Sydney’s busy George Street was recently closed to cars as the construction of the city’s light rail network began. This followed an announcement by the Queensland Government that Stage 2 of their light rail project will be completed in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Next year, work will start on Canberra’s light rail and will mark the start of the next stage of our public transport network.
We are also forging ahead with our vision of an integrated public transport system that will merge ACTION and Capital Metro into a single agency – Transport Canberra – from July 2016. Canberra needs a smart, integrated public transport system that is easy to use, there when you need it and gets you to your destination on time.
It’s important that Canberrans can move around easily, with bus routes and timetables connecting with light rail. It’s critical that Canberrans can easily plan their journey, have a single timetable; enjoy positive experiences across bus and light rail, and access a single approach to ticketing.
ACTION provides a good service for many Canberrans. However, ACTION’s growth in customer numbers has not kept pace with population growth. We can do better than this.
Transport Canberra will be designed to be customer focused and win new public transport users, and will harness new technologies and ways of doing business.
In particular, the sophisticated use of data will become increasingly important. We introduced My Way in 2010, and this system has allowed the provision of real time information to commuters on when their bus will be arriving and departing. The data has also allowed for better network planning.
So you can stay connected throughout your journey, all light rail vehicles will have Wi- Fi and ACTION will start a trial of bus Wi-Fi before the end of the year.
We will also trial a new on-demand pick-up system to complement weekend suburban services in the first half of 2016. Passengers will be able to arrange to be picked up from their nearest suburban bus stop and taken to the bus interchange to join major routes and more convenient suburban services.
New park and ride facilities will allow people to switch from driving to public transport, and reduce parking costs for travellers as well as congestion in the city centre. To compliment this, all ACTION buses will be fitted with bike racks.
Transport Canberra will support strong public transport for all areas of Canberra particularly for those demographics and groups that rely heavily on public transport.
The successful delivery of light rail will of course be a key task for Transport Canberra. Light rail will transform the City to Gungahlin corridor and will support economic development in our city.
Light rail will free up 1.2 million bus kilometres per year. It makes commercial sense to reallocate the freed up kilometres for the benefit of the broader community. Transport Canberra will be responsible for designing future bus networks to take advantage of the freed up kilometres. There is also a longer term horizon for public transport in Canberra.
Effective city planning depends on the capacity to think and plan in terms of decades and even generations. That is why my government recently released the Light Rail Network Plan.
This plan is not just an exercise in thinking about how light rail could eventually be extended across Canberra, it’s a chance to influence the shape of our city over time for the better.
The Light Rail Network Plan will be an exercise in listening to the community, and hearing about the type of city that they would like to leave to future generations.
I encourage you all to have your say and get involved in the Light Rail Network consultation by visiting
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)