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Trams, Trains & Buses

October 8th, 2005 at 12:03am

John B1_B5 had a rather interesting article about a Brisbane 400 Series Tram (circa 1958) on his blog recently. In it he mentions that the trams in Brisbane were very efficient “The beauty about the trams was that there was always one coming in the distance, and if it was too crowded, you just waited for the next one.”

Brisbane apparently had one of the best tram systems in the world and “a lot of Brisbane residents are STILL saying that it was a mistake to phase out the trams”.

Brisbane 400 Series Tram
Image courtesy John B1_B5

This got me thinking, with the rise in petrol prices recently, people are moving to public transport in droves, the only issue is that the people managing the local bus service (ACTION) know about as much about managing public transport as a tinned sardine does. They seem to be doing their utmost best to make travelling by bus a pain (Flexibus, Constantly making a mess of, and changing, timetables, seemingly at random, introducing uncomfortable and relatively useless green monstrosities, etc…) with the full blessing of the ACT government. (previously documented on this blog in numerous articles.)

The ACT government want to build an expensive busway which will cut two minutes from the trip between Belconnen and Civic, which will never get built because of groups like Save The Ridge and completely ignores the rest of the population. (At one stage, the minister responsible for the busway declared that it would cut 15 minutes from the trip, effectively getting you to Civic two minutes before you leave Belconnen, and vice versa)

Light Rail has been brought up as a possibility a number of times, but the seemingly useless local government have ignored it over and over and over.

This is what I would do with local public transport.

Light Rail going directly between town centres (IE. Gungahlin to Belconnen, Gungahlin to Civic, Gungahlin to Woden, Gungahlin to Tuggeranong, Belconnen to Civic, Belconnen to Woden, Belconnen to Tuggeranong, Civic to Woden, Civic to Tuggeranong, Woden to Tuggeranong and vice versa on each). This would be a high speed and quick service which would be expandable in the future and would be much quicker than current car transport and bus transport.

Trams travelling around town centres. Town Centres tend to be fairly large, they can be walked through, but it takes time, time which could be saved by having a low-medium speed tram service through the town centres, this would ease the problem of people getting off the bus/train at an interchange twenty minutes walk from their office on a rainy day.

Local Area Buses: Firstly, scrap Flexibus, buses are not taxis, taxis are, let it be. Then, buses going directly between a suburb and the town centre (so Braddon to Civic, Banks to Tuggeranong etc), these buses would go through most streets in the suburb, which would provide convenience to the commuter, and then go straight to the town centre…no more waiting through an archaic array of other suburbs.

I would also have area buses which would go from a town centre, through the main streets of a number of suburbs and then to a town centre (either the one it started at, or another one if the suburb is halfwayish between the two centres).

I would also release a mandate that the bus timetables be designed to get people to their destinations quickly, rather than sometime next week as tends to be the case at the moment. Why ACTION insist on timetables that get buses travelling at 30km/h is beyond me.

Naturally I would have combined areas for the bus/train/tram interchanges, this would make it much easier to use the services, I’m sure some planners would make sure these various centres are a long way apart, but that would defeat the purpose of useful and efficient public transport.

I would also ensure that all services use the same tickets.

I like this plan so much that I am now going to email it to various people who may be in a position to do something about it, or perhaps bring it to the attention of those who can do something about it.


Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. John B1_B5  |  October 8th, 2005 at 1:01 am

    Sounds like a good comprise to me ….. light rail and buses to connect the town centres, and the use of trams to get around WITHIN the town centres. Way to go !

  • 2. John B1_B5  |  October 9th, 2005 at 9:01 am

    The trams would have 4 doors on each side for easy entry (no lining up to pay the driver ) and each tram would have a driver and a fare collector (providing extra jobs for the Territory ). Commuters could just get on a tram at anytime and pay the fare collector on the tram . ( prepaid ‘discount’ tickets that covered a tram trip anywhere within a town centre for a certain period would also be available ), but for the part time and casual traveller, paying the fare collector on the tram would be the better option . This means that trams wouldn’t have to stop for long periods while passengers lined up to pay the driver !

  • 3. John B1_B5  |  October 11th, 2005 at 8:33 am

    Also , the trams would not necessarily have to use overhead power lines like the one pictured above. They could be powered through the tracks , or by some other means .

  • 4. Samuel  |  October 19th, 2005 at 6:26 pm

    I notice that my suggestions made it into The Chronicle’s Letters To The Editor section (18/10/2005). They cut it down a bit and put it into the second Letters segment, which is on page 22 in the Northside edition.


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