November 30, 2021, 01:54:57 AM

Budget 2021-22

Started by Barry Drive, October 07, 2021, 01:00:35 PM

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Barry Drive

October 07, 2021, 01:00:35 PM Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 04:56:34 PM by Barry Drive
The ACT Budget for 2021-22 was handed down yesterday.

The Canberra Times has reported the following regarding buses and public transport:

QuoteThe rubber will finally hit the road early next year as the government's planned $37.5 million phase-in of electric buses for Canberra comes to fruition.

The first tranche of 34 replacement buses to be leased to the government is going through the tender process now under a $19.8 million allocation in the 2021-22 budget which will also see the Woden depot adapted to provide the significant recharging infrastructure required to keep the fleet rolling.

The 34 will replace the oldest Renault diesel buses and will be a mixture of diesel and electric.

A further $17.7 million has been allocated for 2022-23 for a further 90 battery-electric buses, which will be purchased rather than leased. Depots at Tuggeranong and Belconnen will be used to house between five to 10 of those buses in 2022-23.
Note: above article was changed - originally it stated all 34 buses would be electric.

The detail in the budget papers don't appear to support this, although the Capital Works-In-Progress does list $37.5m for "better buses" with a completion date of June 2023. If we were leasing buses, why is it being shown as a two year commitment, and as Capital (rather than expenditure) - these numbers suggest that buses are being bought outright, not leased. (But how many buses does $37.5m cover - and if they are being leased, how long does the lease apply for?)

Additionally, as we all know, Woden Depot does not currently exist other than as a pile of dirt, but there is Capital funding for Woden Depot totalling $33m ending in June 2024.

(I'd also like to see anyone buy 90 buses for $17.7m.)

The Transport Canberra section of the budget papers lists the 2021-22 priorities as:
  • Continue with planning for future public transport growth and implementation of the ACT Transport Strategy;
  • Commence construction of a new Woden Bus Depot to enable Transport Canberra Operations to manage the growth of the fleet, incorporating capacity to accommodate the transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet;
  • Complete work on the Zero Emission Transition Plan to provide a pathway to a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040 with no new diesel buses being purchased;
  • Continue to implement the Bus Fleet Replacement Strategy by replacing ageing vehicles with the procurement of new buses aligned to the Zero Emissions Transition Plan;
  • Progressing procurement of new integrated public transport ticketing system; and
  • Continue to provide the Flexible Bus Service and conduct a feasibility study into the service to identify potential improvements.

– so that doesn't tell us much regarding bus acquisitions.

The TCCS Capital Works-In-Progress budget shows the following:

$37.5m over two years for buses to support the new bus network
$674,000 for public transport infrastructure (bus stop upgrades)
$97,000 for integrated bus and light rail ticketing
$37.9m over three years for Delivering a smart technology ticketing system for Canberra's integrated public transport system
$3.2m this year for Future bus network
$780,000 for Planning and design for a zero-emissions bus network
$1.6m for Strengthening infrastructure supporting Canberra's new public transport network
$1.9m for Supporting more Canberrans to park and ride
$1.5m for Real Time Passenger Information System 
$33.1m over 3 years for Woden Depot

In the New Policy decisions section, there is funding for:
- Woden Public Transport stops
- continutation of Flexible Bus service (one year only)
- Growing the Public Transport Network[1]

Note 1:
QuoteThe Government will provide more transport options for people in Canberra's growing regions, by delivering additional buses, drivers, and infrastructure to service the new suburb of Whitlam. This will ensure that public transport services are available early in the life of the suburb, giving Canberrans access to real alternatives to private vehicles. This initiative also provides funding for feasibility work and early planning for the delivery of a future all-electric bus depot on Canberra's northside, supporting the transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet.

narc855

Another news, we may even have an electric fire truck before we have an electric bus...https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7453460/electric-fire-truck-a-national-first-for-canberra/
And they said the 34 buses will be arrived by the end of this year, which seems unlikely to happen now...

Bus 400

Should bets be on for what will happen first, out of Woden Depot actually being built or the first electric bus being decommissioned

Barry Drive

Quote from: narc855 on October 07, 2021, 01:39:14 PMAnother news, we may even have an electric fire truck before we have an electric bus...https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7453460/electric-fire-truck-a-national-first-for-canberra/

And they said the 34 buses will be arrived by the end of this year, which seems unlikely to happen now...
It's actually a plug-in hybrid. Operates mostly on battery power but has diesel engine(s) to charge the batteries (if required) and to operate pumps.

Don't think there's any chance of 34 buses arriving this calendar year, but good chance that all or most will be this financial year. When they ordered the previous 40 Precision / Scanias, the contract was signed in August and delivery commenced in November. Depending on how far advanced their negotiations are, we might see something this year - maybe a couple of Custom Denning Elements and a few diesels. (Speculation only.)


There is now a media release regarding the budget -

QuoteMinister for Housing and Urban Development Yvette Berry said connecting the new suburbs of Molonglo Valley to our active travel network is a high priority as more residents come to call the Molonglo Valley home.

"We want Molonglo residents to have the option of taking more sustainable forms of transport, and the ACT Government will continue to deliver the infrastructure and services this growing region needs to be better connected with the rest of Canberra," Minister Berry said.

The Government will also strengthen public transport links to the Molonglo Valley with investment in new bus services announced for Whitlam due to commence in 2022 to provide a public transport option for new residents.

"With new investment in strategic transport corridors, active travel and public transport, we are making the future-focused investment in infrastructure necessary to support a more sustainable transport future for Canberra," said Minister Steel.

So look forward to a bus route to Whitlam next year.

Bus 400

Quote from: Barry Drive on October 10, 2021, 12:50:59 PMSo look forward to a bus route to Whitlam next year.
The question will be, where will this run? Will it go from Belconnen or Woden or run between the 2?

narc855

Quote from: Bus 400 on October 10, 2021, 07:00:41 PMThe question will be, where will this run? Will it go from Belconnen or Woden or run between the 2?
In assuming, 904 Belconnen to Whitlam via Coulter Drive.

Bus It

Quote from: narc855 on October 11, 2021, 06:27:05 PMIn assuming, 904 Belconnen to Whitlam via Coulter Drive.
I'd like to see them reroute the R10 from Civic to Belconnen via Denman & Whitlam. The only issue is Coppins Crossing is not the most bus friendly road around. That being said, I've seen plenty of busses use it returning to depot before.

triumph

Quote from: Bus It on October 12, 2021, 02:06:47 PMI'd like to see them reroute the R10 from Civic to Belconnen via Denman & Whitlam. The only issue is Coppins Crossing is not the most bus friendly road around. That being said, I've seen plenty of busses use it returning to depot before.

I would suggest that the issue with Coppins Crossing is the potential for service interruption and hence unreliability rather than negotiability.

Snorzac

I think having the City to Belconnen via John Gorton Drive is a viable option at some stage in the future however I wouldn't want to have this rapid service branching off into both Denman Prospect and Whitlam, having points along John Gorton where passengers can make an easy transfer to a "local service", similar to the light rail and Nullabor Ave might be a smart way to go about it. 

There is currently early plans to replace the current low level crossing of the Molonglo River with a dual carriageway bridge however this is very early on in the design phase from what I can gather with a quick google search, I think regardless at some point, likely before the bridge is built this service will be required, maybe a turn around can be arranged after the last stop before the crossing for buses to turn around on John Gorton to use the Tuggeranong Parkway when required?

Sylvan Loves Buses

In my opinion I feel the route 32 is too long of a route. Once Whitlam becomes part of the network I could see a new route doing parts of the 32 working somewhat better than what it is now.
Most likely a loop service and something along the lines of this:
.....
My idea would allow easier access to the Belconnen Markets, Bunnings and other various Phillip-like stores around the other side of Belconnen again - for which during my scooter travels around this area I have noticed some spots for which bus stops once were. A connection at Cook shops for the travelers coming from the City if connecting at Belconnen is too annoying.

Barry Drive

Quote from: narc855 on October 11, 2021, 06:27:05 PMIn assuming, 904 Belconnen to Whitlam via Coulter Drive.
I think this is the most likely. Considering all Renaults will need to be withdrawn in 14 months from now, there's no likelihood of any fleet growth, so route changes next year will have to be minimal.

Bus 400

Could a couple more Hinos be purchased for a Whitlam route? 

New suburbs are always going to be built & now non-SNT/flexible bus drivers can drive them now.

Sylvan Loves Buses

Surely the Strathnairn service isn't all that popular. Would it really be that bad if they cut that service in half and used the other bus on a Whitlam route?

narc855

Quote from: Sylvan Loves Buses on October 12, 2021, 10:44:09 PMroute 32 is too long of a route
The trip of 32 takes around 35 minutes as per the timetable, it is not a long time. In addition Macquarie needs a different service frequency compared to Whitlam, so it's probably better to have a seperate route to service Whitlam.

Quote from: Sylvan Loves Buses on October 12, 2021, 10:44:09 PMMy idea would allow easier access to the Belconnen Markets
I highly agree with this good idea, I submited similar ideas about redirecting 901 before. But they are just too lazy so they want all buses using the same street in the town centre...

triumph

Quote from: Sylvan Loves Buses on October 14, 2021, 04:04:42 PMSurely the Strathnairn service isn't all that popular. Would it really be that bad if they cut that service in half and used the other bus on a Whitlam route?
Wasn't the two Strathnairn buses financed by the developer, and presumably the service is part of the sales pitch? If so, negotiating to reduce the Strathnairn service is unlikely to be well received. In any case, reducing the Strathnairn service is going in the wrong direction. The aim should be to provide a full time normal service.

Sylvan Loves Buses

Quote from: narc855 on October 14, 2021, 10:18:25 PMI highly agree with this good idea, I submited similar ideas about redirecting 901 before. But they are just too lazy so they want all buses using the same street in the town centre...
Similarly why I hated that they removed the Emu Bank diversion on the old 41. Walking to all these places that were once serviced is such a pain in the ass. Areas of Fyshwick, Manuka, Mitchell, Phillip and Symonston are all other such areas for which have had service cuts that in my opinion shouldn't have. All of these for which I have complained about on a number of occasions, but TC don't care - it's not like they're running a 'public' bus service or anything...

Also this new numbering system is so dumb. It was bad enough that the whole network (excluding most Belconnen services) had a complete number reset a couple networks ago. Why go back to the 900 series when there's already plenty of unused numbers in the sets of 10's they're already using in those areas? 33-39 and 46-49 are available for the 901/903 (assuming the Strathnairn number wasn't part of the agreement) and 67-69 for the 902. Same thing with the 180-182 situation. It's these little things that bug me when there's a simpler way to go about it. So I'd say it's probable that the Whitlam number will be 904, but I'll be quite annoyed if they continue doing that - especially if there's no printed timetable for it (regardless of how often I won't get it).

triumph

Quote from: Sylvan Loves Buses on October 14, 2021, 11:05:31 PMAlso this new numbering system is so dumb. It was bad enough that the whole network (excluding most Belconnen services) had a complete number reset a couple networks ago. Why go back to the 900 series when there's already plenty of unused numbers in the sets of 10's they're already using in those areas? 33-39 and 46-49 are available for the 901/903 (assuming the Strathnairn number wasn't part of the agreement) and 67-69 for the 902. Same thing with the 180-182 situation. It's these little things that bug me when there's a simpler way to go about it. So I'd say it's probable that the Whitlam number will be 904, but I'll be quite annoyed if they continue doing that - especially if there's no printed timetable for it (regardless of how often I won't get it).
There is some logic to it though. The 900 series are NOT full time normal services, and the 180-182 series are again NOT full time services but ALSO nominally direct/express (currently not express as no limited stops) services. Thus there is sense in allocating different number series to these two categories to differentiate them from 'normal' full time services. (I seem to recall also that at one time 900 services were supposed to be free - Strathnairn still is. Others?)
Route numbering is frustrating but not easy for TC either. It is unlikely that a universally pleasing and logical to everyone system could ever be devised. Having said that, as Sylvan points out, there is still room for improvement.

Barry Drive

October 30, 2021, 12:50:51 PM #17 Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 01:00:17 PM by Barry Drive
Following on from the Budget is the Budget Estimates, also known as "Inquiry into ACT Budget 2021-22". While it does reveal some new information, it does not tell us much more than we previously knew (or could have guessed).

Here's some highlights:

- 34 buses to be leased; a decision should be made and announced in the "not-too-distant future". No information provided about numbers of buses diesel vs electric. There were no questions about what the funding in the budget actually represents, or why leased buses are being accounted for as capital expenditure.

- the tender for 90 battery-electric buses is in the final stages of documentation and should go out also in the "not-too-distant future". Tenders will only go out to those who registered for the market sounding.

- it is expected that buses from both tenders will be operating by 2022. (Although this would only be a small number from the 90 electrics - and no indication where those initial electrics will be based).

- Tuggeranong and Belconnnen Depots will not be able to support "a large number" of electric buses – but no mention of how many can actually be supported.

- Woden Depot has been re-scoped to provide for electric charging from the start (it was originally intended to be an add-on once the depot was built). The "first stage" will be able to support 50 buses – but there is no mention of when this first stage may be completed. A contract to commence the construction is expected to be signed in the very near future. There is no mention of the previous plan to lease a temporary sub-depot to house electric buses pending the completion of Woden.

- the planned fourth all-electric depot is "currently identified for West Belconnen".

- no additional information about bus services to Whitlam, however the transcript from 4 March 2021 suggests it won't connect with other parts of Molonglo - so it is most likely a loop service to Belconnen and/or Jamison.

Read the transcript yourself at: https://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2021/comms/default.htm#6_ptcsis

narc855

So in brief there's no actual progress in any aspect...
Summer is coming and all passengers and drivers have to stay in a non A/C bus once again...
What on earth are they working on every day?

Busnerd

The drivers will all enjoy their air conditioned cabs. For the unlucky passengers on the 34 or so Renault's left in service, they can suck it up like every Canberran has done for the last 30 years and open a hopper window, roof hatch or catch the next service.

Sylvan Loves Buses

Unlucky and sucking it up? Life sucks in the (35+) dead-heat of summer when riding airconditioned buses, especially on steertags. Opening those windows and sitting right up the back of a Renault is the absolute best! I much prefer to sweat on the Renault's and take in the cool air and get off back into the heat than get onto an airconditioned bus to only experience a few minutes of cool air before it goes sour, to then get off and almost faint from the extreme temperature changes. When the Renault's are gone, the search will then be to find those few CNG Scanias that allow their windows to open.