Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury says the new network has been developed based on patronage data from the MyWay system and feedback from bus passengers and drivers.
“The entire network has been reviewed with a focus on providing more direct routes, better connections and increased frequency,” he says.
“However to allow for increased frequency and more direct routes there does need to be some trade-offs. For example, to make services more direct, the walking distance for some people to get to a bus stop might be increased. The new network still meets the minimum requirement in the Transport for Canberra policy with 95 per cent of residences being within 500 metres of a bus stop ‘as the crow flies’.
“In addition, it is proposed that, while the Red and Blue Rapid evening services will continue, late evening suburban services with low passenger numbers will finish earlier allowing for more services during the day when there is higher demand.”
Highlights of the proposed new network for 2014 include a new service linking Molonglo to Woden and Cooleman Court with a peak hour Xpresso to the City, a new Rapid service between Gungahlin and Belconnen and improved services into the Parliamentary Triangle, including two new dedicated morning peak services from Woden and services from Gungahlin which now extend into the Triangle rather than terminate in Civic.
Mr Rattenbury says proposed changes to the bus service build on other investments such as bus priority measures, bus station and stop upgrades, new buses, NXTBUS – the real time passenger information system – and light rail.
But Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe claims the changes, in particular Gungahlin bus services, undermine the ACT Government’s light rail strategy.
“Rather than treating Gungahlin Town Centre as a hub, which would be required for light rail, ACTION will now run continuous services to the City, Barton and Russell from numerous Gungahlin suburbs,” Mr Coe says.
“Whilst this is probably a positive for commuters, it further undermines the Government’s case for light rail. If the Government was serious about working towards light rail, they would be bolstering Gungahlin Town Centre as a hub by making people change buses onto express services, therefore simulating what light rail would.”
Consultation on proposed changes closes Monday 14 October 2013. For more information visit timetotalk.act.gov.au