network. The trial will enable the ACT Government to assess the viability of using electric buses within the bus network.
Minister for Transport and Municipal Services Meegan Fitzharris said:
“The ACT Government is improving transport for Canberrans, wherever they live. The free Transport Canberra City Loop is another way the ACT Government is funding better public transport. The service will be frequent and free, and allow people to get from one part of our city to another in a really convenient way.
“Further demonstrating our commitment to exploring sustainable forms of public transport, we will also run a 12 month trial of up to three electric buses. This is a great initiative and one I think Canberrans will be really excited about.
“The Budget will offer better services in our growing suburbs to make it even easier for people to choose public transport, including:
  • The establishment of the new, free Transport Canberra City Loop to connect commuters travelling in Canberra’s CBD;
  • $10 million over two years to deliver 20 new buses as part of the ongoing fleet replacement program;
  • $3.5 million over four years for improvements to public transport services in Weston Creek and the Molonglo region. This includes a new all-day direct service called the Weston Line providing improved connectivity between Woden, Cooleman Court in Weston and the City. To meet increasing demand, Wright will receive increased coverage and frequency and the Route 83 and Xpresso 783 services will be extended to include Coombs. These new services will help make public transport a more convenient option for commuters;
  • $1.5 million for the design and construction of a new Park and Ride facility in Wanniassa;
  • $300,000 for improvements to the Woden bus interchange to provide a better bus station for the Woden town centre;
  • $900,000 for a 12-month trial of up to three electric buses on regular on- and off-peak route services; and
  • $775,000 for the design of a new bus depot in Woden to cater for growth in the bus fleet and meet the future needs of bus transport in the ACT.  An amount has been provisioned for the construction component.
“These significant investments are part of the ACT Government’s commitment through Transport Canberra to improve our public transport system so it is more convenient, efficient, affordable and reliable – a genuine alternative to driving,” said Minister Fitzharris.

As well as this website, the facebook group 'Light Rail for Canberra' carries frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news. 


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