A new vision for Canberra’s buses

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MEEGAN Fitzharris has announced a timetable for the rollout of Transport Canberra’s future Rapid Bus Network, which will include more rapid services, over 100 new jobs, including 80 drivers, 80 new buses, the design of a new Northside depot, and an investment of over $100 million to give Canberrans a real alternative to driving, alleviate road congestion and ensure our integrated public transport system grows with our city.

Meegan announced a plan to grow the Rapid Bus Network from two services to nine over the next four years, in addition to stage one of the city-wide light rail network.

“The first additions to the rapid bus network in 2017 will be the extension of the Blue Rapid to Lanyon, completing the Blue Rapid link from Kippax to the Lanyon Valley, a new Green Rapid from Woden to the City via Manuka and Barton, and the Black Rapid from Belconnen to Gungahlin,” Meegan said.

“The Rapid Bus Network will integrate high frequency buses with the first and future stages of light rail as well as other regular and peak express services.

“Labor introduced the rapid bus network, and we have gradually been extending it to new areas. We know the rapid buses are hugely popular because they are frequent, they run every 15 minutes or better and they go where we know people want to go. During 2015-16 Blue Rapid services carried more than 4 million passengers, and the Red Rapid carried more than 1 million passengers.

“Transport Canberra has been working hard to analyse our MyWay data and customer feedback including through the Transport Canberra survey to develop a clear plan for the rollout of our rapid network, which the Labor government started in 2009 and outlined in Transport for Canberra in 2012.

“The new Rapid Bus Network will be supported by an additional $55 million investment for services, at least 100 new jobs, and $51 million for 80 new buses and the design of a new depot in the north of Canberra.

“I’m really excited about the future of public transport in the ACT. Next year we will double our Rapid Bus Network, and we have a clear plan to roll out more rapid services.”

Other rapid services will include:

  • Woden to City via Weston Creek (2018)
  • Belconnen to Watson via Dickson (2018)
  • Tuggeranong to City via Erindale (2019)
  • Lanyon to Airport via Barton (2020)
  • Belconnen to Airport via City (2020)

“These services will be phased in to ensure we can deliver the best public transport network for our city. We will ensure it integrates with walking and cycling infrastructure, our Park and Ride facilities, and that services are direct and take people where they want to go.

“It will also ensure that we can reallocate the 1.2 million bus kilometres that will be freed up by the first stage of the light rail network.

“These improvements to the Rapid Bus Network will be on top of our plans to deliver light rail, trial electric buses, reform our ticketing system, build more Park and Rides and Bike and Rides, regulate innovative new services like ride sharing and car sharing, smart parking and autonomous vehicles.

“It’s all part of our plan to keep Canberra moving, and improve public transport for you, no matter where you live,” said Minister Fitzharris.

UPDATE: The Liberals’ Alistair Coe has made a furious response:

ACT Labor’s bad copy of the Liberal bus plan shows a Government in damage control, said Alistair Coe, Shadow Minister for Transport.

In March, the Liberals released an overhaul of the bus system with right rapid bus routes, a new parkway express, and other significant reforms.

At the time, Transport Minister Ms Fitzharris said the rapid plan wasn’t needed, would add congestion and was unaffordable.

Now, the Government has done a second-rate copy which is years away from being implemented.

“Not only are the chosen routes slower, they are years away from being implemented,” Mr Coe said.

“It is ridiculous to say that they will add a bus route in 2020. If it is needed, why don’t they do it now?

“ACT Labor has money for a slow tram but not for rapid buses.

“Today’s amateur announcement shows that this is just desperate political fix.

“Labor’s announcement also shows that buses are the future for public transport in Canberra, not trams,” concluded Mr Coe

For genuine reforms to public transport in Canberra, visit canberrastransportfuture.com.au

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