Policy Objectives

The provision of high quality public transport services throughout the ACT is essential to ensure equitable and affordable transport options for all Canberrans.

High quality public transport increases ridership, reduces the use and ownership of private vehicles with benefits flowing to individuals and households through reduced costs, the community through reduced pollution and congestion, and the government through reduced expenditure on public roads, including externalities such as emergency services and healthcare costs.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) believes that the following policies and principles, if accompanied by high quality evidence and sound governance, would significantly improve Canberra’s public transport system.

Idealised Transport Policy (Horizontal, No Text)
A diagrammatic representation of PTCBR’s idealised public transport strategy
  1. Route Design
  • Routes are direct and convenient.
  • Route numbering is simple and consistent across weekday and weekend services.
  • Route duplication is avoided.
  • Local bus routes connect suburbs to transport interchanges and light rail stops.
  • Rapid bus routes cater for orbital journeys between districts.
  • Light rail services cater for radial journeys to the city centre along the inter-town public transport routes outlined in the National Capital Plan.
  • Express services are managed to meet both peak and off peak requirements to ensure that good service levels are provided across the whole network throughout all hours of service.
  1. Frequency
  • Local bus routes operate on a “turn up and go” basis. Ideal targets would be 15 minute frequencies during weekdays and 30 minute frequencies on weekends.
  • Rapid bus routes and light rail services operate at high frequencies to minimise transfer times. Ideal targets would be 5 minute frequencies during weekdays and 15 minute frequencies on weekends.
  • Timetables are coordinated to ensure transfers between services are convenient and comfortable. Ideal targets would be 5 minutes or less on weekdays 15 minutes or less on weekends.
  1. Fleet
  • Public transport vehicles are clean and modern, with comfortable seating, provision for bicycles, scooters and wheelchairs. They should meet or exceed accessibility requirements.
  • Local bus routes are operated by standard electric buses with a capacity of around 70 people.
  • Rapid bus routes are operated by articulated electric buses with a capacity of around 100 people.
  • Light rail services are operated by low-floor trams with capacities ranging between 250 and 420 people.
  • Public transport vehicles are to increasingly run on renewable energy with a 100 percent electric fleet by 2040.
  1. Transport Stops and Interchanges
  • Light rail stops are designed to support future expansion to seven car sets.
  • Sheltered seating is provided at all rapid bus and light rail stops.
  • Interchanges are provided at all town and group centres.
  • Interchanges and bus stops have clear and permanent signage.
  • Interchanges feature real-time information displays.
  • Interchanges are well maintained and staffed during all hours of service.
  • Interchange staff facilitate connections between local buses, rapid buses and light rail services.
  • Interchange design encourages passive surveillance by incorporating commercial, retail and residential components.
  • Interchanges have dedicated drop off points for taxis and on-demand vehicles.
  • Interchange design balances passenger amenity with reasonable ongoing maintenance costs.
  1. Ticketing
  • The public transport network has one fare zone, with free transfers between services.
  • The ticketing system is account based and compatible across all states and territories.
  • Ticket machines are included at all transport interchanges and light rail stops.
  • Contactless payment, such as paywave and paypass, is accepted on all services.
  1. Park and Ride
  • Existing Park and Ride facilities are progressively relocated out of town centres to locations that support commuter requirements with reduced congestion impacts.
  • New Park and Ride facilities encourage passive surveillance by being co-located with complementary land uses.
  1. Parking
  • Existing surface car parks in group, town and city centres are released to market in accordance with approved master plans.
  • The provision of long and short stay parking in city, town and group centres is maintained at 2020 levels.
  • Any shortfall in parking capacity is offset by improved public transport services.
  • Smart parking technology is mandated for all replacement car parks.
  1. Road Investment
  • Spending on new road enhancements is minimised in recognition of the problems associated with induced demand.
  • Spending on new parkway-standard roads in urban areas is only considered after analysis of active and public transport options.
  • New roads in greenfields sites are built to their final intended capacity, inclusive of any public transport infrastructure, during the initial construction phase.
  • Distance based road charging should be progressively introduced for all classes of road vehicles. This will cover the funding gap resulting from the gradual obsolescence of the fuel excise.
  1. Traffic Priority
  • Local and rapid buses receive priority over other vehicles at busy intersections.
  • Light rail services operate on a reserved right-of-way and receive absolute priority over road vehicles at all intersections.
  • Pedestrians receive priority over private vehicles at intersections in city, town and group centres.
  • Areas of high pedestrian activity are redesigned as shared zones.
  • Traffic calming measures are implemented in all city, town and group centres to facilitate speed limits under 40km/hr.
  1. Transport Oriented Development
  • New residential, retail and commercial developments are located within close walking distance of transport interchanges and light rail stops.
  • New developments located near transport interchanges and light rail stops feature active uses on the ground floor.
  • Minimum parking requirements are waived for all developments located near transport interchanges and light rail stops.
  1. Greenfields Development
  • New districts are planned around a public transport network with a high mode share.
  • New districts are fully integrated into the light rail network.
  • New districts locate higher density housing near transport interchanges and light rail stops.
  • New districts feature a town or group centre with a transport interchange and opportunities for a significant employment presence to limit unnecessary inter-district travel.
  • New suburbs include bus stops within easy walking distance of all residences.
  • New suburbs promote active travel by featuring permeable street networks with wide footpaths and canopy trees.
  • Local bus services are provided to new suburbs at the earliest available opportunity.
  1. Light Rail 
  • Light rail development meets or anticipates social, environmental and economic needs.
  • Light rail is used to limit the demand for greenfields development by facilitating urban renewal and densification along designated transport corridors.
  • Light rail travel times are minimised through continued use of dedicated right of way and prioritisation of light rail vehicles at signalised intersections.
  • Good urban design outcomes are achieved through the use of planning and design frameworks developed with strong community involvement.
  1. Cross-border Public Transport
  • The ACT Government and the NSW Government explore opportunities for cross-border public transport initiatives through the Cross-Border Commissioner processes.
  • Regional rail and bus services operate as part of a wider regional transport network.