Canberra’s bus and light rail drivers, mechanics and support staff, have maintained a safe and fully operational timetable for public transport services throughout the pandemic.
“This is group of people who have been quietly and proudly delivering the important services that our community has relied on during the pandemic, and they deserve our thanks,” Minister for Transport Chris Steel said.
"While there's been less people using public transport, each journey has been important to keep our society functioning and Canberrans moving."
Transport Canberra has seen a daily average of 8,873 journeys for the first week of term two*. This is a decrease of around 85% when compared to the first week of term two 2019** which saw the average of 66,766 journeys. The decrease since mid-March is due people working from home and taking heed of the ACT Government’s direction to only use bus and light rail services for essential travel.
“We are now starting to see some Canberrans returning to public transport, which we are monitoring closely,” Minister Steel said.
“There is a very real benefit for everyone, but particularly those travelling on public transport, to download the COVIDSafe app, so that you know if you’ve been in close contact with anyone on board with the virus.
“Health and safety is paramount and we’ll continue to be guided by the AHPPC on safety on public transport,” Minister Steel said.
9793 journeys were taken on the network on Tuesday 28 April 2020, our busiest day since the end of March.
Extra cleaning has been implemented at bus and light rail stations as well on-board vehicles. Precautions have also been taken to protect our bus drivers such as no longer accepting cash payments and only allowing rear door boarding except for those with mobility difficulties. Social distancing is also being encouraged on board.
“We’ve brought on 30 new people from within the wider transport industry to fill new positions, including the delivery of increased cleaning services on our bus fleet. These jobs will help Canberra stay afloat by ensuring people have jobs, while keeping our public transport network services running at the regular timetable so essential workers can get to and from work,” Minister Steel said.
“The ACT Government has been working closely with union representatives from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) during this time to ensure the wellbeing of workers is at the forefront of Transport Canberra’s response to COVID-19.
“We’re looking at how social distancing and other measures can be promoted on public transport as more people start travelling, but we are still asking Canberrans to reconsider the need to travel at this time.”
Minister Steel said that Transport Canberra had started planning for the recovery and measures to support more people safely returning to public transport in the future, once restrictions are lifted.
“Canberrans have been able to rely on public transport during the crisis, because we’ve been delivering the same services week in week out on buses and light rail.
“We are in a much better position than many other cities having delivered constant reliable services throughout the pandemic to support more people back on to public transport once restrictions are eased at an appropriate time.”
To find out more about how Transport Canberra is responding to COVID-19 visit: www.transport.act.gov.au
Quote attributable to Union Delegates, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union:
“Transport Canberra has been receptive to the union’s concerns, establishing weekly meetings and making changes in accordance with workers’ feedback. This has been integral to ensuring both worker and commuter safety.”
Quote attributable to Transport Canberra Bus Driver, Suzie Martin:
“I love my job so much and I wanted to bring a smile to the communities faces during this hard time. Participating in the teddy bear hunt using my bus is my way of having social contact from a distance.”
Quote attributable to Transport Canberra Mechanic, James Corbett:
“Mechanical repairs and servicing on our fleet is still important as ever due to TCCS still providing a full bus service. Our Peak demands are still the same and our standards are still the same. This has helped a lot of people who may rely on public transport to continue to use it, but it has also helped a lot of our workers to maintain a somewhat normal working life.”
Quote attributable to Canberra Metro Customer Service Officer, Tina Collins:
“Like everyone, I was worried about how quickly COVID-19 was spreading, but I knew that it was important that the light rail remained in operation. We may only be getting small numbers, but for some people it’s the only way they can travel. I’m glad we can help these people. My kids tell everyone that my job is essential and that they are proud of me!”
*28 April 2020– 1 May 2020
** 29 April 2019 – 3 May 2019.
- Statement ends -
Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases