The initial Announcement
In April 2009, the ACT Government announced a new Rapid Express bus service that would operate every fifteen minutes in peak period, and every thirty minutes in the off peak.
Known as REDEX, the Government committed $1 Million to the service, which would commence in October and run between 0630 and 1930 on weekdays, during the school terms. The routes would be serviced by new buses for which funding was provided in the 2008-09 ACT Budget.
Two routes were identified:
Redex 1: Gungahlin to Tuggeranong via Dickson, City, Russell, Barton, Woden and Erindale Redex 2: Kippax to Tuggeranong via Belconnen, City, Russell, Barton, Woden and Erindale
At the time the Government were believed to be keen to paint the new vehicles in a special REDEX Livery however this idea did not come to fruition as ACTION were of the view that this would confine these buses to the REDEX routes, and suggested special REDEX bus stops be installed along the routes.
The ‘Revised’ Plan
Skip forward now to September 2009, where the ACT Government announce the revised plan for REDEX – and it’s somewhat different to what was originally announced initially:
* The service will begin on 16 November 2009 – not October as initially stated
* The service will now run during school holidays
* The trial will run until 30 June 2010
* The route will run from 0700 – 1900
* Significantly, there is now only one route rather than two
The finalised REDEX route is Gungahlin to Kingston Railway Station via Mitchell, Northbourne Avenue, City, Russell and Barton.
On 29 October 2009, a Timetable and Route Map for REDEX, Route 727 was released by ACTION. It came with a condition that “Times are a guide only and subject to change throughout the duration of the Redex Trial.” The choice of route number 727 is likely to be a reference to the running time of the service – seven (am) to seven (pm).
A slogan for the service, the somewhat familiar “Get on Board” was also revealed during October, with radio and on-bus advertising following soon after.
Upon release of the timetable, the ACT Opposition quickly pointed out the fact that REDEX only offered those traveling from Gungahlin to City a time saving of one minute compared to existing routes servicing the area. The Gungahlin Community Council, however, said that it was a “Step in the right direction”
Launch Day Looms
As an incentive for commuters to trial the new service, ACTION announced that all off-peak travel during the first week of the trial would be free.
The MAN 18.320 vehicles which commenced delivery during September 2009 will be utilised on the service. These buses feature internal information display screens and rear REDEX advertising.
In announcing on 12 November the service would commence the following week, the ACT Government indicated that a review of the trial and community and driver feedback would help form the future of REDEX and any potential growth, with Fyshwick a potential addition to Route 727 and additional services for Tuggeranong and Belconnen.
In May 2010 Chief Minister Jon Stanhope declared the trial to be a success, stating that 61% of passengers were catching the bus more often as a result of the new service, whilst 77% of passengers preferred it over the normal services.
On Monday 15 November 2010 the introduction of Network 2010 saw the REDEX service adopted into the network proper, with the new name Red Rapid and new route number 200. In addition, the route was extended past the Railway Station to also service the Fyshwick Markets and terminate at the Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) in Fyshwick. With the route changes, the service is no longer exclusively operated by MAN Buses, with Renault and Scania buses now frequently sighted operating the route.\