Last year, an entire community banded together to change Canberra’s outdated Sunday bus timetable. Sadly, those in power have now chosen to ignore us.
Last year, myself and a few friends formed A Fair Go for Sunday Buses, to campaign for a 10pm finish time on all routes on Sundays and public holidays. At the time the ACT Government was in the process of surveying people for the new Network 15 timetable, which was due to be implemented at the beginning of 2019.
After we campaigned extensively on the issue, in articles and on social media, the ACT Government adopted a 10pm finish time on Sundays and public holidays for the new Network 19 timetable, going so far as to promote it on the official Transport Canberra Facebook account at the time.
Then we hit a slight snag. The implementation of the new bus timetable was tied to the commencement of the light rail, so when the light rail was delayed, so was the new timetable. The government estimates of when the light rail will commence are now late April at the earliest, and the new timetable is delayed ’til at least then.
This has put Canberra in a situation where we face another major event season starting right now, where once again numerous events that fall partially or wholly on Sundays and public holidays over the next few months will still have buses finish early on all those days.
We have asked Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris to make special arrangements for the Sundays and Public Holidays with major events on until the new timetable starts. However, our pleas are falling on deaf ears now. Meegan is ignoring us.
A Fair Go for Sunday Buses is fed up with the ACT Government dragging its feet on this issue. It affects not only all Canberrans but also anyone arriving by coach or plane on a Sunday and public holiday, and it makes Canberra look pretty out of touch when all public transport stops by 7pm on a Sunday or public holiday. We aren’t some country town anymore.
We don’t know precisely when the light rail will be finished and the new bus timetable will start. We hope it will be sooner than late April. This issue with the Sunday buses cannot wait any longer.
It is three hours of extra services for all routes one day a week—a reasonable ask, which is why the Government already agreed to adopt it. The light rail delay should not hold this up, it is too important to wait to act on now, even just until the new timetable in late April.
We ask all Canberra readers: please call the minister on 02 6205 0051 or email her on [email protected]. You can also contact any of your five local MLA’s about this issue and ask them to do something about it.