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Phase one of public consultation has now closed. Further information on Phase Two consultation, which is scheduled to commence in early 2018, will be updated on this page.

Canberra’s public transport network is changing. The public transport revolution starts with the introduction of five new Rapid Routes in 2018, expanding the network two years ahead of schedule to provide a better, seven day network.

There will be nine Rapid routes in total, that have been locked in to provide improved connectivity between our town centres, suburbs and the City – getting Canberrans where they need to be on a faster, more convenient network.

Rapids will help residents and visitors get to and from events, sports matches, work, catching up with friends and family during the evening and at the weekend – taking cars off the road and increasing patronage across the city.

The Rapid routes form one of the most crucial pieces of Canberra’s future integrated transport network, with services at least every 15 minutes along core transport corridors from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, continuing into the evening with less frequency.

All Rapid Bus Routes will also operate over the weekends, with a general frequency of every 15 to 30 minutes or better, building over time.

The next step is creating connections to the Rapid network, including local bus services.

Feedback received during consultation will allow us to deliver you a better public transport experience in 2018 and into the future.

Rapid route Description
R1 (Light Rail) Gungahlin to City via Dickson
R2 Fraser to Fyshwick via Kippax, Belconnen, UC, ANU, City, Barton and Kingston
R3 Spence to Canberra International Airport via Belconnen, UC, ANU, City and Russell
R4 City to Lanyon via Woden, Mawson and Tuggeranong
R5 City to Lanyon via Russell, Barton, Woden, Erindale and Calwell
R6 City to Woden via Barton, Kingston, Manuka, Griffith, Narrabundah and Canberra Hospital
R7 City to Woden via Molonglo and Cooleman Court
R8 Belconnen to Gungahlin via UC Hospital
R9 Belconnen to Watson via Bruce, Dickson and Downer

Have Your Say

The Rapid Network 2018 has been developed following feedback from Canberrans that told us that you wanted:

  • Faster trips and more direct routes
  • More frequent and reliable services
  • Increased services at peak and off-peak times

With the Rapid network confirmed as the foundation of our public transport system, we are now seeking your feedback on how we can best provide local and suburban connections and we also want to know what you think we can do to improve your overall experience when using and connecting to public transport.

There will be two phases of public consultation before the new network comes into effect in mid-2018 with lots of opportunities for people to help shape the City’s public transport services.

Phase One - Late 2017

The Phase One consultation has now closed.

Phase Two - Early 2018

In early 2018, we will present our findings from Phase One and show how your views have guided the design for the new network.

At this stage, we will release a full network map with indicative timetable for further discussions.

This will be the time to discuss individual bus routes across the city and your region, as well as the mix of local bus services and flexible transport options required to complement the Rapid Network.

We want to have conversations with Canberrans who currently do not use public transport to discuss how the new network design can work for you and make it easier for you to choose public transport and leave your car at home.

We want to have conversations with current public transport users to discuss how the new network design may change the way you use public transport and how we can make the change to the new network as easy as possible for you.

Background

Canberra is Australia’s fastest growing city. Over the next 20 years the population is expected to soar to more than 500,000.

It’s important that we invest now to make sure our public transport network can cope with the greater demands a larger population will bring.

Canberra’s public transport revolution stars in 2018 with the introduction of the Rapid network and commencement of light rail services. These changes are a vital step to ensuring that our city stays free of congestion as well as providing current and future Canberrans with greater opportunities to leave the car at home.

In 2016, more than 6,000 Canberrans took part in a survey and provided their views on public transport. They said that the three top priorities for encouraging more people to use public transport were:

  • Faster trips and more direct routes
  • More frequent and reliable services
  • Increased services at peak and off-peak times

Presently, Canberra’s public transport network has a lot of different routes that don’t run very often, especially on weekends and in the evenings. While many of these routes have been in place for years, the city is changing and in some cases they no longer reflect the types of journeys that people want to take now or provide services when they want to travel.

Some of the current routes also follow slow and winding routes, which means that journey times are slower and less attractive for people to use instead of their cars. Having longer and slower routes also means that there are less buses available to deliver high frequency services, which we know more Canberrans want to see in their public transport network.

People’s lifestyles are also changing – with fewer people now on a strict 9-to-5 schedule, there’s a greater need to provide more services to help people travel in the evenings and at weekends.

To provide the public transport network Canberrans want to see, there needs to be a complete network redesign.

By removing the duplication and making routes straighter and more direct, more buses will be available to provide more frequent services and faster trips on the journeys people want to take – seven days a week.

What's changing?

The Rapid Network has been developed in response to Canberrans priorities for public transport that will include:

Faster trips on more direct routes

To make journeys faster, routes will need to be straighter. This means that some of the services that take a slow winding route through various suburbs will need to be changed.

Factors that are considered when changing services from an area will include low all-day patronage on the current network, access to new frequent services, road configuration constraints for larger vehicles and making routes shorter and as direct as possible.

Journey times can also be improved if there are fewer bus stops on the network. Most people will still have a bus stop within easy reach, but we recognise that others might have difficulty walking further.

There are options available for people with restricted mobility, like Canberra’s Flexible Bus Service, and we would like to hear from you about any other ideas that can help make the Rapid Network more accessible to all.

More frequent services and greater reliability

Reducing duplication of services will also enable services to run more often and more reliably. If some of the services that currently use the same route are replaced, this frees up more buses to provide more frequent services on the Rapid Routes and services elsewhere across the City where they are needed, such as new suburbs.

With local services, instead of following winding routes, many will now connect to the new Rapid Routes at key interchanges.

Although commuters may have to change services, it can mean shorter journey times to reach a wider range of destinations, as there will be more services running, and less time to wait.

It’s important that we hear from people about the facilities that can be provided at interchanges and connection points so that we can ensure comfortable connections and an easy journey.

Simplicity and legibility – Seven days a week

The network redesign offers an opportunity to refresh the information across the network that helps your public transport experience be as simple as possible.

This includes changing the route numbering across the entire network to better suit the new design.

The Rapid Bus Routes, as the foundation for the new network, will be route numbers 1 through 9. Local and connecting routes will be re-numbered to make them easier to understand, with routes travelling the same way and displaying the same route number seven days a week.

FAQs

Why is Canberra’s public transport system being redesigned?

Canberra’s population is growing fast and we are already more reliant on the car than any other Australian capital city. Greater use of public transport will help ensure the city does not become gridlocked as it continues to grow.

In 2018, we’ll change the way our public transport network operates. It’s about getting from A to B more quickly, seven days a week. By straightening our routes, we can run public transport more frequently and with more direct journeys between our town centres, suburbs and the City.

We’re building a better, seven day network to improve public transport in Canberra, with the ACT Government making substantial investments in light rail, new buses and new Rapid Routes.

Why is the new Rapid Network being introduced?

More than 6,000 Canberrans took part in a survey on public transport in 2016 and said the three top priorities for encouraging more people to use it were:

  • Faster trip times and more direct routes
  • More frequent and reliable services
  • Increased services at peak and off-peak times

As we move away from ‘nine-to-five’ lifestyles there is an opportunity now to redesign the network to offer a better, seven day network which is easier to use, more direct and at the times people want to travel.

Services will have the same route number and follow the same route on weekends and in the evenings as they do on weekdays. This will be an all-day network.

The network will reduce duplication across existing routes, allowing us to free up more buses and provide more frequent services to more of Canberra.

Canberra’s population is projected to increase significantly over the next 20 years from 400,000 to over 500,000. Rapid Network 2018 is a critical first step to ensuring our public transport system meets the need of our growing city and giving more Canberrans a greater chance to leave the car at home more often.

What exactly is new?

Five new rapid routes will be introduced, in line with the ACT Government’s announcement in 2016.

The nine Rapid Routes will come into effect in mid-2018. The Rapid Routes will be the foundation of the network and will operate seven days a week, providing more frequent trips to key destinations at both peak and off-peak times.

This will make it easier to choose public transport, not only for residents of Canberra but also visitors, to events, sports matches, work and to meet friends and family during the evening and at the weekend.

To deliver the new network people have told us they want, and ensure frequent services seven days a week, the network needs to be completely redesigned. As a result, there will be changes to local services.

All routes across the network will have new numbers, some bus services will no longer travel down the same streets and on some services there may be fewer stops.

This will help speed up journey times and allow more buses to run on the Rapid Routes connecting town centres and reaching the destinations people want to get to more frequently.

If you’ve already decided to redesign the network, what are you consulting on? When can I comment on the new timetable?

The ACT Government has committed to introducing a new network which is better, seven days a week. Whilst the Rapid Routes have been announced, the complete 2018 timetable has not yet been designed.

The consultation process will be run in two phases. In this first phase, which will last for 6 weeks, we’re looking for the community’s views on how local and connecting services should integrate with the Rapid Network to make it as attractive as possible for all Canberrans. Our community might have views on bus frequency, interchanges, signage and passenger information, specific destinations and other aspects of our public transport network.

With this in mind, Transport Canberra will then design a route structure and indicative timetable for introduction in mid-2018.

Phase 2 of our community consultation will provide an opportunity for specific comments to be made on the route structure and indicative timetable before its introduction in mid-2018.

Why can’t we have the Rapid routes as well as the current services?

The ACT Government is looking to deliver a public transport network that provides higher levels of service to a greater number of people. This has to be achieved using a finite number of buses and within budget levels.

The current public transport network has a lot of routes that do not run very often. In the 2018 Network, there will be fewer routes but they will run more often. This is achieved by making the routes straighter and more direct between destinations.

The more circuitous and winding a bus route is, the slower and less attractive it is for more people to use. It also means there are less buses available across the network for frequent services and introduction of services into new areas.

The more circuitous and winding bus routes are, means that they will need to run less often as there are less buses available across the network.

Higher frequency services will also allow for the introduction of new public transport schemes, which can include demand responsive transport services for those residents who are further away from a local service or Rapid Route.

Will there be changes to services in my area? Will you be removing bus stops?

Canberra’s entire public transport network is changing. There will be new services running throughout the city. To make journeys faster and more reliable for as many people as possible, there may be fewer stops than are used now. Some bus stops might be removed as routes are straightened to improve travel times and increase service frequency.

Phase one of consultation will offer you an opportunity to let us know how your local services should connect you to the Rapid Network and local centres.

This will help us refine the network design.

In Phase two of consultation in early 2018, we will present a route structure and indicative timetable to be refined before implementation in min-2018.

How far will I have to walk to catch public transport?

An important part of the redesign is to make sure that commuters can access public transport within easy reach from their homes across Canberra as well as increasing the number of Canberrans that can access high frequency public transport options.

The aim is to make sure as many as people as possible have access to faster and more frequent services, seven days a week.

It is important that while being attractive to as many people as possible to use, that the public transport network also considers all users.

New delivery models will be considered for those passengers who may find access to services too difficult.

I have restricted mobility. Are there services that can help me get out and about?

There are already options in Canberra for people who have difficulty accessing fixed route public transport services. The ACT Government Flexible Bus Service provides a door-to-door service for residents with restricted mobility. The fully wheelchair accessible fleet already operates across the city and can take people from home to local shopping centres or medical appointments, and back again.

A subsidised taxi scheme is also already in operation. This enables people with more severe mobility difficulties to carry on meeting up friends with family and travel for employment as well as attend medical appointments.

Visit the Transport Canberra website to find out more.

Will more demand responsive transport services be offered?

Building on the success of the Flexible Bus Service, the ACT Government is also interested in hearing your thoughts on new services that can improve access to major centres and Rapid Routes.

Trials of Demand Responsive Services have already commenced in New South Wales and Queensland. The ACT Government will be looking closely at these trials to see if they can be adapted to work for Canberra.

We want to hear from people who would benefit from more choices to complement traditional public transport services. For example, this could be anyone who finds taking regular services difficult - shift workers and parents with small children as well as people with restricted mobility.

Will this affect fares?

Transport Canberra is reviewing how public transport fares are charged, so that we can make it easier for customers to understand what they spend on transport from week to week and also allow the move to next generation ticketing.

There will be no penalty for transferring between all modes of public transport.

How are school special services affected?

Through the network redesign, the ACT Government will also consider how school special services work with the introduction of new Rapid and local services.

We also understand that over 50 percent of students travel on our regular network.

We are committed to ensuring that school students can travel on public transport.

More information will be available in 2018 through Phase two of consultation.

When will the new network come into operation?

The new network, including all nine Rapid Route will come into effect in mid-2018, prioir to the commencement of Light Rail services in Canberra.

Upon the commencement of Light Rail services, buses allocated to the Gungahlin to City corridor will be reallocated across the network to improve frequency on the new route structure.

Will there be more buses?

The ACT Government has committed to increasing and renewing the Transport Canberra bus fleet.

Redesigning the network means that these buses can operate as efficiently as possible across Canberra, providing a higher level of service to more people.

Will I have to change buses more often?

The new seven day network will see new Rapid Routes introduced. These will provide more frequent services connecting town centres, suburbs and the City.

The redesign also complements the introduction of Light Rail Stage 1 services between Gungahlin and the City.

There will be key interchanges on the network where local services connect to the Rapid Routes.

Although passengers might need to change buses (or bus to light rail) to complete their journeys, high frequency services will mean that connections are quicker and easier.

Analysis of MyWay data shows that almost 25% of all journeys made on public transport in Canberra already includes one or more connections.

How will you ensure the public transport system is environmentally friendly?

A key aim of the better, seven day network is to address reasons that prevent more people from currently taking public transport.

Providing faster, more frequent services aims to create an alternative to travelling by car.

The fleet of buses will also grow over time, rising to almost 500 by 2021.

Transport Canberra is also aiming to cut emissions from vehicles in line with the Territory’s emissions reduction target of 40% of 1990 levels by 2020.

Trials of electric and hybrid buses will be carried out over the next year. To help deliver a reliable and environmentally sustainable fleet.

Will staff lose their jobs?

No – More staff will be required to deliver a higher level of service across the ACT.

Are buses being privatised?

No.

Will I be able to be use my MyWay card?

Initially, MyWay will be fully integrated across Canberra’s public transport systems, ensuring that passengers only require a single ticket to travel on the public transport network.

The ACT Government has also committed to delivering a new ticketing system for Canberra which makes full use of the latest technology.

Improved ticketing also has the potential for use on other services, like bike share schemes, demand responsive transport, taxis and libraries.