April 30th, 2009 at 02:16am
Why do I get the feeling that this will turn in to another failed experiment very quickly?
Commuters can expect a bus every 15 minutes during peak times and every 30 minutes during off-peak times on high-demand weekday routes when the ACT Labor Government trials new rapid transit buses in 2009-10.
Chief Minister and Minister for Transport Jon Stanhope revealed today that the Territory Budget will provide $1 million for the new service, REDEX – Rapid Express Direct, to be trialled in 2009-10 between 6:30am and 7pm on weekdays during school terms.
REDEX 1 will be a return service to Gungahlin, Dickson, City, Russell, Barton, Woden, Erindale and Tuggeranong. REDEX 2 will be a return service to Kippax, Belconnen, City, Russell, Barton, Woden, Erindale and Tuggeranong.
Buses will run every 15 minutes from 6:30am to 9:30am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm and every 30 minutes at all other times.
It immediately occurs to me that Weston has been completely missed from this service, meaning that Westonites need to travel to Woden to utilise it. Fyshwick is also missing, as is deepest darkest southern Tuggeranong (a fairly large area) and the Eastern areas surrounding Red Hill.
I’ve said it before (although I don’t recall ever saying it on here) and I’ll say it again. The only way to get people to use the bus service in droves is to run direct centre-to-centre runs, in both directions, at regular intervals at all times of the day and weekend.
When I worked in Weston, the bus was not even a remotely viable option due to the fact that, in order to get to Weston at 8am, I needed to be out the door shortly after 6am. Much easier to drive to work at 7:45am. When ACTION eventually did produce an express service from the City to Weston, they decided that people would only need to go from Weston to the City in the morning, and the reverse in the afternoon. A direct City to Weston service in the morning would have made the bus a viable option, even though it would have taken longer than driving.
I really doubt that ACTION are going to tap in to a market of Gungahlinites who travel to Tuggeranong each day…with that service visiting Dickson and Russell and Barton, I wouldn’t be surprised if people will be able to drive directly from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong, back to Gungahlin and to Tuggeranong again in the time it will take that bus to get there. In fact, when the service is operational, I intend on testing my theory.
ACTION and Mr. Stanhope, direct centre-to-centre services (and preferably, direct suburb to centre services in peak hour) are the only way you’ll attract a large influx of passengers. Yes, it will be expensive, but with Canberra growing, do you really think a bus service through almost every part of Canberra is going to be quick enough for most people to put up with?
Oh…I just spotted another missing town centre…Hume!
Place these words in a different order: elephant, white.