After much push and much shove, change has arrived in the form of a Sunday timetable for all.
Over the past almost three months, a campaign has been underway called A Fair Go for Sunday Buses, which asked the ACT Government to extend service finish times on Sundays and public holidays (same timetable) from a rather early average 7pm finish to a more reasonable 10pm finishing time.
Four articles have been published so far on The Big Smoke about the issue, and an ACT Government e-petition has also gathered over 140 signatures in support during the past few months. As announced in the fourth and most recent article on the subject, the ACT Government had committed to “looking at” extending finishing times on Sundays, but nothing more concrete than that.
Then on the 18th of June, an article on The Canberra Times announced the ACT Government had released its new draft timetable for the bus network, calling on Canberrans to provide feedback on it. One key detail announced in the article was that Sunday and public holiday services would be extended to a 10pm finish time. Coincidentally this just happens to be exactly what we have been asking the Government for.
“The new seven-day week timetable will include more evening and weekend services, and Sunday and public holiday service times will be extended to 10pm.”
It is fair to say that the announcement took us by surprise a bit – we had not expected the Government to come to the table on the issue so fully and so soon, but a pleasant surprise after many hours put in over the last few months campaigning around this issue. However there is one last hurdle to meet: the draft consultation process, during which time this detail could be stripped out or changed before the new timetable is finalised.
Those concerns have been most allayed now thanks to a lengthy conversation we had at the Woden Valley Community Council meeting earlier this month, with the Transport Canberra staff member who is actually responsible for the new timetable design. This spokesperson assured me that extending the Sunday finishing times was an issue very important to himself and Transport Canberra as well, and said that “the increased community support of late” helped them include this element in the new timetable design.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Our campaign pushes the government to discuss Canberra’s buses, halfway to change
- What role the union plays in changing the Canberra bus timetable
- ACT Greens and Canberra Libs pledge support for timetable change
- The bus stops here: Taking back the Canberra timetable for all Canberrans
It appears our campaign has had its desired effect inside Transport Canberra, and the spokesperson informed me he had read all four articles published on The Big Smoke about the issue and was very aware of our campaign and “demands” around the Sunday timetable. A Fair Go for Sunday Buses was assured that this element would not be stripped out during consultation process, and that it had strong support both inside and outside Transport Canberra. We were assured that they completely expected this to be part of the final timetable announced at year’s end.
As far as our campaign goes, after consultation with some of our key supporters, A Fair Go for Sunday Buses is satisfied that we have succeeded in our efforts, and although we will be keeping a close eye on the issue until the draft timetable is finalised, we don’t expect to have to keep fighting as such for this issue as hard as we have been until now. It may be coincidence that Transport Canberra chose to go for the 10pm finish time, precisely the time we had asked buses to be extended to, but it’s an interesting coincidence, that is for sure.
Satisfied that we are on the same page with Transport Canberra on this issue now, A Fair Go for Sunday Buses would like to thank everyone who supported our campaign, especially Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur, ACT Liberals Shadow Transport Minister Candice Burch, and the other Green and Liberal MLAs who also showed their support inside and outside the Legislative Assembly.
Thanks to you all and our efforts in fighting the good fight, all of Canberra will soon be able to get a bus home at 9pm on a Sunday night, and we will all be better off for it, residents and businesses alike. Canberra is finally stepping into the 21st century when it comes to the Sunday and public holiday bus timetable!