2011 in Focus

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Bus 777 was withdrawn in 2011.

2011 was another big year for ACTION Buses, with the changeover from the dated magnetic tickets to the smartcard based MyWay system, the retirement of over 40 Renault Buses as the new MAN and Scania Buses entered service and industrial action which saw services cancelled on a number of days during April.

Read on for our wrap of the big ACT Bus stories of 2011.

January

  • The ACT Government warns an expanded Nightrider service is at risk following poor patronage
  • The Greens call on the Government to release timetable data to a group of Uni students wanting to develop a smartphone app for Canberra bus users.
  • Seven Renault PR100.2 buses are advertised for sale by tender – they are 752, 756, 760, 762, 764, 765 and 768.
  • Buses entering service: 432
  • Buses delivered: 445, 476
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 773, 777

February

  • Eight new drivers hit the road after completing training.
  • MyWay begins its rollout as Seniors begin using the smartcard technology.
  • The Canberra Times reports that several bus stops that aren’t used by regular services are being upgraded, out of more than 700 to be upgraded this year.
  • The Greens urge the Government to persist with Nightrider, despite low patronage
  • Buses entering service: 436, 437, 438, 473, 474 (all except 473 temporarily due to fleet shortages)
  • Buses delivered: 477
  • Buses withdrawn from service: Nil

March

  • MyWay launches to the general public, amidst criticism that it was not properly promoted. Still, 20% of commuters had started using the tickets two weeks later.
  • A refusal by mechanics to work weekend overtime prompts ACTION Director James Roncon to warn of possible service disruptions over one weekend and into the start of the working week.
  • The Koala CNG Field Trial is extended indefinitely, resulting in Scania K230UB Bus 490 remaining in the territory.
  • ACTION denies TWU claims that 250 services are being cut each week due to mechanic and driver shortages.
  • Cooma-Monaro Shire Council and Deanes Transit Group announce plans to survey residents on the possibility of a Canberra-Cooma service.
  • Buses entering service: 433, 434
  • Buses delivered: 446, 447, 448, 449, 478, 479
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 799, 436, 474

April

  • Due to ongoing industrial action, a Sunday timetable is run on Saturday 16 April in order to ensure enough buses were available for service the following Monday.
  • The ACT Government muses on the possibility of banning smoking at bus stops
  • Further industrial action sees services cut altogether on Friday 22 (Good Friday), Sunday 24 (Easter) and Tuesday 26 April (ANZAC Day Public Holiday) whilst Sunday timetables operate on Saturday 25 and Monday 27 April
  • Soon after ACT Bus launches a petition to get ACTION on Twitter, ACTION Director James Roncon announces that Twitter and Text will form part of the planned real-time passenger information system.
  • Magnetic bus tickets, in use since the 1990s, had their last day of use on 10 April, with only cash fares or MyWay cards accepted from 11 April.
  • Buses entering service: 435, 474
  • Buses delivered: 450, 451, 452, 453
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 779, 783, 786, 437, 438

May

  • The 2011 Budget funds upgrades to Woden Depot, fuelling facilities at the other depots, bus stops, bus routes and ACTION’s Radio System as well as new bus stations and an extended Blue Rapid service.
  • Buses entering service: 446, 475
  • Buses delivered: 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 796, 869

June

  • An evaluation of Nightrider reveals $16,325 was made from passenger fares, whilst the service cost over $286,000 to operate.
  • A trial of Motorola APX7500 radios commences in eleven buses (436-445, 900) on the 28th, before a fleet-wide rollout commenced in November.
  • Buses entering service: 436, 437, 441, 447
  • Buses delivered: 460, 461, 462
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 780, 784, 785, 795, 802

July

  • The ACT Government announces a tender for a Real-Time Passenger Information Service package for commuters, including software, hardware, interchange and bus stop signage and a smartphone application at a cost of $12.5m, much to the bemusement of a local group of university students whose plans to build an application are thwarted when their demands for real-time bus location data (before the RTPIS project had even commenced) were not satisfied.
  • Buses entering service: 438, 439, 442, 443, 444, 445, 448, 449
  • Buses delivered: 463, 480
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 781, 787, 788, 789, 790, 791, 792, 793, 824

August

  • ACTION Director James Roncon defends bus breakdown figures released by the Opposition, which in fact are below industry benchmarks.
  • The Government investigates whether MyWay could be used for pay parking.
  • Buses entering service: 440, 450, 476, 477
  • Buses delivered: 481
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 823, 825, 826, 827, 829, 830, 831, 868

September

  • A new operator commences Airport bus services to the City after Deanes Transit Group walks away due to low patronage.
  • More than two years after being announced, ACTION Timetable data is added to Google Maps, which allows Canberrans to utilise a journey planner feature to plan their bus trips.
  • Fifteen withdrawn Renault PR100.2 Buses are sold to Sims Metal, marking the first time in the history of the Canberra Bus Service that buses are sold directly to a scrap metal dealer. Other withdrawn buses find new homes in Perth and elsewhere.
  • Buses entering service: 451, 452, 453, 454, 455
  • Buses delivered: 482
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 832, 835, 836

October

  • Plans for the proposed Network 2012 are released for public consultation, with Routes 318 and 319 extended to Kippax and improved services to Gungahlin suburbs the highlights. The new network is expected to commence in May 2012.
  • Following a petition by ACT Bus, ACTION launches an official Twitter account.
  • Transport For Canberra releases its ‘Transport for a Sustainable City 2011-2031’ draft policy document for public comment.
  • Buses entering service: 456, 457, 458, 459, 479
  • Buses delivered: 483
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 803, 837, 838, 839

November

  • Scania and Custom Coaches are announced as the successful suppliers of twenty new articulated buses which will replace the oldest of the Renault PR180.2 Fleet.
  • The T2 Lane on Yarra Glen/Adelaide Avenue returns to a Bus Lane on November 15 following completion of the Gungahlin Drive duplication, as stated upon the commencement of the GDE project. Following objections from the ACT Greens and Opposition, the T2 Lane was reinstated just a week later, with the Government stating it was an interim measure whilst it examined if the lane was best designated as a T2, T3, T4 or Bus Lane.
  • The extended Park and Ride facility at Mawson is completed, with an expanded carpark and a bike cage replacing the old lockers. A new Park and Ride facility on Flemington Road, opposite Exhibition Park, also opens.
  • Buses entering service: 460, 461, 462, 478
  • Bus 461 is the last bus to enter service with the Tait T2000II mobile radio fitted.
  • Buses delivered: 484, 491, 492, 493
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 840, 844, 848

December

  • ACTION once more operates Nightrider services after Deanes operated the service in 2010. Improved promotion and a reduced fare of $5 results in a marked increase in patronage.
  • Deanes Transit Group commences the roll-out of wireless internet across its bus fleet.
  • By the end of 2011, 84 new drivers had successfully passed training and commenced driving with ACTION throughout the year.
  • Buses entering service: 463, 480, 491
  • Buses delivered: 485, 494
  • Buses withdrawn from service: 841, 842, 843