Canberra commuters opting for ACTION

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CANBERRANS are turning to public transport in record numbers to escape the hassle and cost of pay parking.

Earlier this month, for the first time, ACTION recorded more than 20,000 adult bus passengers in a single day. This mark has subsequently been passed several times.

For the week ending February 12, there were 103,186 adult passenger boardings, an increase of 6.6 per cent over the same time period last year.

To find out why more people were choosing buses, The Sunday Times boarded the 5.20pm 703 Xpresso service from Barton to Fraser and asked passengers about their experiences:

Margaret Rogis, of Weetangera, catches the 703 to and from work on weekdays. ”The service is excellent, the express service in particular … They could do with another morning service, especially when the university students are here, because it’s often hard to get a seat by the time the bus gets to Weetangera. Also, the buses can range from five minutes early to five to 10 minutes late.”

Natalie Clark, of Macgregor, catches the 703 to and from work. She said daytime services were generally good, unlike night and weekend services.”If I go out at night on the weekend … there’s not usually a bus home. Even on Sunday, the last bus I can catch leaves about 7.30pm, which is pretty early … I’d like to see more services on the weekend and more late-night services Friday and Saturday.”

Sarah Cartwright, of Holt, also catches the 703 service to and from work during the week. ”I catch the bus because of the cost of parking. Otherwise, I’d be paying between $6 and $9 a day to park. I’m in and out on the bus for $4.20 a day.”

Karley Clive, of Dunlop, catches the 703 twice a day. ”It’s been good since the express service came along. Before that I was catching two buses each way, from Dunlop to Belconnen and then from Belconnen to Civic. I don’t have a licence, but catching a bus to Civic would definitely be easier than taking a car.”

Trinette Lees, of Macgregor, catches the 703 every weekday. The trip takes about 25 minutes each way. ”It was okay before the express service was introduced, it just took longer to get home … It’s too expensive to park in Civic.”

Evan Boyle, of Dunlop, also catches the 703 service to work. ”It’s just as quick as the car and it probably works out a bit cheaper. The buses are pretty much on time, but they could do with putting on more Xpresso services, because there are only about three each way each day.”

Adrian Dixon, of Macgregor, catches the 703 express service home from work in the city. ”I’d much prefer to sit on a bus and read a book to driving. I get a lift in in the mornings and catch the bus in the afternoon.”

Canberra commuters opting for ACTION
BY ELICIA MURRAY
20 Feb, 2005 12:00 AM