Canberra as a planned and large spread out city has always needed a mass transit system to service its present and future needs. The city’s bus system started to show its deficiencies as a mass transit system over a decade ago with falling patronage and service. The rise in private car usage and road congestion further showed that a better transport solution was needed.
After a decade of lobbying by ACT Light Rail, the ALP Government in 2012 announced that if returned at the 2012 Assembly Election, they would build Capital Metro light rail running from Gungahlin to the City. This policy was supported by the ACT Greens.
Following their return to Government, rapid progress was made in preparing a business case, reconfiguring government transport bureaucracies, and signing contracts for construction and operation of light rail Stage One. These moves were supported by the ACT community at the 2016 Assembly election, during which a second stage of light rail to Woden was announced.
Light rail will eventually form the backbone of a Canberra-wide integrated public transport network, with more frequent local bus services, greater use of Park and Ride, and a strong emphasis on active travel (walking and cycling).
In addition to the work on the first stage of light rail, the ACT Government prepared a Light Rail Network Plan, indicating future light rail routes. This drew largely from work conducted for the 2012 Sustainable Transport Plan, which itself was derived from the 2009 Strategic Public Transport Network Plan by MRCagney.
As one of the most effective mass transit technologies available, light rail will make massive inroads Canberra’s car dependency and contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. It will be powered exclusively by renewable energy and will be fully integrated with frequent feeder bus services.
Light rail in Canberra:
- commenced service in April 2019
- is administered by Transport Canberra
- runs from Gungahlin to Civic for Stage One
- run from Civic to Woden for Stage Two
- Stage One was constructed by Canberra Metro Construction
- Stage One is operated by Canberra Metro Operations
The depot and operations centre is located in Mitchell.
Current news on light rail construction can be found at Transport Canberra’s light rail page.