On 22 August, 2017 the GCC wrote (via email) to the Minister for Transport highlighting our long-held concerns about the lag in the provision of bus services to new suburbs, particularly Jacka stage 1 and Moncrieff.
The GCC received a response to this email on 3 January 2018 (included below). Consistent with what Transport Canberra reported at the GCC meeting in November, 2017 this issue is not going to be addressed until the rollout of the new bus network introduction with the changes associated with Light Rail’s introduction. The response includes quote a bit of additional detail, including a summary of major road projects.
If you have any feedback on this update, please let us know.
Meegan Fitzharris MLA
Member for Yerrabi
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Minister for Transport and City Services Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research
Mr Andrew Braddock
Dear Mr Braddock
Thank you for your email of 22 August 2017 regarding the provision of public transport to newly established suburbs in the Gungahlin area. Due to the complexity of the issues you have raised it took longer than anticipated to provide you with a response, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay,
Following the release of land and development of new suburbs, the ACT Government aims to introduce a public transport offering at the earliest possible time to provide public transport into these areas. The Government ensures that public transport infrastructure including an appropriate road network, bus stops and supporting infrastructure including footpaths, lighting and seating are included in the design and commissioning of new suburbs/regions.
In regards to introducing a service to a new area service planners must consider how resources are prioritised to meet demand across the city. This also means ensuring current services are not degraded (e.g. lengthened to increase travel times or reduced service frequency), in a way that makes them less attractive for current users.
Social inclusion and access is also very important and to help provide access to public transport services for vulnerable users the ACT Government also provides a Flexible Bus Service for eligible Canberra residents who are unable to walk to their nearest bus stop.
The public transport network in Canberra will be changing in 2018 with the introduction of more Rapid routes across the city and the introduction of a better seven-day network. I am pleased to advise the ACT Government will introduce eight new rapid routes a year earlier than originally committed, and we look forward to the benefits the Rapid Network will provide as part of an integrated transport network.
Transport Canberra is currently undertaking Community consultation on local and connecting services that will complement the Rapid Network. I understand that Transport Canberra officials have also recently provided a briefing to the Gungahlin Community Council.
Transport Canberra acknowledges there are key challenges in the Gungahlin area and feedback during the consultation period has highlighted the following issues for Consideration:
- access to the Casey Local Centre – bus stops have been built at the local Centre and we want to ensure we introduce the right service into the area without disadvantaging current passengers;
- access to John Paul College and the Grove in Ngunnawal (retirement community) along Gungahlin Drive, making it easier for school students to get to school and providing links between the Grove retirement community, local shops and the town Centre;
- ensuring service for new suburbs (bus stops have been provisioned in new suburbs, including Moncrieff, Throsby and Taylor through the estate development plan);
- improved public transport access for residents of Jacka; and
- future proofing the design so that it can grow progressively into Taylor.
It is our intention with the introduction of the new Rapid Network in 2018 to improve the bus Services for all of Gungahlin, including Jacka Stage 1 and newer suburbs such as Moncrieff, whilst also being able to provide clear service intent for future growth areas including Taylor and Jacka Stage 2.
The new network will commence in 2018, with bus services running between Gungahlin and the City until the introduction of Light Rail Stage 1 services in late 2018.
The improvements to services in Gungahlin will be possible through the redesign of the complete bus network, ensuring that a greater range of services can be made with the available fleet as well as the ACT Government commitment to reinvest the over 1 million bus kilometres that will be made available through the introduction of Light Rail.
The ACT Government has also committed to construction of a new bus depot in Phillip and the purchase of 80 vehicles for the Transport Canberra fleet to grow public transport services across the city.
Phase Two of consultation will take place in early 2018 and Transport Canberra officials will present an indicative route structure and timetable to the Gungahlin Community Council, as well as a range of other information sessions in the local area.
The ACT Government is making significant investment into the Gungahlin area to Support the growth and expansion of the region, including:
- Stage One Light Rail services between Gungahlin and the city;
- Construction of a new bus station in Gungahlin Place and supporting infrastructure including traffic signals in the town centre (scheduled for completion in early 2018);
- Gundaroo Drive Stage 1 duplication (Scheduled for completion in mid-2018);
- Gundaroo Drive Stage 2 duplication (scheduled to commence in early 2018);
- Horse Park Drive duplication (works underway);
- Ernest Cavanagh Street Extension;
- Construction of a new road south of the Valley Avenue; and
- Hibberson Street shared zone (scheduled to commence in early 2018)
In October 2017, the Transport Canberra timetable update for the region included:
- the introduction of the Black Rapid service, providing high frequency public transport connectivity between the Gungahlin and Belconnen Town Centres during the week and connections to the University of Canberra Public Hospital; and
- the introduction of Red Rapid 200 services on weekends between Gungahlin and the City, doubling the frequency of previous weekend services along Flemington Road (Route 950) in order to meet increasing public transport demand along the corridor.
Thank you for raising these matters. I trust the information provided is of assistance.
Meegan Fitzharris MLA Minister for Transport and City Services
MS Suzanne Orr MLA
Mr Michael Pettersson MLA