October 2nd, 2009 at 01:03pm
Back in April, Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope was very excited about his announcement of a new “express” bus which would go from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong via a convoluted and slow route encompassing many parts of Canberra. The idea was to get people in far out places to the employment hubs of Mitchell, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle quickly…something which didn’t seem overly likely based on the planned routes.
This week Jon Stanhope announced an “improved” version of the REDEX express bus, although I have to dispute the appropriateness of using the word “improved” to describe something which hasn’t started. REDEX is no longer the express bus for Belconnen, Dickson, Woden, Erindale and Tuggeranong residents, as “improved” is Turnip-code for “reduced” and the bus will now only travel to Mitchell, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle from Gungahlin.
The trial will now operate between Gungahlin to Canberra Railway Station, Kingston, travelling via Mitchell, the City, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle.
The new service, REDEX – Rapid Express Direct – will operate on weekdays with an improved service frequency of 15 minutes from 7 am to 7 pm. To improve travel times it will stop only at specially marked stops.
The trial, which will cost $1 million, will commence on Monday 16 November and continue until the end of June 2010.
This bus makes more sense than the previous idea of sending it halfway around the world on its way to anywhere, but it also means that even more places miss out on an express bus to the employment hubs. Sure, we have the Xpresso buses, but they only operate during peak times. I fail to see why Gungahlin should get a 15-minutely 12-hour-a-day bus service to the employment hubs if everyone else has to miss out.
Admittedly, this is a trial, and Gungahlin is probably a good place to conduct a trial, so if it lives up to expectations, perhaps then we will see similar services replace the existing Xpresso services for the rest of Canberra.
The one other downside to the reduction of this service is that Gungahlin loses the psuedo-interchange bus it never had. REDEX would have provided Gungahlinites with a through-connection to every other major town centre in Canberra. In lieu of that, perhaps it is time that ACTION extended the interchange service from Belconnen to Gungahlin…I don’t understand why it didn’t happen years ago.
The most disappointing thing of all though, is that I won’t get the opportunity to drive from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong and back to Gungahlin and on to Tuggeranong again in the time it takes the bus to travel from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong via the rest of Canberra.
It is good to see the bus being cut down to a more sane length. Hopefully it will be replicated in other town centres soon. It could replace a lot of existing bus services quite easily, and be much more useful than many of them.