Timeline

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The ACT Bus timeline lists significant dates and events in the history of buses in Canberra.

If you would like to submit an event, please contact us

1922 – Department of Works purchase two Graham-Dodge Charabancs

1923 – First Omnibus service in Canberra starts to transport construction workers from Eastlake and Piallago to the City

1925 – Federal Capital Commission purchase a third Dodge for school and worksmen services

1925 – July: First Public bus service between Ainslie and Eastlake (Kingston) as well as Queanbeyan; It was privately owned

1926 – 19 July: Federal Capital Commission begins public bus service.

1926 – Fleet consists of 4 buses, AEC Renown 411’s

AEC Renown buses Eastlake bus yard 1926-RATEC
AEC Renown buses

1926 – A fifth 411 is purchased at the end of the year

1928 – Four Bean-Empire buses delivered. Each held 17 passengers.

1928 – Two Associated Daimlers purchased.

1929 – Ainslie Depot opens

1933 – The Bean-Empire buses replaced with AEC Regals, which held 30 passengers.

1934 – AEC Regal #24 fitted with a diesel engine for evaluation, the first diesel bus to operate in Australia.

1942 – Fleet consists of 25 buses

1956 – First AEC Reliance arrives in Canberra during April

1960 – Bus 037, an AEC Reliance becomes the first bus in Australia to be fitted with air bag suspension.

1962 – August: Bus 015, the first Leyland Leopard, is registered

1962 – Leyland purchase the Associated Equipment Company Ltd. (AEC)

1963 – 19 August: First Woden Valley service (Route 15) travels to Hughes from the City

1965 – The first electronic ticketing system undergoes evaluation.

1966 – Fleet conists of over 90 buses

1966 – Consultants hired to review the image and efficiency of the service

1967 – Services for Belconnen commence

1967 – Review of the network begins, with many routes changed.

1967 – December: Bus 121, an AEC Swift, enters service for evaulation. 10 would be purchased in 1969.

1968 – 25 March: New network introduced. Half-hour frequency in suburbs. Woden to City express service (Route 16) commences

1969 – 8 September – A Morris LD5 operates the first service from the old Woden Interchange (Melrose Dr) to Waramanga.

1970 – 23 November: Bus 156, the first semi-automatic AEC Swift, enters service.

1972 – First operators of a Volvo City Bus

1972 – December: The Department of the Interior is abolished, with the Canberra Bus Service now coming under the Department of the Capital Territory.

1972 – 4 December: Woden Interchange opens

1973 – 2 July: Higgins Interchange opens on Fullagar Street

1974 – 16 April: Woden depot opens

1974 – 23 June: Route 22 from Woden to Kambah commences.

ZIB 236 at City Layover (now Novotel Hotel / Jolimont Centre)
236 – the first Volvo B58-56 (Smithfield body)

1974 – Bus 236, the first Volvo Smithfield, enters service on the intertown. 54 more would follow.

1974 – November: First Leyland National delivered.

1975 – City to Woden Bus Lanes established

1975 – Canberra’s concrete “bunker” shelters first appear.

1975 – First operators of a German designed bus (MAN) – Bus 410.

1975 – First operators of MAN SL200 buses. 141 more would follow before July 1979.

1975 – Higgins Interchange moves “off street” due to traffic issues

1976 – 27 November: Bus 450, Australia’s first Articulated Bus, a MAN SG192 enters service. 21 more are ordered.

1977 – 14 February: Canberra’s bus service renamed ACTION. Prepaid tickets introduced

1977 – November: The first two all-over-advertisements are placed on ACTION Buses (Civic Permanent on Bus 261 and Lennock Motors on Bus 262)

1978 – 33% rise in patronage over the last two years due to rising fuel costs

1978 – First operator to buy buses with internal retarders – Bus 518.

1978 – First city to test Firestone energy absorbing bumpers

1978 – Belconnen Workshop opens

Bus 528 was delivered in June 1978
Bus 528 at Belconnen Interchange

1979 – 27 January: Belconnen Interchange opens, new network commences

1979 – 3 September: Belconnen Depot opens

1979 – September: Ainslie depot closes

1980 – December: Mercedes-Benz awarded three year contract to supply buses to Canberra

1981 – 12% of the rise in patronage made two years ago lost due to driver strikes

1981 – First city to equip production buses with shock absorbing bumpers

1981 – First operator of a Mercedes O.305 built essentially to the German VÖV design

1982 – 23 August: Bus 442 collides with tree on Eastern Valley Way and is withdrawn from service

1982 – 23 November: City Interchange opens

1982 – Five O.305G Mercedes Articulated Buses delivered (613 – 617)

1983 – Woden workshop doubled in size

1986 – Renault PR100, Bus 674, the only one of its kind in Australia, enters service. Also the first right-hand drive bus built by Renault.

1987 – 16 April: 675, the first Mk1 PR100.2 is delivered.

1987 – 23 December: 700, the first Mk1 PR180.2 is delivered

1989 – 28 August: 726, the final Mk1 PR180.2 is delivered

1990 – 25 July: 869, the last Mk1 PR100.2 is delivered.

1990 – 8 August: 870, the first Mk2 PR100.2 is delivered

1991 – 9 December – Buses 001 and 002, “Tram-Buses” enter service on the new Downtowner, a free loop of the city

1992 – July: Bus 003 joins 001 and 002.

1993 – 5 July: Kingston Depot closes

1993 – 16 June: 983, the first Mk2 PR180.2 is delivered

1993 – 25 June, 989, the final Mk2 PR180.2 is delivered.

1993 – 25 June: 982, the last Mk2 PR100.2 is delivered.

1993 – 2 July: Bus 991 delivered

1993 – 30 August: Buses 992 – 995 are delivered, with the last arriving on December 8th

1993 – Bus 991 travels to Canada to feature in the World NGV Conference

1994 – 27 February: Bus 990 delivered

1994 – 22 April: 996-112 and 114-125 begin delivery. The last arrives on January 30th 1995

1995 – 31 July: Wayfarer ticket system (with magnetic pre-paid tickets) commences, replacing fare box and paper tickets

1995 – 28 August: 113 delivered, as a PR100.3a, a prototype.

1996 – Special Needs Transport division transferred to ACTION from Totalcare

1997 – January. Woden Depot closes

1997 – 5 May. Bus 132 the first Dennis Dart SLF “Midi Bus” is delivered

1998 – Network 98 begins, overhaulling the bus network and introducing a zonal fare system.

1998 – 20 February. Bus 156, the final Dennis Dart SLF “Midi Bus” is delivered

2000 – 10 September. Network 2000 introduced.

2001 – 3 September: The School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS) commences

2001 – 18 December: The last day of the SSTS.

2002 – 2 July: The Zonal fare system introduced in 1998 is abolished, with “One Fare, Anywhere” replacing it.

2003 – 20 Irisbus Agoralines, fleet numbers 300-319 are delivered

2003 – 22 December, the first Irisbus Agoraline enters service.

2004 – 12 February, Media launch of the Irisbuses

2004 – June: The first two Scania CNG buses, 320 and 321 are delivered.

2006 – December 4. Network ’06 begins

2006 – December: The final Scania CNG bus, 373 is delivered

2007 – January: AdShel wins contract to supply 200 new shelters and relocate 200 of the “Concrete Bunker” shelters

2008 – 25 February. Bus 914 (Renault PR100.2) collides with tree in Holt. Bus is withdrawn from service.

2008 – 21 May: ACTION reveal their new Logo and Slogan “Going Your Way”

2008 – 2 June: Network ’08 begins.

2008 – July: Bus 374 arrives. It is the first of ACTION’s new MAN 18.310 (CNG).

2008 – December: The last of the CNG MAN 18.310’s enters service.

Bus 300 arrives at Belconnen Interchange - the last service to do so before its closure. Photo by T Milton
Bus 300 arrives at Belconnen Interchange – the last service to do so before its closure. Photo by T Milton

2009 – 24 May: The last day of Belconnen Interchange. The last service, Route 900 is operated by Bus 300 and arrived at 1959hrs

2009 – 25 May: Belconnen Interchange closes, Cohen St Bus Station, and interim stations at Cameron Ave and Lathlain St commence usage.

2009 – 25 August: Bus 390, the first MAN 18.320 arrives at Belconnen Depot

2009 – 15 September: Bus 390 enters service

2009 – 16 November: Route 727 “Redex” commences as a trial service

2010 – 15 February: Bus 464, the first Scania K320UB ‘Steer Tag’ 14.5m bus arrives in Canberra.

2010 – 14 November: Interim Bus Stations on Cameron Avenue and Lathlain St decommissioned following final services for the day.

2010 – 15 November: Network 2010 commences, Westfield Bus Station and Belconnen Community Station open.

2011 – 7 March: MyWay Smartcard Ticketing System commences use for the general public.

2011 – 10 April: Last day that magnetic tickets could be used on buses

2011 – 26 August: Government investigates whether MyWay cards can be used at Government pay-parking carparks.

2011 – 20 October: Transport For Canberra reveals plans for Network 2012, with better Gungahlin services (again) highlighted.

2011 – 24 November: Bus 491, the first of the second batch of MAN 18.320 Diesels, arrives in Canberra.

2011 – 2 December: Deanes Transit Group announces roll out of wireless internet across its bus fleet.

2012 – March: Construction commences on the Barry Drive ‘transitway’ from Clunies Ross Street to Marcus Clarke Street

2012 – April: ACTION launches an official Twitter feed to communicate service disruptions to passengers during morning peak

2012 – June: The ACT Budget provides funding for ninety new buses over four years

2012 – July: Bus 506, the first Scania K360UA Articulated Bus is delivered

2012 – August: ComfortDelGro announced it has acquired Deanes Transit Group for $53 million

2013 – 24 October: Bus 538, the last Scania K360UA bus is delivered

2014 – April. Bus 986 is withdrawn – the last Renault PR180.2 articulated bus

2014 – July. Bus 539, the first of 77 Scania K320UB Euro VI diesels enters service

2015 – July. Bus 852 is withdrawn – the last Renault PR100.2 Mk1 bus

2015 – August. Bus 300 (Irisbus Agoraline) suffers engine bay fire in Spence and is withdrawn from service.