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$70 million for public transport in Canberra

Staff Writer | August 15, 2016
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government reaffirmed its commitment to an integrated public transport system with the key budget measures.
Canberra bus
Down Under   The 2016-17 Budget measures
The 2016-17 Budget measures invest $70 million in better public transport with more buses, new bus services, better walking and cycling and support to build the city wide light rail project.

This will provide Canberrans with even more options to travel around the city and to avoid the congestion experienced in other cities.

These new measures will be delivered by Transport Canberra, the newly established agency responsible for integrating buses with the light rail network and active travel, providing a reliable and affordable public transport system to get Canberrans where they need to go.

The Government is investing $61.7 million into the Canberra bus network to improve access and the frequency of buses across the territory.

This includes:

- The already successful free Transport Canberra City Loop to connect commuters travelling in Canberra’s CBD;

- $43.8 million over four years to deliver existing transport services and meet increasing costs as identified in the ACTION review;

- $10 million over two years to deliver 20 new buses as part of the ongoing fleet replacement program;

- $3.5 million over four years for improvements to public transport services in Weston Creek and the Molonglo region. This includes a new all-day direct service called the Weston Line providing improved connectivity between Woden, Cooleman Court in Weston and the City. To meet increasing demand, Wright will receive increased coverage and frequency and the Route 83 and Xpresso 783 services will be extended to include Coombs. These new services will help make public transport a more convenient option for commuters;

- $1.5 million for the design and construction of a new Park and Ride facility in Wanniassa;

- $300,000 for improvements to the Woden bus station to provide a better bus station for the Woden town centre;

- $1.8 million for workshop upgrades to make buses more reliable; and

- $900,000 for a 12-month trial of three electric buses on ACTION’s regular on- and off-peak route services.

- A new bus depot in Woden to cater for growth in the Transport Canberra fleet. This work will provide a foundation for the future construction of a depot to enable Transport Canberra to manage buses more efficiently and reduce dead running.

The 2016-17 Budget supports the integration of light rail into Canberra’s public transport system. Construction has commenced on the new light rail network, with operations to commence in early 2019.

The ACT Government is building the first stage of the city wide light rail project. For every dollar we spend on light rail, the ACT Government will spend $24 on education and $33 on health.

To ensure the light rail network is integrated with buses, the Budget funds $3 million to progress the introduction of an integrated ticketing system for buses and light rail.

Funding includes the development of a ticketing feasibility study and the opportunity to install new MyWay add-value machines in major bus stations through the Territory.

This Budget invests $3.6 million for programs to make it easier for all Canberrans to move around our city through walking and cycling. Funding will also provide a safer environment for children to ride or walk to school.

Initiatives include:

- $2 million to construct walking and cycling improvements around Woden Town Centre and Kingston Group Centre. These could include the introduction of shared zones, pedestrian crossings, wider paths, improved signage and lighting. The upgrades will improve these high priority walking and cycling corridors by making them more safe and accessible;

- $1 million over two years to expand the popular Active Streets for Schools program to 25 more schools. Infrastructure improvements – such as parking improvements and better linemarking – will be rolled out around these schools to help make the journey safe and easy to follow. This will encourage more parents to provide opportunities for their children to walk or ride to school;

- $300,000 to design a pedestrian priority zone in Hibberson Street in Gungahlin. This shared zone will create an environment that puts pedestrians first. Feedback will be invited on a range of design options for this space;

- $175,000 for the Active Travel office within the new Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate to ensure active travel options are seamlessly integrated with buses, light rail and road projects; and

- $125,000 to expand the Ride and Walk to School program to an additional 56 schools bringing the total number of participating schools to 108. The program provides bikes to participating schools for students to use, offers basic bike maintenance lessons and helps teach children some basic road rules about how to stay safe on the way to and from school.

The Budget includes $600,000 for the continuation of the Community Transport Coordination Centre and popular flexible bus service which provides free travel to local shopping and medical centres for less mobile Canberrans.

The Budget also includes $720,000 over four years for a new Schools Transport Co-ordinator who will be responsible for liaising with schools on all road safety, transport and active travel issues.

The Government is investing $2.6 million to improve our public transport system by exploring innovative approaches.

Funding will include:

- $2.2 million over two years for organisation reform to improve business capability and systems;

- $260,000 over two years to deliver a bus fleet strategy that ensures best value for money for a modern and integrated bus network; and

- $150,000 to establish a Transport Innovation Fund that will support government collaboration with the community, researchers and external partners. Partnerships with these key stakeholder groups will:

- Seek ideas and opportunities for innovative public transport service delivery solutions; and

- Support trials and innovative start-up companies that can develop and test new approaches to solving some of Canberra’s transport challenges.