Policy Statement: Katy Gallagher (ALP) – 15 October 2012

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ACT Labor is committed to transforming Canberra’s public transport services and improving residents’ transport choices. Better public transport services will help reduce the costs associated with multiple car ownership, traffic congestion and will assist in reducing Canberra’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The ACT Labor Government has released a comprehensive strategy to improve Canberra’s public transport network called Transport for Canberra. It is a visionary plan that builds on our strong record of delivering transport for Canberra, and will create a transport system that puts people first.

An effective public transport system needs to be fast, frequent, reliable, comfortable and safe for passengers. It must be integrated with and supported by urban planning and design.

ACT Labor will deliver just that – driving improvements in service frequency and coverage. ACT Labor will implement the key actions of the Transport for Canberra policy to continue to improve our public transport services for all Canberrans.

ACT Labor’s commitment to transforming our public transport system started with its policy announcement that, if re-elected, ACT Labor will establish the ACT’s first large-scale private sector partnership to plan, finance and develop the first stage of a light rail network for Canberra –Capital Metro.

Capital Metro, which will be the backbone of Canberra’s public transport network, will be integral to the ongoing success of ACTION’s Frequent Network. It is a transformative project that will change the face of Canberra and the way it functions and grows.

ACT Labor has committed to increasing the public transport share of all work trips to 10.5% by 2016 and 16% by 2026.

But there is more to do.

If re-elected ACT Labor will provide an additional $37 million over the next four years to upgrade ACTION’s services as part of our plan to transform public transport in Canberra including:

  • 20 additional buses and services to our top ten busiest routes
  • More Rapid services under the revamp of our bus network
  • Six fare-free days for people to try out ACTION buses across the city
  • $500,000 for new bus shelters in growth areas
  • A free Centenary bus loop between the Parliamentary Triangle and Civic
  • More direct services between Weston Creek and Civic
  • Establish the ACT’s first large-scale private sector partnership to plan, finance and develop the first stage of a Light Rail Network for Canberra – the Capital Metro.

Policy costings

ACT Labor’s plan to transform public transport







More services (recurrent)






Fare free days (foregone revenue)



Buses and shelters (capital)












Policy Initiatives

More services

This additional investment into our bus services will see improvements to both the ‘frequent network’ and ‘coverage’ service and includes the following:

  • Progressive implementation of the Frequent Network;
  • Introduction of services for newly developing greenfield areas, such as the Molonglo Valley and the remainder of Gungahlin; and
  • Implementation of the minimum coverage standards, with a focus on addressing transport disadvantage

More bus shelters

ACT Labor will provide an additional $500,000 for new bus shelters in growth areas, areas of high usage and where bus services run adjacent to aged care and community facilities.

A 7 day a week bus timetable

Weekend bus routes will be changed so buses travel the same routes as weekday services. This will create a coherent, easily understood network.

The first stage of the weekend routes will be to introduce weekday routes for ACTION’s Saturday services. This will deliver more easily understood bus network on Saturdays for those in the community who require public transport for their work as well as for shoppers, visitors and those who want to utilise our public transport to move around the city on the weekends.

More buses on our top ten busiest routes

A capital program to purchase an additional five buses per year to cover the 10 busiest routes and another new service at a cost of approximately $600,000 per bus totaling $12 million over four years.

As part of Network 13 additional services will be provided to growth routes (the top ten busiest routes needing extra services.)

The services identified as the top ten busiest routes (September 2012) are:

RouteRoute descriptionService type
313Tuggeranong to FraserBlue Rapid
312Spence to TuggeranongBlue Rapid
315Tuggeranong to SpenceBlue Rapid
315Melba to CityBlue Rapid
318Lanyon to BelconnenBlue Rapid
200Fyshwick DFO to GungahlinRed Rapid
318Lanyon to BelconnenBlue Rapid
319Belconnen to LanyonBlue Rapid
318Belconnen to LanyonBlue Rapid
319Belconnen to LanyonBlue Rapid

ACTION will also provide additional direct services to augment busy Rapid services as identified through MyWay statistics. These services will be introduced as part of a major revamp of ACTION’s service to be delivered through Network 13.

Fare-free days for people to try the service for the first time

ACT Labor wants to see more people on our bus services across the city. Our continued investment in improving our services mean that new routes, and more buses are coming online, and for many Canberrans it may have been a while since they have used the service.

We want to encourage people to try out our new and improved network. ACT Labor will provide one fare-free day a month for 6 months for Canberrans. This will encourage commuters to try out ACTION services for the first time, and trial different routes for travelling to work, or moving around the city.

These initiatives are in addition to our already announced commitments including:

  • Establishment the ACT’s first large-scale private sector partnership to plan, finance and develop the first stage of a Light Rail Network for Canberra– the Capital Metro.
  • A free Centenary bus loop – City and the Parliamentary Triangle;
  • More direct services between the Weston Group Centre / Cooleman Court and the City, at a cost of $0.15 million per year as announced in our policy ‘ACT Labor to deliver $45 million for Weston Creek’.

What we are already delivering

Canberra already has some of the most heavily patronised public transport corridors in Australia, with the existing Blue Rapid and Red Rapid services providing good frequency, more direct services and reliability, and attracting strong patronage and demand throughout the day.

The Frequent Network builds on the success of the Blue Rapid 300-series (previously known as the ‘intertown’ service), which has provided rapid, frequent connections between town centres since the 1970s.

The long-term Frequent Network establishes permanent public transport corridors with 15 minute or better frequency for people travelling across and within the city, with consolidation of some suburban routes to build efficiency into the system and shorten travel times.

What is Capital Metro?

Capital Metro will be the backbone of Canberra’s public transport network, combined with the Frequent Network of buses. Options for investigation of second and subsequent stages are already being considered, including Kingston (East Lake) to the City via Barton, Woden to the City, Woden to Erindale and Tuggeranong, as well as to Belconnen, Weston Creek and Molonglo.

Capital Metro Stage 1 will be a light rail service with vehicles capable of carrying up to 200 people at 8-10 minute frequencies along a 12km route from Hibberson Street in Gungahlin to the City Centre. The proposal will involve major stations at Gungahlin Town Centre and Dickson Group Centre with high quality stops 750m-1.5km apart at various points along Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue, terminating between Allara [sic] and Rudd Streets close to the City Bus Interchange.

Capital Metro Stage 1 will be developed on the median alignment along Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue. It is proposed to retain the existing verge and median widths along Northbourne Avenue and also to provide dedicated 3 metre wide segregated cycle lanes to improve cycling safety along Northbourne Avenue. Flemington Road will include 1.5m dedicated cycleways in the verge. Improvements will also be made to pedestrian infrastructure along the corridor.

Capital Metro Stage 1 will help manage congestion on the crowded Flemington Road Northbourne Avenue corridor and the broader Canberra road network. Currently travel delay during the AM peak is approximately 16 minutes. The development of Capital Metro Stage 1 is projected to reduce travel delay by up to 6 minutes based on the business as usual scenario. Capital Metro’s travel times are estimated to be at least 30% faster than general vehicle traffic.

This page was last updated on 6 April 2024