Network '08 delayed again, sort of

Started by Barry Drive, April 29, 2008, 05:06:40 PM

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Barry Drive

From The Canberra Times website. By Graham Downie:

QuoteNew network but no drivers

The full introduction of Canberra's new bus network will be further delayed by a recent discovery that ACTION is short of up to 50 drivers.

The new network, with promised service improvements, was due to begin today [28 April] but was deferred to June 2 to allow for modifications to 11 of the 40 proposed routes.

Those modifications took account of public feedback after ACTION published in November a draft of its new network.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister John Hargreaves said last week it would not be possible to operate the full network with the available drivers.

The new Monday-to-Friday services would begin on June 2, with Saturday and Sunday services introduced progressively as drivers were recruited.

Mr Hargreaves said he had decided to defer changes to weekend services because he did not want to risk leaving people stranded.

"There is some room to move so some weekend timetables will be augmented."

Priority would be given to people who had to get to work and to those who had indicated they were most dependent on buses. He could not say when changes to weekend services would occur because it was not known when enough drivers would be recruited.

It was likely the new weekend timetable would be introduced first on Saturdays, then on Sundays.

A task force, including ACTION management and representatives of drivers, would be established to work out the best way of providing the transition to the new weekend network.

"This problem occurred because we responded to the community demands," Mr Hargreaves said.

"We are asking the community to bear with us. The drivers and the Government are working toward a solution."

ACTION was advertising nationally for bus drivers for which there was a national shortage.

Only eight drivers could be trained at one time, with training typically taking about three weeks.

Additional money would be provided in the May 6 budget to pay for the increased bus services.

The new timetables would be published on May 19, including a distinctly different weekend timetable to avoid confusion.

New timetables would be published as the new weekend services were introduced.

I don't think it comes as much surprise that ACTION needs more weekend drivers for the new network. Given the circumstances, they've made the right decision but it will still cause some confusion particularly when what used to be 7 day services (such as 51, 52, 58, 34, 38, 80) are being changed, re-numbered or replaced. Will they have to become 951, 952 etc? or will the weekend services be slightly modified to use the new route and/or route number?

The good news is that weekday evening services will be changing to the new network.

Bus 400

It looks like Network '08 is going to be stuffed up as well.
But how can there be enough bus drivers for weekday services, but not enough for the weekend? Unless quite a few don't want to help the community? It better not be something to do with the Transport Workers Union.

Can't wait to see the weekend network.

Buzz Killington

here's an idea - you can march down to ACTION HQ and ask the drivers why they can't work weekends

i think you'll find a good percentage of them work monday-friday

Irisbus Rider

Wow, what a dissapointment. Then again, it should have been expected.....


OFS i getting fed up of waiting for this bloody network now


How confusing it will be if there's a system where it is:

Monday - Friday: Network 08 (new timetable and network)
Saturday - Sunday: Network 06 (old timetable and network)

Then a Monday-Sat and a Sun network.. ???

Jack Bauer

I wonder why they're suddenly short on drivers? Maybe some vast changes, including the forcing of many on to split shifts, turned many away.

Irisbus Rider

Well, under the current network, they need about 55 drivers out on the weekend, and under the new one, they need more than double.

They're just not avaliable.....


Problem is, the communtiy demanded more services more routes more buses on the road than ever before..

The government finally said yes, but now there isn't enough drivers to cover all the extra services.

Most drivers like to have their monday to friday shifts with no weekend work, and under their hours and agreements etc. they cant/wont work on weekends. Obviously theyve greatly increased weekend services so there will be more shifts than can be covered by the current drivers, so an interim weekend timetable will be designed, and once they have enough drivers will be improved..

Jack Bauer

A few years ago, I remember walking into Belconnen's Depot and looking at the weekend rosters where all shifts were covered. They were ofcourse covered by the normal type of drivers who have worked their for a while, with the idea of working the odd Saturday/Sunday etc for the extra cash, and the rest was covered by the desperte new drivers or casuals who needed the work.

I guess the bottom line is that ACTION has stuffed around to much over the last few years with (a) their timetable ; (b) their drivers and the recruitment of new ones; (c) and ultimately the linkage between the (a) and (b).

Bus 400

Over here in Rockingham as a part of the new railway, they greatly increased bus services here. This has lead to a shortage of drivers & buses. But they are still recruiting drivers (but after female only now) & are continuously getting new buses & old buses from the Government Storage Depot.

They have fixed the problem of driver shortages by spilting left over shifts & giving them to other drivers as a part of their overtime (which I think is paid as double time).

Sir Pompously

How can they recruit female only drivers? By law that is discrimination of the male sex, if it is indeed advertised that way.

This will be fine over time, and people will get used to it for the time it is running. I mean it is really no different a concept as what we have now. I don't see how Action could have forseen the amount of drivers they needed, as the final plans and rosters were only done not long ago, and you don't want a large surplus of employees!