Network 19, light rail, buses and the winners and losers

Network 19.jpg

An edited version of this article was published in the Canberra Times here.

In its first week light rail from Gungahlin carried over 100,000 passengers and proved to be the success that its supporters knew it would be. It was a long time coming, and although it received overwhelming support from the public at the 2016 election, much political blood was shed in the decades leading to this endorsement including the toppling of Canberra Liberal Trevor Kaine, ALP Chief Minister Rosemary Follet and her Transport Minister David Lamont.

Chief Minister Barr and Transport Minister Fitzharris deserve much credit for the resolve they had to see the benefits of this city changing project through, since it was first announced by former Chief Minister Katie Gallagher in 2012. Essential political support from the Greens ensured that light rail survived the Legislative Assembly. Former Transport Minister Simon Corbell may one day be able to catch light rail from Civic to Kingston for a coffee, as he once famously predicted. Light rail will be a legacy for generations to come.

On Monday, the ACT received its second major public transport shakeup with Network 19, a fundamental reset of the system. Integrating light rail, a record nine rapid bus routes, and more frequent local buses, the aim is to increase local connections to rapid routes, and increase the frequency. Passengers have long complained about the magical mystery local bus tours, and this has been addressed.

Weekend passengers also benefit with light rail until 1AM and rapid buses operating until at least 10 PM on Sunday. Over time, it would be good to see local buses offer this same service, but as long as the TWU believes working weekends is voluntary and not something that the public expects that may be some time off. Passengers fortunate enough to live adjacent to light rail will be able to travel until 1AM on Saturdays and 11.30 PM on Sundays. This is the sort of weekend public transport service that Canberra has needed for many years.

Although the radical Network 19 changes will prove beneficial, there will be many short term issues as passengers start using it, and locating the new bus stops they may have to walk further to use. Not everyone benefits, and indeed some people lose out. Many long used local bus stops are disappearing, requiring people to walk to unfamiliar streets in their neighbourhood. Some people will have to transfer between services.

With 140 suburbs and 530 buses, not every suburb in Canberra can have a direct service to Civic. Expresso services received cuts, as patronage figures saw most removed, others changed to become part of the new rapid routes, and a few, mainly in Tuggeranong, retained in a different form.

Fairbairn, Hume, ANU and other locations lose a bus service. Although ANU has its own coaster bus, it may not have enough capacity for the students that relied on the former service. Transport Canberra have indicated that on-demand and flexible buses will replace some services, but there is no extra funding to expand this fleet and the software for the small fleet of on-demand buses is not yet available. In some instances the services are more likely to be used by the fridge magnet generation, than the app generation.

n19 nicholls schools
Schools on regular local bus route in Nicholls

The loudest voices against Network 19 are the parents of children who use school buses to travel from north to south Canberra. These services have slightly decreased from 246 school bus services to 221 services, and there are now reportable metrics in place. Some services carry a handful of students a day. Clearly a bus carrying a hundred people is better used on a local bus or rapid service decreasing peak hour bus frequency. While there is no separate school bus fleet in Canberra, this balance of resources will continue to be played out.

Many schools now have regular bus stops next to them, or nearby. The majority of students travelling to school by bus do so on a regular bus, and it is better for their independence and to stop bullying that they do so into the future. Many former students and bus drivers have advised that a student is less likely to be bullied on a regular bus, when an adult passenger will speak up, than on a school bus with no adult present except the driver occupied navigating our roads.

 

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Excellent wayfinding signage in Civic

Passenger wayfinding between rapid and local bus services outside the interchanges also needs some work. Savvy passengers may know they can step off a rapid bus, walk 100 metres and step on a local bus, other passengers may not know this. People won’t mind transferring if the frequency of services leads to shorter waiting times for the next bus or light rail. Better signage at local bus stops, or software notifications could help here.

Overall the benefits of more frequent local services connecting to a mass transit spine will make public transport more efficient and better for passengers. Network 19 has been subjected to exhaustive community consultation, with changes made to school bus services, Expressos and some local loops modified. In large transport networks, people often transfer to complete their trip. It is a new paradigm this city needs to adopt as it goes from a country town to a city.

Our city has grown and now our transport network has changed to accommodate that growth. In 1992 Gungahlin had 389 residents, today it has 80 thousand – 50 thousand who have arrived in the last five years. Light rail was delivered by  the Barr government under budget, before the major duplicated roads in Gungahlin being constructed at the same time. A startling reminder that under the Stanhope administration, public transport and road infrastructure was very far down the funding priority list, while single dwelling housing blocks were allowed to sprawl across Canberra. We have to stop building in car dependency.

Gungahlin residents deserve much credit for getting Canberra to an integrated bus and light rail transport network today.  They called for better public transport in the early 1990’s when it was apparent that buses alone would not carry the amount of passengers the popup suburbs were attracting. The Gungahlin Community Council, the Light Rail Coalition, and then ACT Light Rail were community groups energised by the idea of better public transport and planning outcomes that light rail could deliver. Sustained community activism can lead to political outcomes.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra has supported the current Governments public transport policies, and worked with transport planners and operators to bring about better public transport outcomes. Community consultation is vital, as direct engagement with the decision makers has led to better passenger experiences. Sometimes transport planners don’t get it right, and users can provide advice on a better passenger experience and provide user insights.

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Light rail vehicles in Gungahlins new station – it carried 100,00 people in its first week

We must get public transport right. At 420 thousand residents now, and half a million soon, Canberra must keep building transport infrastructure that matches our growth, and corrects past mistakes. More buses are being ordered, more articulated buses with greater passenger capacity are in the fleet than ever before, zero emission vehicles may form the core of a bus fleet (light rail is powered by renewable energy). Public transport is a visible sign of the health and livability of a city and its people. This government understands this, will future governments? The 2020 Assembly elections will be telling, as the Canberra Liberals are yet to share any thoughts on future public transport infrastructure.

This week Network 19 has arrived, building on the success of light rail stage one opening last week. There will be passengers with problems in the next week or two, as people have to establish new routines and make changes to long used commuting patterns. Despite teething issues, in a few months the true value of this radical change will be realised.

As only about ten percent of Canberrans use public transport now, the aim of Network 19, light rail stage one (and stage two when it is built) is to attract new passengers, encourage greater residential and business growth around transport corridors, and to provide incentives to people to park their car at home. A month of free public transport accompanying the new network and the introduction of light rail will attract new passengers, Canberra needs to keep them using public transport. The results of Network 19 may take some time to be realised but they must work if we want to enjoy the bush capital and not live in our cars.

Damien Haas is the Chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the regions peak public transport user lobby group.

Federal Election 2019 – ACT Candidate positions on Transport, Planning and Infrastructure policy

 

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Federal election candidates at a public forum in April 2019

The Federal election will be held on May 18 2019. Canberra is the Nations capital and seat of Federal Government, as well as a growing regional city with a diverse community. Our city has been overlooked at federal elections in recent years, by both major parties, and deserves an equal share of infrastructure investment to assist the city to expand in a sustainable and planned way.

The PTCBR will send an email to all candidates for the House of Representatives and the Senate, running in the ACT at the 2019 election, seeking their views on transport planning and infrastructure, and asking if they will work to obtain funding to put towards light rail and other public transport programs. Any candidate that responds will have their answers placed here, and promoted on our Facebook group, and shared among our members. The PTCBR is an apolitical organisation, but all PTCBR members are entitled to vote based on the issues that matter to them, and after making an informed decision.

The ACT elects one lower house member from the seats of Bean, Canberra and Fenner, and two Senators.

Questions to Candidates

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
  2. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
  3. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
  4. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?
  5. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
  6. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
  7. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?

Responses received from candidates will be published on this page in the order they are received, below the list of candidates. Irrelevant responses unrelated to our members policy interests, will not be posted.

House of Representatives Candidates in the ACT

Bean – Weston Creek, Tuggeranong

  • David Smith – Australian Labor Party
  • Therese Faulkner – Australian Progressives
  • Ben Rushton – Great Australia Party
  • Jonathan Davis – Greens
  • Matt Donnelly – Liberal Democrats
  • Ed Cocks – Liberal Party
  • Tony Hanley – United Australia Party
  • Jamie Christie – Independent

Canberra –  Woden, East Belco, N. & S. Canberra

Fenner –  Western & Northern Belco and Gungahlin

ACT Senate Candidates 

Election Announcements on public transport, planning and public transport infrastructure for Canberra

ALP – Alicia Payne and Bill Shorten announce 200 million dollars for Canberras second stage of light rail.

Responses received from Candidates (presented in the order they were received)

First response (28 April)

Robert KnightAustralian Progressives

(Disclosure, Robert was formerly the Deputy Chair of the PTCBR)

G’day Damien and the PTCBR committee,
It’s a great pleasure to be able to respond to a topic I’m so passionate about. In response to your questions:
1. Unequivocally, yes. I believe the light rail is an incredibly important piece of infrastructure for Canberra’s future development. If elected, I would continue my fierce advocacy for a comprehensive light rail system creating the backbone of an integrated active and public transport network.
2. The National Capital Authority has a critical role in upholding the importance and management of nationally significant land, and institutions. I would seek to ensure the NCA is adequately resourced, and it’s mission refined to work more intimately with the ACT government on a coherent planning strategy.
3. Transport connections between regional NSW and the ACT is riven with legal and technical issues which create constant roadblocks to coherent public transport solutions. If elected I would seeks to identify each of these issues and find workable solutions to allow for the extension of existing bus services and, ultimately, rail services including light rail.
4. The way I see it, the major impacts on the ACT from nearby population increases in NSW consist of those on our transport infrastructure, health system, and education system from the users of those who are not ACT ratepayers. For that reason I would work to ensure federal funding is aimed at appreciating Canberra as a regional hub. From an environmental perspective, I think it is critical that Canberra and the surrounding local government areas work together to create a coherent and coordinated regional strategic plan dealing with urban planning, municipal services, environmental protection, and infrastructure provision.
5. Yes. Linked with my response to questions 3 and 4, I think it’s important that Canberra and surrounding local government areas work together to treat the area as a coherent functioning region. The border doesn’t act as a barrier to individuals living their lives in both NSW and the ACT, so our governance arrangements should behave the same way.
6. Yes. As part of a coherent regional strategy, a more comprehensive set of transport infrastructure is important in reducing the impacts of congestion, and non-sustainable transport choices.
7. The Australian Progressives believe our national transport focus should shift towards more sustainable choices. This translates into a focus on electrically powered, rail based public transport, both in an urban setting as well as inter-city. We also believe in a closer focus on active based transport development, closely integrated with well funded, rapid, and frequent public transport options in our towns and cities.
Thanks again for this opportunity, and I hope the members of PTCBR enjoy my response. Let them know I’m available for any questions via email at: canberra@progressives.org.au

Second response  (29 Apr)

Therese Faulkner – Australian Progressives

Hi Damien – lovely to hear from you, and thanks for your questions.  Please see my responses below, which accord with Australian Progressives policies:

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?  Absolutely yes.  There may also be a case for investment in heavy rail for Tuggeranong and beyond down the track (pardon the pun).  This would be worth a feasibility study once we get past stage two of the light rail.
  2. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?  I would like to see a review of the nexus between the NCA and ACT Government, with a view to having these two entities appropriately defined and resourced to be able to work collaboratively on planning and development within the parliamentary triangle and its fringes.
  3. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?  The Australian Progressives support a national passenger rail network, including connections between Canberra, other major cities, and eventually regional NSW cities and towns. Noting that this is a long-term vision, in the shorter term I would look to establish a consultative forum comprising representatives from local, state and federal governments and bureaucracies, with a view to working together to establish better public transport linkages within this region – starting with improved bus services and then extending to rail.
  4. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?   The Australian Progressives would work to ensure Canberra is considered as a regional hub from federal and state government perspectives, and lobby hard to ensure funding appropriate to such an important regional centre is provided by the federal and NSW state governments.  We believe that the ACT Government and the surrounding local NSW municipalities must work together to develop and implement a strategic plan to ensure that urban planning, municipal services, environmental protection, and infrastructure provision meets the needs of this wider community.
  5. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?  Yes – this is consistent with the position that Canberra is an important regional hub within south-eastern NSW, and a centre for jobs and services which therefore requires good public transport links.  The extension of light rail into Queanbeyan would be a logical first step in providing such links.
  6. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?  Yes – again, this is consistent with the positions set out in response to previous questions.  The provision of dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities can be a relatively quick and inexpensive way to improve public transport services within this region.
  7. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?  The Australian Progressives believe our national transport focus should shift towards more sustainable choices.  We would like to see well-funded, rapid, and frequent public transport options in our towns and cities, and an increase in electrically powered, rail-based public transport, both in urban settings as well as inter-city.

Kind regards

Therese

Therese Faulkner

Australian Progressives Candidate for Bean

www.facebook.com/therese4bean

Third response (3rd May)  Andrew Leigh – ALP

 

Dear Damien

Thanks for the email and thanks for all your hard work at PTCBR. This sounds like a fantastic initiative and I am more than happy to help. I have answered your questions below, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help with anything else. I look forward to seeing the results!

  1. If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
  2. Labor has committed $200 million to the second stage of Canberra’s light rail project. This will play a critical role in significantly reducing traffic congestion for residents of the City’s south. It will create hundreds of jobs and ensure that people are able to move swiftly through the city. We are committed to ensuring Canberrans have access to fast, reliable and affordable public transport and look forward to working with the ACT government as it continues to roll-out this fantastic initiative.
  3. What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
  4. Labor greatly values the role of the NCA. The NCA will continue to play that important role in the development of the Nation’s Capital under a Shorten Labor Government.
  5. How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
  6. Labor has committed to improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion by investing almost $250 million to progress the full duplication of the Barton Highway between Murrumbateman and the NSW/ACT border. The Barton Highway is used by 12,500 vehicles a day, including about 1,000 trucks. This commitment means Federal Labor stands ready to invest $100 million more in this important project than would be delivered by a re-elected Morrison Government. Increasing traffic volumes have led to increasing levels of traffic accidents on the highway, so a Shorten Labor Government would work with the New South Wales Government to expedite the duplication in the interests of road safety. The project would also boost productivity by facilitating quicker movement of road freight around the region. A longer list of Labor’s ACT/NSW infrastructure projects is below.
  7. What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?
  8. The ACT government is doing an excellent job investing in infrastructure in the ACT. A Shorten Labor Government will continue to support the ACT in this critical area, such as through our investments in light rail and roads. The fact that so many people want to live in or around the ACT shows that we are clearly on the right track!
  9. Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
  10. The ACT Government has a fantastic plan for its roll-out of light rail in the ACT. A Federal Labor Government will invest $200 million in stage two and looks forward to working collaboratively with the ACT Government as it implements the future stages of its plan.
  11. Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
  12. A Shorten Labor Government will establish a $300 million National Park and Ride Fund for new or expanded car parks at public transport hubs, such as train stations. Labor backs public transport – it’s good for commuters and it eases congestion on our roads. But too many residents in our cities and major regional areas are frustrated at the lack of available parking at train and bus stations as they travel into the city for work. I’ll be making sure the ACT gets its fair share of this funding to make commuting easier and ease congestion on our roads.
  13. What are your other policies on public transport and planning?
  14. We have many! We will build on the record of the previous Labor government which doubled road funding across Australia; rebuilt a third of the interstate rail freight network; and committed to more urban public transport infrastructure than every previous Federal Government combined. We will create thousands of jobs nationally with new work in every state and territory.
  15. Labor’s major infrastructure projects for the ACT and New South Wales include:
  16.          Canberra Light Rail Stage Two: Labor will reduce traffic congestion for residents of the City’s south with a $200 million investment towards the Stage II construction of Canberra’s Light Rail project.
  17.       Dunns Creek Road (NSW/ACT): Labor will invest $67.5 million to build the Dunns Creek Road, a key piece of regional infrastructure for residents of Queanbeyan, Googong and Jerrabomberra.

iii.      Nowra Bridge: Labor has committed $155 million towards building a second bridge in Nowra to improve road safety and boost local productivity.

  1.       Western Sydney Airport Rail: Labor will commit a total of $3 billion to Western Sydney Rail connecting the Sydney rail network with the new Western Sydney Airport, whilst reducing congestion and dependence on cars. Link
  2.       Sydney Metro West: Labor will commit $3 billion to Sydney Metro West, which will double the rail capacity between Parramatta and the CBD. Link
  3.       Central Coast Roads Rescue Package: Labor will fast-track $60 million worth of road works planned for the New South Wales Central Coast to ease traffic congestion and improve road safety.

vii.      Singleton Bypass: Labor will contribute $250 million towards construction of the Singleton Bypass on the New England Highway.

  1. Labor will implement a comprehensive plan for housing affordability and housing supply.
  2.          Across Australia, Labor will build 250,000 new affordable rental homes over the next decade in partnership with the community housing sector for Australians on low and moderate incomes. We will also ensure that 1 in 10 employees engaged in building new housing stock under our scheme are apprentices.
  3.       Labor will reform negative gearing so that deductions can only be claimed on newly built homes, which will increase new housing supply and support jobs. We will reform the capital gains tax concession and allow existing investors to maintain their current CGT and negative gearing entitlements. There will be no retrospective taxation or impost on existing investors.

iii.      Labor will create a viable Build to Rent sector in Australia – giving institutional investors better tax concessions; encouraging more construction; and stimulating the housing market. We will do this by cutting the managed investment trust withholding rate in half from 30 per cent to 15 per cent to encourage new housing supply.

  1.       Labor will establish a new and independent COAG Economic Reform Council that will be given the autonomy to examine, track and report to COAG on long-term reform priorities, including on housing affordability and supply.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Andrew Leigh.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andrew Leigh

Federal Member for Fenner

Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity

Shadow Minister for Trade in Services

Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits

 

Response number 4 – (9 may 2019) Tony Hanley – UAP candidate for Bean

Hi Damien,

I would like to see the NATIONAL APPROACH ROUTES – CANBERRA AV. BARTON HIGHWAY – As Walter Burley Griffin, envisioned it to be a grand gateway. This is a Federal Issue.

The light rail went to the wrong Town Centre, as it has no major white collar; Employment base. But we need to move on now, long term I do not believe it will be utilised. Will see in Winter, “I guess! but I always applaud leaders that actually do things. More pertinent – Northbourne Av. Now looks like the dogs breakfast. Lime stone Ave. and others are gridlocked. Policy on the run, is always bad. I think it’s just matter of time before will have flashing Boom gates, and some major car Rail crashes (I drive daily for my work – and too many people don sunglasses and have tinted windows) just for one of many examples. Panel beaters have a roaring trade here. There are new innovations on low cost over passes. That allow Kangaroos, wild life to pass over as against them being culled. There is No more culling required as kangaroos dictate on multi plying, depending on climate conditions. I have an expert with ten thousand signatures to submit to Parliament.

The next stage of light rail has to be to Tuggeranong (not Woden) which is connectivity ideas I have from a main exchange shooting off to both Weston Creek -Coombes and Woden.  I grew up in Weston Creek and it’s easy to walk cycle plus new innovations adopted), under tunnels, using the latest in transport.  We need to stall all things at the moment, as just around the corner are better options being invented now. The local ACT Gov. has created a two class, society here and are treasonous to the “Spirit, essence and very Foundation of why Canberra was conceived. Barr (Libs V ALP) “biting the hand that feeds it” has eroded away Public Servants Department away to Regional areas.  If ALP’s Negative gearing policy comes in, the ACT Housing market “will crash like a lead balloon”. It is not sustainable.

The ACT road designers have endangered cyclists lives, (Adelaide Av. For one) and turned us into a UK – Cotswold village and is just hopeless in all respects.

Plus, I would like to see (after 9pm) most Traffic lights to go to flashing amber mode and normal road rules applied.

I would foster APS swap job plans (car-pooling etc.) in the APS – to minimise car use at peak times to stop the gridlock at peak hours.

Tony Hanley “the NUMBER ONE AUSTRALIAN “by a Country Mile.

Response number 5 – (13 May 2019) ACT Greens

Dear Damien

Thank you for your emails to our Greens candidates with questions about our policy positions. I attach a detailed response on behalf of:
Tim Hollo
Penny Kyburz
Emma Davidson
Andrew Braddock
Johnathan Davis
We would appreciate it if this response could be posted with attribution to our candidates. Their Facebook pages are:
Kind regards
Adele Doust
Party Director
ACT Greens 

ACT Greens position on transport and planning issues for the Public Transport Association Canberra
13 May 2019
If elected, will you support light rail stage two and future light rail stages in Canberra?
Yes.
Light rail not only provides an excellent public transport option, it also attracts development to transport corridors, helping Canberra grow in a smart and sustainable way.
The ACT Greens have advocated for light rail for decades. As balance of power holders following the 2012 election, we were at last able to secure a Government commitment to building stage one of light rail for Canberra.
The Greens advocated for stage 2 of light rail at the 2016 election, and secured its planning and development through a parliamentary agreement with the Labor Party.
A key part of the ACT Greens’ long-term vision is to have a high quality public transport spine right across Canberra. We support extending light rail in stages, in line with a light rail masterplan, to ensure all parts of Canberra can use the network.
Work developing Stage 2 of Canberra’s light rail network is currently underway. Stage 2 will extend light rail from the City to Woden, creating a North-South light rail spine connecting Gungahlin to Woden.
What are your views on the role of the National Capital Authority? Would you increase the NCA’s federal funding or would you abolish it and handover all planning controls to the ACT Government?
The National Capital Authority plays an important role in protecting the national interest in planning for the inner areas of Canberra and should be funded sufficiently to carry out this role. It has been disappointing to see the Federal Government using the NCA’s planning role to facilitate the privatisation of the East and West Blocks in the Parliamentary Precinct. Privatisation of important national land is unacceptable. The NCA should also be funded to pursue national heritage listing of the lake and surrounding nationally-significant areas.

The Greens have announced their plan to restore the public service to 2013 staffing levels and put a cap on the use of consultants and contractors. This would restore resources across the federal public service, including the National Capital Authority.

The Federal election is an important opportunity to improve local oversight of the work of the National Capital Authority. A Green member of the Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories would push for the NCA to be better engaged with and more accountable to the needs of people living in the ACT.

How would you improve public transport connections between Canberra and regional NSW cities and towns?
The ACT Greens policy platform calls for the following on interstate transport:
Improved integration and connections to interstate transport hubs, improved services to regional heavy rail passenger stations, and proactive engagement with other jurisdictions to improve the sustainability and affordability outcomes of regional transport
The ACT Government to actively support the creation of a national high-speed rail network that incorporates Canberra
The ACT Greens understand that these connections will require a mix of different public transport solutions.
The Australian Greens have called for the construction of publicly funded and publicly owned high- speed rail from Brisbane to Melbourne. Depending on the route chosen, this could connect Canberra to Goulburn and possibly Yass.
The connection to Queanbeyan should be served by light rail, bus rapid transit or an alternative ‘trunk’ technology such as trackless trams.
Bus services for regional towns like Cooma need to be improved substantially as commuting is growing but services are currently not designed for commuters.
The extremely high fares from Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman and Yass to Canberra also need to be reduced.
What is your parties’ view on ensuring ACT residents are not carrying the financial and environmental costs of the significant population increases in nearby NSW?

The ACT Greens understand that there is a need for greater cooperation between all levels of Government to sustainably support the region’s growing population. Thanks to the Greens, the ACT is a model of ambitious investment in sustainable energy and infrastructure.

The Federal Government needs to play a stronger role, including:

• Federal Government funding support to deliver cross-border public transport infrastructure
between Canberra and Queanbeyan
• Adequate Federal funding for Landcare and catchment management groups, which work across the ACT/NSW border on water quality and habitat.
• Fixing the water-management mess in the Murray Darling Basin, of which Canberra and Queanbeyan are part
In 2016, the Australian Greens secured an additional $100 million in funding for Landcare.
Electing Greens to the Federal Parliament in 2019,will help to extend the ‘water trigger’ in our national environmental protection laws to cover all forms of gas extraction and protect farmers and their water sources. It will also support the Greens in standing up to corruption in the Murray Darling basin to stop water theft and return more water to the river.
Would you advocate for federal funding for the ACT light rail to be extended into Queanbeyan CBD?
Yes.
The Greens believe that the Federal, ACT and NSW Governments should work together to deliver mass rapid transit such as light rail, bus rapid transit or another technology between Canberra and Queanbeyan. Queanbeyan was part of the 2016 ACT Light Rail Network Plan, which we support.
The Greens recognise that there is a need to address the extremely high cost of public transport connections from Canberra to Queanbeyan and other regional centres.
Would you advocate for dedicated bus lanes combined with park and ride facilities near the main Queanbeyan roads into the territory?
Yes.
The Greens believe that the Federal, ACT and NSW Governments should work together to deliver light rail, bus rapid transit or another technology between Canberra and Queanbeyan. Park and Ride facilities would be an important part of delivering mass rapid transit between Canberra and Queanbeyan.
What are your other policies on public transport and planning?
The Greens have a strong track record of supporting public transport over many years. This includes the Australian Greens commitment to the construction of high-speed rail and the ACT Greens commitment to light rail and more funding for bus services. The Greens also support strong investment in public infrastructure to make walking and cycling safe and accessible.
Complete information about the Greens public transport policy is available here: https://greens.org.au/platform/renewables#public-transport
Information about the Greens policies for the ACT, including transport policies, can be found here: https://greens.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-06/Community_First_-_Our_Platform.pdf
The Australian Greens 2019 platform can be found here: https://greens.org.au/policies

Network 19 timetables for integrated bus and light rail released

The Public Transport Association of Canberra looks forward to Canberras first integrated public transport timetable
Transport Canberra today released the first integrated light rail and bus timetable for Canberra, which will commence in late April when light rail is also operational. The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) are looking forward to its introduction, and its potential to increase access to public transport by more Canberrans than the current network.

PTCBR Chair Damien Haas said that “The benefits of the new network are in its greater reach, its complete redesign to take in newer suburbs, later running, much earlier starts, and extended Sunday evening services. The extended Sunday services will also benefit major events in Canberra held on public holidays, where many bus services finished at around 7PM.”

“The negatives include cuts to some areas such as to the Belconnen CIT, the ANU, the free City Loop.”

“There is also a continuing lack of integration with Queanbeyan where a simple extension of a rapid service into Queanbeyans main street could help both cities.” Mr Haas said.

Some areas are no longer served by buses as the stop distance has been increased from 400 metres to in some instances 800 metres. The PTCBR hope to see a rapid rollout of new bus stops with improved facilities such as covered shelters, realtime information displays and the ability for passengers to depart from the front and rear bus doors.

The PTCBR would also like to see future public transport links into Queanbeyan and nearby regional towns in NSW such as Googong, Jerrabomberra, Yass, Goulburn and Murrumbateman.

Mr Haas said that “Overall, the benefits far outweigh the negatives and as future stages of light rail are delivered, more bus kilometers will be released to increase local bus frequency. Passengers like the rapid bus network and frequency, and patronage in this area has driven the further development of rapid routes.”

The increased passenger capacity and frequency of light rail will be welcome on the Gungahlin rapid route, where rapid buses were no longer able to cope with passenger numbers experienced during peak hours.

Mr Haas also said that “The new network is a radical departure from decades old bus routes that Canberrans have become used to, and this will cause some disruption in peoples routines as they adjust to the new network. The benefits of more frequent rapid buses and light rail will become obvious as passengers get used to the new network”.

“The PTCBR were pleased to see Transport Canberra respond to feedback from the community and restore services to Hume and Campbell Park, and woudl like to see a similar limited service restored to Fairbairn, the ANU and the Bruce CIT.”
On the need to change buses to complete journeys, Mr Haas said that “While some passengers will need to change buses to get onto a rapid bus or light rail, to complete a journey, the increased frequency will mean that their overall journey times may be shorter than present.”

We encourage all passengers to look at the new timetable and routes, take advantage of the free month of bus and light rail use, and let Transport Canberra know how the new network works for them, and how it can be improved in the future.
The PTCBR expect that Transport Canberra will fine tune some parts of the network, in response to passenger feedback. Mr Haas said that he looked forward to stepping off a local bus and onto light rail at the end of April.

Damien Haas is the Chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the Canberra regions peak public transport users lobby group.

Moving Canberra – transport strategy from 2019 to 2045

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris MLA today released the ‘Moving Canberra 2019-2045 Integrated Transport Strategy‘ policy paper. This is open for consultation into the New Year. The PTCBR will host a public meeting in early 2019 devoted to this.

You can download the full Integrated Transport Strategy from here or an executive summary from here.

moving canberra
Integrated Transport Strategy 2019 – 2045

The media release accompanying the release of the strategy is here:

 

mov canb mr

 

Autonomous vehicle trials, better walking and cycling infrastructure and faster rail to Sydney are all part of an updated ACT transport strategy, released for public comment today.

The Moving Canberra 2019-2045 Integrated Transport Strategy considers how to deliver a vision for Canberra’sfuture transport experience that is modern, sustainable, integrated and provides real alternatives to driving.

“We need to keep improving and innovating our transport network to ensure Canberra continues to be one of the world’s most liveable cities,” Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris said.

We’re getting ready for a city which will be home to 500,000 people by 2030, so to protect our liveability we need transport networks that provide genuine alternatives to the car.

“This updated transport strategy builds on recent achievements including commencing construction on the first stage of light rail and building a bigger and better bus network, and it outlines the strategic policies that will underpin our future transport needs.”

The Strategy complements the recently released ACT Planning Strategy and outlines a number of possible actions over the short, medium and long term. It is also underpinned by an ACT Movement and Place Framework, which will ensure we deliver transport solutions for all road users and communities.

Some of the actions the Strategy looks at include:

  • setting aside land for high speed rail to Sydney;
  • reducing pollution from cars, buses and trucks;
  • separating walking and cycling paths;
  • undertaking further autonomous vehicle trials;
  • moving to a cashless public transport system;
  • conducting a review of bike share; and
  • undertaking a pre-feasibility study of proposed future light rail alignments.

“The Strategy includes some bold actions for us to consider into the future, and also reaffirms a number of commitments the Government has already made to ensure our city is better connected.

“It’s important to recognise that a number of the action items within the Strategy fall across several different Government portfolios and will also depend on cooperation with the community, industry and other stakeholders to deliver the best outcome.

“That’s why we have now opened the Strategy up for a period of consultation, so people can provide input and we can ensure the Strategy reflects a shared commitment to better transport for Canberra,” Minister Fitzharris added.

The Strategy is now open for consultation. Following consultation an implementation plan will be developed.

To help shape the priorities in the Strategy go to: https://yoursay.act.gov.au/moving-canberra

Consultation will close on 8 February 2019.

Statement ends 

 

Our wishlist for better public transport in Canberra – the 2019 Budget submission from the PTCBR to the ACT Government

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Dickson bus interchange  with light rail construction on Northbourne Ave

Every year the ACT Government invites the public and community groups to tell them what they would like to see the Government allocate funds to over the next year. It’s an excellent opportunity for our association, representing the users of public transport in Canberra, to let the Government know what we expect. Over the last month or so, the Committee of the PTCBR have prepared our submission, and it has also helped shape our organisations priorities for the next year.

Our 2019 Budget Submission can be found here.

In our budget submission this year we have asked for a split between making the passenger experience better, and strategic transport planning for the future. We have also asked that the iconic Canberra bunker bus shelter receive heritage listing!

Our recommendations are summarised below, and you can read them in full at the link to the full submission.  We will be following up our submission with lobbying of our elected representatives, and speaking to Transport Canberra and ACT Government planners. Much has been achieved in several years, but there is much more to do as we convince Canberrans to use public transport, and make the passenger experience better for those that do now.

Recommendations for ACT Government transport spending by the PTCBR

  • PTCBR ask for a rebalancing of the transport component of the ACT Budget with a 50 percent split between new road construction and new public transport infrastructure, until all light rail routes identified in the 2016 Light Rail Network Plan have been completed.
  • Extending the peak hour for weekday bus services until at least 6.30 PM.
  • Park and Ride expansion with Smart Parking technology and real time bus passenger information screens.
  • Passenger Counter Barometer used to generate a near real-time light rail and bus passenger barometer at the Civic Interchange.
  • Improved use of data and analytics to plan future services. PTCBR recommend that this be expanded and include data related to commercial and residential land use.
  • All data used for transport planning be anonymised and made available for the public to analyse and offer solutions.
  • New ticketing technology implemented as soon as possible. The ‘ticket’ used need not be a plastic card at all and could perhaps be linked to an account for micro transactions taken directly from an account holders credit or debit card using RFID technology.
  • A MyWay chip that could be used in a bracelet, implanted into the body or placed into a reaching wand (used by people with a disability) .
  • A coordinated ACT and NSW Government approach to cross-border public transport
  • A nationally unified electronic public transport ticketing with a single balance be explored.
  • A unified ticketing and fare model applied to bus companies in regional NSW towns with the potential to access Canberra.
  • Updating the Light Rail Network Plan to account for significant changes to Canberra’s urban form.
  • Consultation and reference groups for the Territory and Canberra Transport Plan
  • Workplace cultural reform within the ACTION workforce that can provide best practice workplace training on customer relations and passenger interactions.
  • A multi-year benchmarking exercise involving the use of private sector operators to determine the cost and effectiveness of Transport Canberra bus operation relative to the performance of operators in other Australian jurisdictions. The future rapid corridor between Weston Creek, Molonglo and Belconnen would appear ideal for such an exercise, while also addressing known gaps in coverage.
  • Toll roads for new parkways, including roads into and out of the ACT.
  • Congestion based charging for private vehicle use in areas with significant transport and parking challenges.
  • Replacing registration fees with distance based charges
  • Commence construction as soon as practicable on light rail to Woden and Belconnen
  • Preparatory work for future light rail network extensions
  • Planning for National Capital Plan variations with amendments reflecting the adoption of light rail technology for intertown mass transit.
  • Establishing a skills base for future light rail construction so a construction program can be forecast a decade out.
  • On-demand and flexible bus service expansion to satisfy and grow demand.
  • A common software booking platform for all providers of community buses in use around Canberra
  • Planning for a new railway station in Central or North Canberra
  • Restoring the City Loop bus services
  • A city free fare zone on light rail and bus services for MyWay Card Holders.
  • Restoring the National Institution Tourist oriented bus services
  • Merging of Rapid Routes 6 and 7 to create a South Canberra/Weston Creek Loop
  • Coordinated on-demand and last mile transport services for out of hours or rarely used suburban routes.
  • Active Travel only streets around town and significant group centres
  • All future retail/commercial centres have shared zones planned as a priority, to avoid retrofitting a decade or more later.
  • Installing more real time information displays at bus interchanges and Park and Ride sites.
  • Conduct a study of school holiday bus services to Stromlo Forest Park
  • Improve public transport in the Molonglo Valley by extending the northbound bus “jump” lanes along the length of the Cotter Road between John Gorton Drive and Kirkpatrick Street, and fast-track the construction of the proposed high-level bridge across the Molonglo River.
  • All bus stops covered and have bicycle storage or loops for securing bicycles.
  • Heritage listing for Canberra’s iconic Clem Cummings designed ‘bunker’ shelters
  • Locating local and rapid bus stops closer together where they intersect, or to provide clear signage for passengers willing to walk between closely located local and rapid bus stops.

The PTCBR are committed to lobbying the ACT, NSW and Federal Government for better public transport services for passengers that use the service now, and encourage all Canberrans to sample the improved services being delivered.

Light rail will commence service in early 2019 and will provide a huge impetus in encouraging the shift away from car dependence in Canberra. The radical Network 19 changes to the bus network, creating a system of shorter local loops and more rapid bus and light rail services, is a major step in encouraging more people to use public transport.

The ACT Government are revisiting the ‘Transport for Canberra’ plan in 2019 and the PTCBR will be ensuring that the users of public transport have a strong say in how our future public transport needs will be addressed.  The submission we have made to this years ACT Budget provides a strong indication of our lobbying priorities.

To stay up to date with all public transport and planning issues in Canberra,join the PTCBR here and visit our Facebook Group.

 

 

 

Final route design for Network 19, Canberras first integrated public transport network released following extensive consultation

Network 19 Media Event
Minister Fitzharris just before local journalists asked her questions about Network 19

In 2019 Canberra will have its first integrated public transport network with light rail and rapid buses forming a mass transit backbone with more frequent local services linking to the rapid bus/light rail. It is a significant and radical change to Canberras public transport experience and has been subject to extensive route design, and community consultation (see details here).

Transport Minster Meegan Fitzharris MLA today released the final route design for Network 19, following an extensive community consultation program. This updated route design is based on extensive community consultation, and incorporates additional local and rapid routes that were not in the earlier version. Work is continuing on the timetable that will be used in this network, and is expected to be complete in December, now that the network has been finalised.

See our previous coverage of Network 19 here and here

Read the PTCBR Network 19 submission here

 Network 19 Final Oct 18

What changes have been made?

The updated Rapid Route map is here. Here are the changes in each region of Canberra:

Local media reactions

Media coverage of the announcement has largely been based on detail from the media release (below), A local newspaper reported the announcement with a focus on the changed school services (here). City News had a short article mentioning that timetables were yet to be released  “Commuters wait to see full timetable” (here).

PTCBR assessment of the finalised Network 19

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) are pleased that Transport Canberra have reacted to community consultation and made sensible changes in local services and rapid bus routes.

  • Restoring the Tuggeranong/Woden/Civic/Belconnen rapid bus is sensible, especially give strong patronage by University of Canberra students.
  • The addition of new local loops in Belconnen, extra stops in Gungahlin and extra Molonglo services are sensible.
  • Addressing Woden, Weston Creek and Molonglo patronage demands and responding to feedback to finetune the local routes in each area (see more from transport Canberra here).
  • Extra peak services from south Tuggeranong will replace Xpresso services, and better serve all commuters.
  • A seven day network with consistent weekday and weekend numbering is welcome, and long overdue.
  • Extended Sunday services running to 10 PM are very welcome.
  • Installing new bus stops and expanding local service near schools has removed the need for some dedicated school bus services (and over time more school children will have the advantage of using the regular bus network).

Further work needed

  • Further work needs to be done on establishing better connections between the rapid routes and local services where they overlap or run adjacent to each other.
  • A rapid bus connection into Queanbeyan should be made a priority of the ACT and NSW Governments.
  • Dropping service to places like Hume, Alexander Maconochie Centre, Fairbairn and Campbell Park need to supported with a proper expansion of on-demand and flexible bus services.

Overall, the new integrated public transport network is a massive change and will take some getting used to by passengers used to the local bus services meandering around their suburbs. It may take some time before the changes are fully appreciated. By not releasing timetable information during consultation, people have looked at the changes and used their current experience and frequency and applied it to the new routes (even though local services are expected to increase in frequency).

This network is going to be a strong builder of public transport patronage based around light rail and more frequent buses. It is the modal shift Canberra has needed.

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After extensive community consultation, Canberra’s updated public transport network was released today to give Canberrans more buses, more often, seven days a week.

Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris said a number of changes have been made to the new network, which will be complemented by a range of services to support commuters thanks to the community’s suggestions.

“The new network of buses and light rail will make it easier for Canberrans to get where they want to go, offering a genuine alternative to driving, seven days a week,” Minister Fitzharris said.

“This is all about making Canberra better connected and getting more people on public transport so we can secure Canberra’s status as one of the world’s most liveable cities as our population continues to grow.

“The ACT Government has already committed $43 million for the addition of 80 new buses to our network. In addition, we will be investing in new infrastructure and more customer service officers to make our public transport network even more convenient for Canberrans.”

“And to get more people using public transport, I’m excited to say we will be providing a month of free travel on the new network for MyWay card users.”

Minister Fitzharris thanked the community for getting involved in the consultation, which saw more than 13,000 pieces of feedback received.

“This was genuine consultation, and as a result we have made changes to a number of routes. I acknowledge the new network will involve changes for some users, but we need to strike a balance which makes public transport as attractive as possible to all people, including both new and existing passengers.”

Changes following consultation

Through the feedback, people told us they wanted changes to some of the proposed routes and we’ve made 37 changes across the 58 routes in the regular network and added an additional 78 school services following consultation on network.

“For example, we have extended a proposed Rapid service from Tuggeranong to Belconnen, instead of just the City to ensure people travelling from Tuggeranong to Belconnen don’t need to change buses,” said Minister Fitzharris.

“We’ll also add direct local connections to Woden from Weston Creek, provide better coverage in south-west Belconnen, and add new peak bus routes from the south of Tuggeranong.”

The community told us they supported a high frequency, seven-day network of turn up-and-go rapid buses – and under the updated network almost six out of 10 Canberrans will live in walking distance of a rapid bus stop.

There will be services at least every 15 minutes along 10 Rapid transport corridors from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, continuing into the evening with less frequency. Sunday and public holiday service times will also be extended to 10pm.

Simpler access to information was also a theme in the consultation, which is why we’ll have a new electronic journey planning system to help people plan their public transport trips.

Changes to school services following consultation

Parents and other bus users asked for more help and supervision at interchanges to make changing buses easier and feel safer. As a result, new Customer Service Officers will help school children and adults alike become familiar with using interchanges and improve signage.

In addition to improving the regular bus network, which school students are currently most likely to use, the updated network also includes 78 more dedicated school services than in the initial consultation to help students get to school.

“We’ve heard what parents, teachers and students have said and we will also recruit a specialist schools liaison to ensure buses continue to meet schools’ needs,” Minister Fitzharris said.

“Currently the overwhelming majority of students don’t use the bus at all to get to school, so we hope this combination of the improved regular network and school-only services will encourage more young people to start using the bus and continue to be bus users after they graduate.

“Parents, students and schools asked us for more comprehensive information about the new services to schools, so today we’ve published school-by-school information detailing services that will get kids to school before the bell and take them home again.”

Further improvements still to come

Following the consultation, the ACT Government has committed to provide free travel for one month on the new network, as well as deliver more customer service officers, more school crossing supervisors, improved infrastructure around schools and better information to help people navigate the new network.

“As part of the consultation the community asked us to improve infrastructure and customer service,” said Minister Fitzharris.

“We will invest in more customer service officers, and soon start installing new electronic ticket machines at interchanges. We will also improve footpaths around schools as part of the Active Streets for Schools program.

“The ACT Government has also committed to increasing and renewing the Transport Canberra bus fleet, with our new blue buses increasingly visible on our roads. The growth of the fleet will be possible through the recommissioning of the Woden Bus Depot, adding to the current Belconnen and Tuggeranong sites.

“With the network now settled, the team at Transport Canberra will finalise the bus timetable before the end of the year to give Canberrans a clear idea of how they’ll get around in 2019,” Minister Fitzharris said.

A full timetable will be published later in the year before the network starts in early 2019.

Canberrans will be encouraged to provide ongoing feedback to Transport Canberra through the Transport Canberra website to help continuously improve the timetable and network more broadly.

Statement ends

 

To stay up to date with all public transport and planning issues in Canberra,join the PTCBR here and visit our Facebook Group.

School bus services restored to Network 19 based on feedback from the Canberra community – but is it the best long term strategy?

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Community consultation was impressive

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) are pleased that the ACT Government and Transport Planners have studied the 13000 pieces of feedback received through community consultation and announced changes. It’s a clear demonstration that effective community consultation can work well. We expect that other announcements arising out of this consultation will show the public that genuine concerns will be listened to.

PTCBR believe that Transport Canberra need to act on not just feedback, but actual evidence. Todays announcement (the Ministers media release is below) about restoring school services from 250 to around 240 dedicated school services (around 100 were proposed for Network 19) is a pragmatic decision, but one that needs to be revisited in the future as an expanded light rail and rapid bus network makes public transport quicker and more accessible for more Canberrans.

In the school bus discussion many bizarre claims about the public transport network have been made in an attempt to justify dedicated school buses. Transport planners need to make decisions based on data not anecdata. The public transport network is safe, and the interchanges are safe. Isolated incidents are not evidence of patterns. All passengers, including school age children travel through our transport interchanges every day in their tens of thousands, with few incidents occurring. There is more likelihood of a kid being bullied in a school bus than on a regular bus leaving an interchange, where Canberrans would call inappropriate behaviour out straight away.

 

“The ACT government has signalled a partial back down on sweeping cuts to school bus services proposed under its new public transport network, following backlash from principals and parents over student safety.”
School services impact local bus frequency

Adding around 100 dedicated school bus services back in to the school network takes those buses out of the peak hour fleet, and that will have an effect on local and rapid bus service frequency in Network 19. This is not the best outcome. It would be better for parents to raise independent children, confident enough to travel on a regular bus. PTCBR hope that over time the dedicated school bus service can be reduced, with more frequent local bus services near schools.

Transport Canberra advise PTCBR that patronage reviews on school services will be conduced annually, and that many of the school services that have been restored from the initial Network 19 proposal, have been altered with shorter trips and more direct school services.
Converting school service passengers to regular bus service passengers

If a parent chooses to live in one town centre and send their children to a school on the other side of town, that is a decision they have taken, and they shouldn’t complain about the travel time, and it especially precious to complain about losing a dedicated school bus. They can always send their child to a local school, that they could walk or ride a bike to.

Ultimately the PTCBR understand that if its a choice between a parent driving a child to school, or using a dedicated school bus, the bus is a better option, but we hope that over time as the regular bus service improves, parents will have the confidence in their children and the bus network, to let them travel with the other 60% of school children that travel to school on a regular bus every day.

The PTCBR await further announcements arising from the recently concluded community consultation around Network 19 and look forward to the introduction of an integrated bus and light rail transport network in 2019, that will transform Canberra.
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Key insights arising from community consultation on Network 19

Media release from TCCS Minister Meegan Fitzharris dated 20 September 2018

Community feedback on bus network to help make CBR better connected

The extensive bus consultation undertaken from June to August this year has heard that Canberrans support more frequent bus services that run into the evenings and on weekends and they want to feel safe when using public transport.

More than 13,000 pieces of feedback over a two month consultation period were received to help Transport Canberra shape its new network of more buses, more often, seven days a week according to a new Listening Report released today.

People also detailed a number of concerns about changes that were proposed to individual routes, as well as changes to Xpresso services and dedicated school bus services.

“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to our extensive consultation process on the new network.

“Currently only 8% of people are using our buses and this needs to change. Our new bus network will be designed to encourage greater public transport use as our city grows.

“Today I’ve released a high level Listening Report, which highlights the themes and feedback received during the consultation process.

“From this consultation, we heard people support more frequent buses and services that run into the evenings and on weekends. They told us they want to feel safe when using public transport and had questions about some students having to change buses on their way to school. People said they want more information on how the buses will run and an improved journey planner.

“Xpresso users provided feedback about changes to the services they use, and there were a large proportion of comments on individual services.

“My message to people is that we have heard your concerns and we are making changes to help ensure the network works for as many people as possible. While we can’t make changes to everything, we will do our best to balance the different views of existing users while developing a network which will attract new users.

“The full details of the changes we will make following this consultation will be announced in October, with ongoing discussions with a number of groups,” said Minister Fitzharris.

The ACT government wants more people to use public transport. At the moment only 4% of trips around our city are on public transport, compared to 78% by private vehicles.

Improving our public transport will help secure Canberra’s status as one of the world’s most liveable cities as our population continues to grow.

“As the new network is introduced we will continue to monitor feedback to help Canberrans use the new network.

“Once the new timetables are released later this year, Transport Canberra will embark on an education campaign to inform the community about the changes and how to plan their routes and access public transport ahead of the new network launch in early 2019,” Minister Fitzharris said.

Statement ends


To stay up to date with all public transport and planning issues in Canberra, join the PTCBR here and visit our Facebook Group.

PTCBR Network 19 submission – A new integrated public transport network using light rail and buses to grow Canberra’s public transport patronage

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) have made a submission on Network 19, the first integrated bus and light rail public transport network in the territories history, to the ACT Government. The PTCBR support the ACT Governments active transport and public transport programs, including the introduction of light rail and integrated public transport services. The continued budget focus placed by the Territory government on these important areas will improve Canberrans lives immediately, and for decades to come.

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Download the submission by clicking here

In our submission we are providing suggestions on Network 19 and possible future improvements to the planned integrated network and supporting infrastructure (including regional cooperation) that can be implemented.

We recommend:

  • a focus on connections between rapid and local bus services,
  • prioritising buses on our roads,
  • expanding Park and Ride,
  • resourcing on-demand travel properly,
  • extending the rapid bus network into Queanbeyan,
  • bringing regional NSW buses into the Canberra public transport and ticketing network; and
  • exploring a stand alone school bus fleet.

The PTCBR understand that any bus network consultation is going to be greeted with concern from existing passengers who are seeing their daily routines disrupted. We appreciate that for some people the complete redesign of the bus network to accommodate a more in-depth commitment to making rapid light rail and bus services the backbone of the territories public transport network, supported by more frequent and shorter local services connecting to that rapid backbone, may not initially seem to be a better overall network. Change can sometimes be difficult, but the PTCBR have looked at the proposed Network and believe it is the improvement that we need for the 21st century.

With some modifications, the proposed Network will resolve long standing complaints about the local bus network, and build on the success of the rapid bus network, while establishing light rail as the backbone future more frequent local services can connect to. It will enable Canberra to become a compact livable city, that can free itself of car dependence.

We thank the Government for the extensive consultation process they have undertaken, with many appearances at community groups, street stalls and also at a public meeting convened by the PTCBR for our members to ask questions. We are aware that some of the proposed local routes may need some finessing to work as intended, and understand that the purpose of a consultation process is to locate these issues and resolve them when a final Network plan is delivered in 2019.

We have encouraged our members to make individual submissions on specific local issues that they can provide detailed feedback on. Subsequently, this submission makes very few locally focused recommendations and looks at longer term recommendations and observations that Network 19 and the commencement of light rail stage one can bring about.

To stay up to date with all public transport and planning issues in Canberra, join the PTCBR here and visit our Facebook Group.

 

The rapid bus and light rail network as proposed under Network 19, with a Queanbeyan link added
The rapid bus and light rail network as proposed under Network 19, with a Queanbeyan link added

PTCBR Public meeting 8 Aug 2018 to discuss Network 19 and Light Rail Stages One and Two

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As Network 19 Consultation on the integrated bus/light rail public transport network comes to a close, TCCS are providing a Network Planner for our members to engage with. I’m sure we are very familiar with the proposals, and this is a good opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions.
Light Rail Stage One is being built right now, and vehicle testing has commenced. If you would like to know more about the testing and commissioning of the Gungahlin to Civic stage, Scott Lyall of TCCS will answer those questions.

Light Rail Stage Two has been in the news recently, with a federal Inquiry into the heritage aspects and approvals process (that three PTCBR Committee members appeared at). Pam Nelson of TCCS will update us on Stage Two and answer questions that we may have.

The meeting will be chaired by Deputy Chair Robert Knight. There will be an opportunity for members to ask questions and provide feedback to TCCS on these topical public transport issues..
The PTCBR meeting will be at:
5PM on 8 Aug 2018
Griffin Centre,
20 Genge St, Civic. 
The Agenda for the public meeting will be:

  • 5.00 – Chair report and lobbying update
  • 5.15 – Light Rail Stage 1 update
  • 5.25 – Light Rail Stage 2 update
    5.35 – Network 19 presentation and Consultation
  • 5.45 – 6PM Questions/discussion – moderated by PTCBR Deputy Chair Robert Knight
All members of the public are welcome to attend.
Membership renewal
For members seeking to renew their membership, forms will be available on the night (if your details have changed) and fees accepted if you have the exact money ($20 or $10 for any concession card holder). If you know someone that is seeking to become a member, please invite them to attend.

Network 19 Submission by PTCBR

The integrated bus/light rail network that commences in 2019 is a mass rapid transit spine supported by higher frequency local bus networks. This is a policy that the PTCBR supports. The Network 19 proposal currently out for consultation is a bold modal change from the bus networks that Canberra has been used to. It is a massive disruptive change that aims to increase public transport patronage from its current level.

The introduction of light rail will achieve patronage growth for Gungahlin and those adjacent to the light rail stage one corridor, but that increase also needs to occur in areas served only by bus (until further stages of the light rail network are built). Does the Network 19 proposal get this right? Can it be improved?

The PTCBR Committee are working on a submission on Network 19. Although PTCBR support the strategic approach, there are areas that PTCBR feel could be improved, and we will be providing that view in our submission, based on Committee and PTCBR member feedback.

Network 19 Consultation closes on August 10. Supporting documentation for Network 19 Rapid and local bus services can be found here:

A New Bus Network for Canberra (PDF)

Rapid Bus Fact Sheet (PDF)

Canberra Full Network 19 Map (PDF)

You can make your own submission directly at canberrabuses.com.au.

Next PTCBR Meeting
Our next public meeting will be ‘Public Transport in the Pub‘ – date to be announced shortly. It is aimed at being a more social type meeting, and less formal.

Thank you for your support in our public transport lobbying efforts. It is appreciated and has a real effect on public transport policy and improvements to the network both minor and major.

I look forward to speaking to you at a future meeting.
regards

Damien Haas
Chair, PTCBR

PTCBR Welcome consultation on Network 19

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Media Release: PTCBR Welcome consultation on Network 19

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) welcome the announcement of Network 19 and look forward to engaging with the Government and Transport Canberra on ensuring that the local services and enhanced rapid services suit the changing nature of Canberrans transport needs.

The introduction of light rail in late 2018 delivers a rare opportunity to introduce large numbers of new bus services, and extend operating hours, especially around Sunday services. The PTCBR expect to see increased local services in all parts of Canberra, but particularly in the outer fringes of Canberra in areas such as Tuggeranong and West Belconnen.

There are several important service elements that need attention:

  • extended weekend services, especially Sunday evening services
  • local bus services in new residential estates starting when residents begin moving in
  • a seven day network with consistent seven day route numbering
  • better bus station designs at the points in the network where local and rapid bus/light rail services intersect

The Network 19 consultation exercise offers the community a good opportunity to look at the entire network of public transport that is being created around a rapid transit spine. Light rail stage one, and expanded rapid buses deliver a viable alternative to the private car.

PTCBR Chair Damien Haas observed that “Network 19 is a good start on integrating light rail with buses, and it’s where Canberra needs to go. More frequent local bus services will mean that even if a person needs to change modes once, their overall trip times should reduce. This particularly impacts people living in the outer suburban areas.”

On the changes to the bus services around schools PTCBR Chair Damien Haas said that “These changes will also also benefit parents, children and local schools, with routes altered so buses pass more schools than under the previous bus networks. This should encourage parents to allow their children to use regular public transport, instead of driving kids to school.”
Mr Haas also observed that “We would like to see an increased focus on Demand Responsive Transport, Flexible Buses, Community buses and a more transparent mechanism to access those services. Many of these services exist but aren’t well known, especially to the people that really could utilise them such as the aged or disabled members of our community”.

PTCBR look forward to consulting its members and engaging in consultation with Transport Canberra to ensure that any issues identified during consultation can be altered before implementation.

The PTCBR are aware that these changes are significant and will have an impact on peoples travel patterns. “We don’t expect that 100% of Canberrans will be pleased with the massive changes, but the changes are consistent with the future public transport network we need to create for a more livable city. More frequent rapid transit integrated with more frequent local buses. That’s going to help people make that decision to leave the car at home, become a one car family or incorporate more cycling and walking into their daily trips to work, school, shopping or visiting friends.” Mr Haas said.

The changes to bus stops will be keenly observed by the PTCBR “It’s clear that there will be changes to bus stops with several hundred relocated or removed, and that will be noticed by people used to catching a bus from that spot for the last decade or more. Stops every 400 metres or so are fairly generous, and increasing that stop spacing by a hundred metres or so should introduce efficiencies in local services and route time savings. We’d like to see more covered stops as well as better lighting and seating associated with this change.” Mr Haas said.

PTCBR will be holding a meeting for its members in July to discuss Network 19 in more detail, and engaging with Transport Canberra throughout the consultation process.

Damien Haas is the Chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the Canberra regions peak public transport lobby group.