Thursday, July 14, 2016

Canberra Liberals City Hopper bus loop proposal threatens tourist bus company viability

The Canberra Liberals have looked at the new City Loop service and two weeks later come up with their own version. On the surface, the 'City Hopper' loop proposal is a good try, but it displays a lack of awareness in how people use public transport in mashing together a city loop and a tourist loop. It also ignores that a tourist bus loop service already exists.

Unlike the new City Loop trial, the Canberra Liberals copy also requires people to pay, instead of just getting on and off (City Loop is a free service).

There is no doubt we need a tourist loop bus service, and one exists - it's a privately run tourist bus called The Canberra Explorer that operates seven days a week and visits the attractions the City Hopper proposes to visit. The Canberra Times article doesn't mention that such a service already exists. At least when this website simply publishes a press release, we acknowledge it.

The existing City Explorer bus loop service visits many of Canberra's national attractions and embassies. Stops include the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, Civic, Australian War Memorial, National Library of Australia, Questacon, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, High Court of Australia, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia. That's pretty comprehensive.

By copying the ACTION City Loop and combining it with a tourist bus loop service, the actual usefulness of the City Hopper loop is degraded. It isn't terribly convenient for the intended audience of tourists or office workers/students. Both those seperate loops already exist, one a privately operated tourist service, and the other a trial by the Government called City Loop.

Most disturbing is the awful arrogance of destroying a private bus operators business without any discussion of compensation, or even mentioning that it exists at all. Based on the demonstrated history of a lack of awareness of public transport technology, policy and operations, ACT Light Rail can only assume the Canberra Liberals genuinely had no clue that a private operator already offered a service they claim doesn't exist.

Their public transport policy efforts to date do not inspire confidence.

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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