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FAQ

The New Bus Network

Canberra’s public transport network is evolving into a Rapid Network of light rail and bus.

We are building a seven day, every day modern public transport network. A network that will prepare us for growth and ensure we remain one of the most liveable cities in the world.

The Rapid routes form one of the most crucial pieces of Canberra’s future integrated transport network.

The new network will feature five new Rapid routes, together with new local routes, creating a streamlined light rail-ready bus network. The proposed new local routes have been designed to provide connectivity through our suburbs and regions and connect to the Rapid services. The ten Rapid routes will be the spine of the network, providing connectivity between our town centres, suburbs and the City. Residents will connect into the Rapid network with local bus services.

As our city grows, more Canberrans lead varied lives, with many not conforming to the traditional nine to five lifestyle. The proposed transport network supports this, with more frequent services running seven days a week.

This is a critical first step towards ensuring our public transport system meets the need of our growing city and gives Canberrans the chance to leave their cars at home more often, while ensuring our city remains accessible for people who rely on public transport.

The new public transport network will also enable seamless connections between buses and light rail, including preparing Canberra for the planned Light Rail Stage 2 connection between the City and Woden and future extensions as part of the ACT Government master plan.

The new network is expected to commence in January 2019.

Timetables will be made available in late 2018 following community consultation and finalisation of the new network.

There will be services at least every 15 minutes along Rapid transport corridors from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and frequently at other times, such as evenings and weekends. Most local services will run every 20-30 minutes at peak times, and every 30-60 minutes during the day, in the evening and on weekends. See regional fact sheets for details of the planned minimum frequency for each route. Frequency will build over time as the network expands. Timetables will be made available in late 2018 following community consultation and finalisation of the new network.

The planned network is designed to make it easier to use public transport for more than just getting to work in the city on weekdays. To make it easier for Canberrans to leave their cars at home when they go shopping, run errands, catch up with friends and family or go sports matches and events on weekends, many bus routes will start earlier in the morning or run later at night than they do now.

The planned bus services will operate from at least 6.30am until midnight Monday to Saturdays, and until 10pm Sundays and Public Holidays.

Xpressos have been replaced by more rapid services in the proposed new network.

Our 4 existing rapid routes will carry around 7.4 million customers in 2017/18, or about 40% of our total boardings. Today’s 19 Xpresso routes carry less than 4% of our customers. By converting Xpresso routes to rapid services, we can carry more passengers and provide greater travel flexibility.

The current Xpressos have drawbacks – if you happen to miss your Xpresso the choices to get to or from where you’re going may be quite constrained. There are also only a limited number of Xpressos – they aren’t a ‘turn-up and go’ service.

More rapids means you can travel at different times of the day knowing that if you miss one, another will be right behind. Rapids operate for longer hours, are more frequent, and will operate on the same route seven days a week.

What’s New & Benefits

In Phase One of consultation Canberrans told us that they would like three key features from the transport network:

  • quicker trip times and more direct routes;
  • more frequent and reliable services; and
  • increased services across on and off peak times.

We have taken your feedback and the proposed network will provide:

  • ten Rapid Routes;
  • greater frequency seven days a week at peak and off-peak times; and
  • local routes that connect to light rail and rapid bus routes.

The proposed new bus network will replace:

  • longer and less direct routes within suburban areas;
  • different routes and route numbers on weekend timetables;
  • duplication of services.

All routes across the network will have new seven day a week numbers. Some bus services will no longer travel down the same streets and on some services there may be fewer stops. More direct routes and better spaced stops will help speed up journey times.

Canberrans will get where they need to be on a simpler and more direct network.

Rapids will help residents and visitors get to and from events, sports matches, work, doing errands, catching up with friends and family during the evening and at the weekend across the city.

Rapid services will run at least every 15 minutes along core transport corridors, from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and continuing into the evening with less frequency. Improved service levels can drive an increase in public transport patronage across the city, taking cars off the road by providing a genuine alternative to driving.

All Rapid Bus Routes will operate over the weekends, with a general frequency of every 15 to 30 minutes or better, building over time. The seven day network allows people to take the same trip every day, making public transport easier to use and understand.

Connection & Accessibility

The Canberran community has told us that they want:

  • quicker trip times and more direct routes;
  • more frequent and reliable services; and
  • increased services across on and off peak times.

To provide more frequent and reliable services, it is necessary to remove long, winding bus routes which work their way slowly from the outer suburbs to the town centre or city.

In the new network, passengers will instead be able to access more frequent local services which will connect with direct Rapid services at town centres all day, every day. This approach will provide a consistent, reliable network which provides passengers with greater flexibility in their transport options all through the week.

Public transport connects Canberrans with the places they want to go.

This means that public transport needs to go close to key destinations such as employment hubs, schools, recreational activities, and the city and other town centres by the most direct route. Highways and parkways are more suited to cars and trucks.

Redesigning the network means that the Transport Canberra fleet can operate efficiently across Canberra, providing a higher level of service to more people.

The new network plan introduces service into new areas of northern Gungahlin including Moncrieff, Throsby, Jacka and Taylor. Services for will introduced to Lawson upon completion of the local road networks.

The network also supports the growth of the Molonglo Valley through a local service to Cooleman Court, Woden and a direct all day service to the City.

The extension of Rapid services to Kippax will provide capacity for future growth in West Belconnen.

The growth in fleet and depot will ensure that Transport Canberra will have the capacity to meet the public transport demands of our growing city into the future.

The ACT Government has committed to increasing and renewing the Transport Canberra bus fleet, with 40 additional buses starting to arrive, with a commitment to order an additional 40 buses in 2019-20.

The growth of the fleet will be possible through the recommissioning of the Woden Bus Depot, adding to the current Belconnen and Tuggeranong sites.

The fleet growth will be used to increase frequency and capacity across the network, as well as ensuring that bus services are well positioned to grow into new areas of Canberra.

No. The Special Needs Transport Program is independent of the overall network design and will continue to operate as it currently does.

Transport Canberra is committed to ensuring that a bus service is available for visitors to the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). We are currently investigating options for better service than the existing route 88/988. At the moment this service has low patronage and does not provide a good service to visitors to the prison.

We are looking into utilising a smaller vehicle than a full size bus, for example a minibus. This would be designed to provide good connections to high frequency public transport services that start and end at a major interchange, Woden Bus Station and/or City Interchange and to possibly also connect with other locations. It could also link with other flexible and community bus services and include a stop at the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service in Narrabundah.

Transport Canberra is still evaluating high level options for delivering this service. It is expected to commence from early 2019, when all bus services across the city change. Should a new service not be provided to AMC as part of the new network, Transport Canberra expects to continue to provide a regular bus service for visitors to AMC.

Fares & Ticketing

Fares will not be impacted by the introduction of the new Rapid Network.

MyWay will be fully integrated across Canberra’s public transport systems, ensuring that passengers only require a single ticket to travel on the public transport network.

For one fare, you can travel on bus or light rail or any combination for up to 90 minutes.

There will not be a transfer penalty or premium fare for use of the light rail service.

For more information about fares and how to get a MyWay card, visit transport.act.gov.au/myway- and-fares.

Schools

The ACT Government has designed a new bus network that will provide more buses, more often across the ACT.

This new rapid bus network will transform the way Canberrans move around the city and provide significant benefits for the Canberra population, including school students. Frequency, reliability and accessibility are the cornerstones of Canberra’s redesigned public transport system.

In order to deliver this network, bus frequency will need to increase. In order to deliver this higher frequency network, dedicated school services need to be redesigned or integrated to complement the general public transport network, particularly during the morning peak travel to school and work period.

This will require more efficient use of the general bus network during peak travelling periods to allow travel by all passengers, including school students.

In order for the new network to run efficiently and effectively, dedicated school services need to be redesigned or integrated to complement the general public transport network and create more frequent, reliable and integrated mixed-use routes.

The new network will provide a Rapid or Local service in close proximity to almost every government and non-government school in the ACT with additional frequency to ensure there is sufficient capacity for student transport.

Timetables will be made available in late 2018 following community consultation and finalisation of the new network.

An information brochure has been developed for every school in the ACT on the planned changes to the public transport network. Find your child’s school here.

Like most cities, on the new network students will use variations of the general public transport network, mixed-use routes and dedicated school routes. 60% of students who travel to school by bus are already using the general public transport network.

In order for the new network to run efficiently and effectively, dedicated school services need to be redesigned or integrated to complement the general public transport network and create more frequent, reliable and integrated mixed-use routes.

A draft School Bus Policy was developed for community consultation alongside the new bus network and is now under review in consideration of the communities feedback.

The new network has been designed to provide access to as many schools as possible in the Territory, and will give students greater flexibility when commuting to school.

Under the new system, more school students will be able to use the general public transport network to get to and from school and other activities across the city. The MyWay data shows us that almost 60% of school students who get to school by bus are already travelling on the regular network. The new Rapid Network provides for this by increasing student access to more bus services

We are committed to ensuring school students can travel on public transport. The new Rapid Network provides for this by increasing student access to bus services, which will allow students greater opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and after-school employment. Some schools are more isolated from the general network and require dedicated routes for those locations.

Further to the optimised bus network, the ACT Government also encourages students to use active travel in the first instance to commute to school wherever possible. Whether it involves walking, riding a bike, scooter or skateboard, catching public transport, or even a combination of each, active travel is a fun, safe and healthy way to travel to and from school.

There are some areas in the proposed network where a regular service will not be able to provide suitable access to school sites.

To ensure this access is available, the network will provide school day only or ‘S-Trip’ regular route services. These trips will be clearly marked in timetables and make minor diversions to provide access to schools that may be isolated from the regular network.

There are already 61 of these S-Trips each day in the current network that are used to ensure students can be dropped closer to schools where circumstances require it.

No. The ACT Government is committed to supporting school students to get to school. The ACT Government currently subsidises school student transport, with fares for school students set at lower levels than other fares. School student transport will continue to be subsidised, including through the Student Transport Program.

Yes. Transport Canberra will provide customer service staff at major interchanges to monitor and assist students with making connections to and from school. All major stations are also supported by CCTV to assist us to monitor children for improved safety.

The design of local and dedicated routes aims to provide access within school priority enrolment areas. Students travelling outside local priority areas may need to make a connection at a town centre of other major location.

We are working to make it as convenient and safe as possible for school aged students to walk from home or public transport to and from their schools.

 The ACT Government has introduced a School Crossing Supervisor program to 20 schools across Canberra.

The ACT Government is also delivering the Active Streets for Schools program to 25 schools in the ACT, with an extra 50 to be rolled out. This program includes infrastructure improvements, such as better footpath connections, new pram ramps and the relocation of bike storage facilities.

Using the general bus network will mean an increased frequency of services, every 15 minutes for rapid services and 30 minutes for non-rapid services during peak times. This will mean that students who miss their bus will be able to catch the next one.

Active travel is one of the easiest and most time efficient ways to ensure children receive the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Whether it involves walking, riding a bike, scooter or skateboard, catching public transport, or even a combination of each, active travel is a fun, safe and healthy way to travel to and from school.

 

The design of local and dedicated routes aims to provide access within school priority enrolment areas. Students travelling outside local priority areas may need to make a connection at a town centre of other major location.