13 December 2023

Canberra's most - and least - punctual bus services revealed

| Lizzie Waymouth
Start the conversation
bus passing empty bus stop

The R2 (Fyshwick to Fraser) was Canberra’s least reliable rapid bus service – only 65 per cent of services meeting punctuality targets. Photo: Transport Canberra Facebook.

There’s a one in four chance your Transport Canberra bus won’t arrive on time.

According to information supplied by then-Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel in response to a question on notice from Greens MLA Jo Clay, just over 75 per cent of Canberra buses (excluding school services) met punctuality targets in 2022-23.

Almost 8.5 per cent of all Transport Canberra buses were more than one minute early and 13.2 per cent were more than four minutes late. The remaining 2 per cent were classed as ‘unsighted trips’, meaning they did not operate to completion.

“There are a number of reasons why buses may not meet the punctuality target, including roadworks and accidents, traffic signals (wait times), variable dwell times at busy bus stops, and the individual driving style of bus drivers as well as the individual performance of a bus,” Mr Steel said.

Mr Steel said other factors could also be at play, such as timetable optimisation, driver training, traffic or signalling changes.

READ ALSO Real-world testing reveals how far out your car’s fuel consumption is

However, some routes were worse than others. The R2, which runs from Fyshwick to Fraser, was the least punctual rapid service – only 65 per cent of journeys were on time.

Similarly, 65 per cent of journeys on route 47 from Belconnen to Denman Prospect met punctuality targets – 19 per cent of journeys were late.

Ryan Hemsley, chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR), said the figures were disappointing.

“These bus punctuality figures should be embarrassing for the ACT Government,” he told Region.

While the lateness of bus services is an inconvenience, PTCBR said it was shocking that many buses arrive early when they should be waiting at a stop to set off at the correct time.

Mr Hemsley said this is something that Transport Canberra could easily fix.

“Imagine if 10 per cent of Canberra’s bins didn’t get collected every week, or 10 per cent of patients in Canberra Hospital were given their medicine early. People would riot!

“Yet we let people be stranded at our bus stops – for up to two hours on some weekend routes – because 10 per cent of Canberra’s bus services run early. This is an issue that could be fixed with an email and some red paint.

“We call on Transport Canberra to address this issue as a matter of priority.”

READ ALSO E-scooter provider to roll out new ‘drink-riding test’ to avoid repeat of Summernats hooning

In its 2023-24 budget submission earlier this year, PTCBR called for several changes to improve punctuality, including hiring additional bus drivers and expanding the bus fleet to ensure sufficient capacity to permit timed transfers.

PTCBR also said that priority measures such as bus lanes, traffic signal priority and bus jumps at traffic lights would improve the reliability of Transport Canberra services.

“We need to do more to help Canberra’s buses skip through traffic and get people to their destination faster,” the submission said.

“Good progress was made on rolling out bus priority measures on places like Barry Drive and parts of the Cotter Road in the early half of the last decade. We should build on those successes and make sure public transport has the best possible chance of getting people to their destination on time.”

Original Article published by Lizzie Waymouth on Riotact.

Start the conversation

Weekly Wrap

Do you want to keep up with what’s happening in Gungahlin? Every week we package up the best stories in a free newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now and find out what everyone else is talking about.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.