It is refreshing to see a major Government transport undertaking admitting that it has made a couple of ‘blues’.

Generally, the Government and the bureaucracy never admit to making mistakes although the boners might be of monumental and hugely costly proportions.

I suppose that’s a development of the old principle drilled into cadet journos in days gone past: ‘Never admit you’re wrong, wriggle out of making a correction with some other approach!’

This is by way of congratulating ACTION, the well-run public sector bus undertaking in Canberra because it has been honest enough to admit that it occasionally makes an error.

As I commented in the last issue, General Manager, Mike Wordsworth, and the ACTION men were kind enough to take a party of delegates from the recent ABCA Conference by bus (Renault, of course – or was it a Mack?) for a quick look-see over their new $8.8 million depot/workshop complex at Tuggeranong.

And they have every right to be proud of the facility, it is a first class installation; maybe a bit on the lavish side at the present but it has been designed with an eye to the future when the National Capital dormitory and commercial developments spill out further towards the southern end of the Territory.

On arrival, we were handed a three-page release given the details of the depot and workshop listing key features, traffic flow, staff and technical facilities and even energy and workshop management systems.

But I was intrigued by a paragraph headed ‘What We Got Wrong’.

This went on to state that the depot has parking space for 190 rigid buses but the workshop cannot cope with more than 150 vehicles because of limited capacity for staff amenities such as locker space and the fact that there is only one male toilet on the ground floor!

The administrative block should have been outside the main building but the designers said it was cheaper to build inside despite the increased floor area.

This has resulted in excess floor space that cannot be properly utilised. It also gives the impression of excess space although the limiting factor is the staff amenities area.

Having made these admissions, the notes continue: It is an interesting exercise in industrial democracy – there was shop floor involvement in the design right from the start.

Despite the one failure in the matter of staff amenities, we think we have got everything else right.

ACTION anticipates that the design of the Tuggeranong complex will provide a model for similar installations planned to meet service expansion in other parts of the Canberra residential zone with the next Depot/Workshop to be built in the Ginninderra area in about five or six years.

But as Mike said: “Tuggeranong is our showpiece and we’re proud of it!”

It’s nice to see a Government authority being honest and admitting that, occasionally, it makes a management mistake – perhaps, Bob and Paul and the other inhabitants of the Big Bunker on Capital Hill could take a leaf out of ACTION’s copybook – or is that asking TOO much?

Written by Geoff Johnson – Truck & Bus Magazine, July 1991, Page 151

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