The New Bus Network

What is the New Bus Network?

Through two phases of consultation you’ve told us you want more buses, more often. This network delivers that. Thanks to community feedback on our draft network, we’ve made 37 updates across the originally proposed 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 integrated 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 features ten Rapid routes, together with new local routes, creating a streamlined light rail-ready bus network that is ready to grow along with our city. 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 form the spine of the network, moving people across our city by providing connectivity between our town centres, suburbs and the City centre. Residents can connect into the Rapid network with local bus services and active travel.

Why is the New Bus Network being introduced?

As our city grows, more Canberrans lead varied lives, with many not conforming to the traditional nine to five lifestyle. The new integrated public transport network supports this, with more frequent services running seven days a week that continues to grow along with our City.

Delivering a new network 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.

When will the new network commence?

The new network will begin on Saturday 27 April 2019, with school services starting when term two begins on Monday 29 April. Timetables will be released in early March.

What’s next?

With the announcement of the finalised network structure, Transport Canberra will continue to roll out the network with the next key point the release of timetables in early 2019.

There will also be continued engagement with the community to work through the transition to the new network.

Will the new bus network commence prior to the launch of Light Rail?

With light rail services commencing in the end of 2018, the new bus network will commence in early 2019.

When will timetables be available so I can plan my journey?

Timetables will be published in early 2019 following finalisation of the new network.

Transport Canberra is also developing an improved journey planner to help customers understand and use the new network, which will be available later in 2018.

Further information will continue to be made available to our customers to help ensure that everyone can transition to the new network.

How often will my bus run?

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.

How early and late will my bus run?

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 attend sports matches and events on weekends, many bus routes will start earlier in the morning or run later at night than they do currently.

Transport Canberra has committed to operate services from at least 6.30am until midnight Monday to Saturdays, and until 10pm Sundays and Public Holidays. More detailed service times will be made available once the timetables are published in early 2019.

What changes have been made to peak bus routes?

Through two phases of consultation you’ve told us that you want high frequency services that run later during the week and on weekends. Xpresso services don’t deliver this and have been replaced by more rapid services in the new network.

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

The new network does feature some Peak Only Bus Routes from southern Tuggeranong.  These services have been introduced following strong feedback from customers in this area about the proposed changes and the potential very large increase to travel times for some customers if those peak bus routes were discontinued.

In order to provide resources to operate these Peak Bus Routes, the Rapid 4 will now terminate at the Tuggeranong Town Centre, instead of continuing to Lanyon Marketplace. Customers travelling from southern Tuggeranong will able to catch Rapid 5 to Erindale, Woden, the Inner South and the City. Rapid 5 will run frequently all day, seven days a week or use local services to make connections to the Rapid 4 at the Tuggeranong Bus Station.

What's new and the benefits

What exactly is different from today?

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 new network will provide:

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

The 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, increasing frequency and better spaced stops will help speed up journey times as the network grows.

What is different from the consultation network released in June?

Based on feedback fromCanberrans, we’ve made 37 changes to Rapid and local services. Some of the biggest changes have been:

  • extending the Rapid 4 from the City to Belconnen to provide frequent and direct services between Tuggeranong, Woden, the City and Belconnen;
  • introduction of Peak Bus Routes for southern Tuggeranong;
  • continuing all local services from Weston Creek to Woden; and
  • improving local services in south west Belconnen, to provide better access to Kippax, local school and the Belconnen Town Centre through the introduction of a new route.

The Government also heard the concerns many Canberrans had around proposed changes to dedicated school services, and has redesigned the school bus network to make it easier for students to get to school. The new network will include over 200 dedicated school services every school day, compared to the consultation network and has more buses stopping on school grounds. You can see what services will be available for your school.

You can see a map of the changes made to Rapid and local services.

What hasn’t changed from the consultation network released in June?

The key principles for the design of a better public transport network for our city have not changed. For some years, we have heard from Canberrans that they want:

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

While many changes have been made in response to feedback from Canberrans, not every change that was suggested in consultation was made. The Government considered each change against the design principles for the network and taking into account the number of customers who use existing services.

Many potential changes were not made to because they would disadvantage more people than they would benefit or they would reduce the Government’s capacity to provide more frequent services.

What are the benefits of the New Bus Network?

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

The new network also supports the Government in growing the public transport network over time, with frequency able to increase as investment in a new depot and fleet is delivered.

Connection and Accessibility

Why do I have to change buses?

The Canberra 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.

Why are buses not on arterial roads?

Public transport connects Canberrans with the places they want to go. To be successful and be useful to as many people as possible, services need to run to, from and through destinations.

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.

How will the new network service new and growing areas of the City?

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 which will increase in frequency and capacity over time.

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.

Will there be more buses?

The ACT Government has committed to increasing and renewing the Transport Canberra bus fleet. The first 40 of an additional 80 buses have been delivered, with a commitment to order an additional 40 buses in 2019-20.

The new buses also include 10 additional high capacity articulated vehicles, to help ensure that more capacity can be delivered on the busiest service corridors.

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.

Will this impact the delivery of Special Needs Transport (SNT)?

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

How will I get to the Alexander Maconochie Centre?

It is not necessary to use a full size bus for a service to the AMC, as few customers travel to AMC by bus. These buses can be better used on other routes.

Transport Canberra is planning to introduce a service for visitors to the AMC, which will likely be operated in smaller vehicles. More information will be available in early 2019.

Fares and Ticketing

Will this affect fares?

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 need one ticket and pay one fare to travel on the public transport network.

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/tickets-and-myway

Will I be able to use the same MyWay card on both buses and light rail?

As part of integrating public transport system for the ACT, you will only require one MyWay card which you will able to use on both light rail and buses paying one ticket, one fare.

Schools

Why is the ACT Government changing school transport?

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 higher frequency network, dedicated school services have been redesigned or integrated to complement the general public transport network, particularly during the morning peak travel to school and work period.

While the number of dedicated school services will be similar to what Transport Canberra runs today, the way we run school buses will change. School bus routes will generally be shorter to reduce the time it takes students to get to school, and they will provide more opportunities for students to connect to local and Rapid services. Additionally, local and Rapid services have been designed to provide good access to as many schools as possible across our city.

You can see what services will be available for your school.

What is changing for Canberra school transport?

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.

While the number of dedicated school services will be similar to what Transport Canberra runs today, the way we run school buses will change. School bus routes will generally be shorter to reduce the time it takes students to get to school, and they will provide more opportunities for students to connect to local and Rapid services. Additionally, local and Rapid services have been designed to provide good access to as many schools as possible across our city.

When will timetables be available so I can plan my journey?

Timetables will be published in early 2019 following finalisation of the new network.

Transport Canberra is also developing an improved journey planner to help customers understand and use the new network, which will be available later in 2018.

What does this mean for my child’s school?

You can see what services will be available for your school.

Does this mean school children will now be expected to travel with adults they do not know?

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.

How will children get to school on the new network?

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.

Will the proposed routes provide minor diversions to get students closer to 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.

These services are designed to ensure that they are compatible with individual school bell times in the morning and afternoons.

Will this mean students will pay more to travel by bus?

No. Students will continue to pay the same fare to travel to school on Transport Canberra bus services, whether they are using a dedicated school service, light rail, a Rapid or local bus or multiple different services.

The ACT Government will continue to offer reduced fares for all ACT school students, and free travel to and from school will continue to be available for eligible students through the Student Transport Program.

Will supervision be provided at major stations for students making connections?

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.

All Transport Canberra buses are also fitted with CCTV which can be reviewed in the event of any incident occurring.

What else is the ACT Government doing to make accessing schools safer?

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.

What will happen if my child misses the bus?

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.

What is active travel?

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.

Will students need to make connections?

MyWay ticketing data shows that 30% of students who get to school by public transport change buses on a typical school day. Connecting across a public transport network is common across many jurisdictions, especially for students travelling to schools that are outside of their local area.

The design of local and dedicated routes aims to provide access within school priority enrolment areas for public schools. For non-Government schools, services have been designed based on how students currently use the bus network. Students travelling to schools outside their priority enrolment area or a long distance across the city may need to make a connection at a town centre of other major location.

Will this impact the delivery of Special Needs Transport (SNT)?

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

Feedback

How can I provide further feedback regarding the new network?

Transport Canberra always welcomes feedback on public transport services. You can provide feedback via the Transport Canberra website, under https://www.transport.act.gov.au/contact-us/feedback.