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.
The media release accompanying the release of the strategy is here:
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.
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.
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.
The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) has welcomed today’s release of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories’ (JSCNET) report on Commonwealth and Parliamentary approvals for the proposed stage 2 of the ACT light rail project, arguing that the report provides much-needed certainty around the second stage of Canberra’s most important infrastructure project.
The PTCBR made a submission to this inquiry and gave evidence at a public hearing earlier in the year, addressing the heritage and approvals process.
“We are happy see the committee make a number of common-sense recommendations around the design and approvals processes for light rail stage 2” Mr Damien Haas, Chair of the PTCBR said.
“The timely release of the committee’s report means that the ACT Government can get on with the job of delivering the crucial next stage of Canberra’s city-shaping light rail network”.
The six recommendations made in the JSCNET report cover a range of issues, including heritage, urban design and approvals processes. Recommendation 2 of the report outlines a two-stage Commonwealth approval process for light rail stage 2, involving:
An amendment to the National Capital Plan; and
NCA Works Approval and other Commonwealth approval processes, including Parliamentary Approval.
The PTCBR agrees with the committee that this is the most appropriate way forward, and will continue to strongly advocate for light rail stage 2 throughout the remainder of the public consultation processes.
Mr Haas said “Importantly the Committees report means that the NCA and the ACT Government can resume working on a light rail route through the Parliamentary Zone that can serve the people of Canberra, service national institutions and satisfy heritage concerns.”
“When people visiting Canberra in future years travel by light rail to visit the nations treasured institutions, they will be more able to appreciate how beautiful our capital is, than focusing on the road and looking for a carparking space.”
The PTCBR look forward to the next steps for light rail stage two:
the Governments response to the report
a route through the Parliamentary Zone being identified by the NCA and ACT Government,
a National Capital Plan amendment prepared, and
the business case for Woden to Civic light rail finalised,
followed by work commencing on extending our light rail network.
Damien Haas is the Chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the regions peak public transport lobby group representing Canberra’s public transport users.
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.
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.
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.
The recently released design documents for John Gorton Drive Stage 3B show a planned light rail route running in the median of John Gorton Drive north of the Molonglo River. The route then heads east along a planned extension of Bindubi Street, with a stop near the intersection servicing the planned residential estate of Whitlam.
This is the first instance of light rail being a key influence in the design of infrastructure in the Molonglo Valley.
“The Molonglo Valley has been designed around an ‘urban boulevard’ concept and is therefore ideally suited to a future light rail route,” PTCBR Committee Member Ryan Hemsley said.
“As a long-time resident of Weston Creek and a current resident of Molonglo, I look forward to seeing how the future stages of John Gorton Drive and Bindubi Street incorporate provisions for a light rail route to service our growing district”.
A draft concept plan included in the documentation shows three stops servicing the future suburbs of Molonglo Valley Stage 3. The route shown is largely consistent with the planned Woden to City via Weston Creek and Molonglo route outlined in the 2016 Light Rail Network Plan.
ACT Government population estimates have the Molonglo Valley growing by over 500% between 2016 and 2020. In this year alone, nine development applications for multi-unit sites in Denman Prospect have been lodged with the planning directorate.
The PTCBR believes that light rail will be a critical part of Molonglo’s infrastructure mix if it is to avoid many of the road congestion problems that have plagued Gungahlin.
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.
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.
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.
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
20 Genge St, Civic.
5.45 – 6PM Questions/discussion – moderated by PTCBR Deputy Chair Robert Knight
All members of the public are welcome to attend.
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:
Media release from TCCS Minister Meegan Fitzharris MLA:
City to Woden light rail planning well underway
Planning for light rail from the City to Woden is well underway, with the ACT Government releasing a mid‑year update on stage 2.
The ACT Government is committed to constructing light rail between Gungahlin and Woden via the City, Parkes and Barton as the backbone of its vision for a city-wide integrated public transport network. The government reaffirmed its commitment to developing light rail stage 2 with $12.5 million invested in progressing the project through the 2018-19 financial year.
The ACT Government expects to make a final investment decision in respect of stage 2 once greater clarity is achieved on the Commonwealth Government’s support for the project and any associated planning requirements.
Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said the next steps for the project included developing the design in close consultation with the National Capital Authority (NCA), making planning and environmental submissions, and undertaking further community and stakeholder consultation on the project. The project will also be considered by a Commonwealth Parliamentary committee inquiry in the coming days.
“Light rail from the Gungahlin to Woden will create a north-south public transport spine for Canberra, significantly improving transport accessibility in our region. Stage 2 from the City to Woden via Barton will cater for growing population and employment adjacent to the light rail corridor.
“The ACT Government is acutely aware of the national significance of many locations along the City to Woden corridor, particularly within the Parliamentary Zone.
“The design of the light rail alignment, stops and other features is being carefully managed to respect and enhance the heritage value of these locations.
“For example, as well as wire-free running, thought is being given to the simplified stops near landmarks such as Old Parliament House to reflect this iconic location. We are also considering other elements such as grassed tracks, similar to that in operation in Adelaide, to conceal the rail within the landscape of the national boulevard.
“Windsor Walk is also proposed to be revitalised to become a central linear park and continuous pedestrian spine connecting transport facilities, offices, a proposed retail plaza and landscaped recreational areas.
“Light rail will also revitalise the Woden Town Centre, by enhancing amenity and safety, improving access to the shopping district and employment hubs and increasing property values.
“Light rail stage 2 supports the revitalisation of suburbs along the corridor, creating more vibrant, community-focused, active and modern precincts.”
Minister Fitzharris said the ACT Government’s investment decision will be guided by a final business case for the project in coming months.
“Our business case can be finalised once we’ve worked through approval processes with the NCA and Commonwealth Government. However initial costings have been developed and are currently anticipated to be in the region of $1.3 to $1.6 billion.
“This is commensurate with the original cost estimates for the first stage of light rail, escalated to future dollars and reflecting additional costs associated with bridges, wire-free running, additional light rail vehicles and other factors.
“At this stage, we are looking to achieve approval of the business case in 2018-19, procurement in 2019-20, before construction would ultimately commence in 2020-21. Of course our timeframes will depend on Commonwealth support for the project, and associated planning requirements.”
Minister Fitzharris said the Joint Standing Committee Inquiry currently underway provides the ACT Government with an exciting opportunity to explain how light rail benefits Canberrans while supporting the Commonwealth Government’s national objectives and plans for the Parliamentary Zone.
“Light rail from the City to Woden will not only enhance access to the precinct, but will serve to demonstrate the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to our cities through its support of a modern, well integrated mass transit solution, helping to make our nation’s capital an even more liveable and sustainable city.
“The ACT Government will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth to progress these planning approvals,” said Minister Fitzharris.
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.
The federal government Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories is holding an inquiry into the ACT Governments light rail stage two project, from Civic to Woden via the Parliamentary Triangle.
The PTCBR have made a submission encouraging the Committee to recommend that the project proceed, and supporting the strong working relationship between the National Capital Authority and the ACT Government.
In launching the new inquiry, Chair of the Committee Mr Ben Morton MP said, “the land around the Federal Parliament is an important space for all Australians, and it is therefore appropriate that the Parliament has a role in ensuring that any proposals for change preserve this significance. The inquiry will also provide the ACT Government with an early indication of the Parliament’s view of its proposal.”
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories will inquire into and report on the development of stage two of the Australian Capital Territory light rail project, with regard to:
the relevant parliamentary approval processes for works within the Parliamentary zone;
the roles of the National Capital Authority and the Australian Government, and the associated approval processes;
possible impacts on the Parliamentary zone and Parliamentary precincts, including any impacts on the heritage values and national importance of the Parliamentary zone and our national capital; and
the identification of matters that may be of concern prior to formal parliamentary or Australian Government consideration of the project; and
any other relevant matter the Committee wishes to examine.
Media reports are here and here and here. The common theme is that Canberra Liberal Senator Zed Seselja believes that light rail along Commonwealth Avenue would create some form of commuting disaster. Senator Seselja has opposed light rail from the outset. It should be noted that Senator Seselja is not a member of the Committee assessing the light rail project.
This public transport project was supported at the 2016 ACT Assembly election, and community consultation since then has resulted in a route design that travels through Parkes and Barton, serving national attractions and many federal government departments and agencies. This second stage of light rail will link up the many accommodation providers located along Northbourne Avenue and around EPIC, enabling visitors to the nations capital to visit national attractions, and Parliament itself, by public transport.
The PTCBR strongly believe that it is the best public transport option for ACT residents, employees in the Parliamentary zone, and business and tourism visitors to Canberra.