March 9 2017 Canberra Airport public transport service to start March 20 .
The main driver and manager of Canberra Airport's express shuttle bus says he had no idea the ACT government would soon be introducing public transport to the terminal.
Canberra Times broke the news to David Wischer on Thursday afternoon after Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris revealed the new service in a Legislative Assembly committee.
Canberra Airport is currently serviced by a privately operated express shuttle. Photo: Supplied .
Ms Fitzharris said public buses would begin running to the airport on March 20.
The route 11 bus will have 32 city-airport services each way on weekdays from 6.26am to 9.11pm. Return trips will run from 6.48am to 9.40pm.
Canberra Airport Express shuttle driver David Wischer said he's "shocked and dismayed" nobody told him the service will have to compete with public transport. Photo: LinkedIn .
The bus will run 13 times on Saturday and 12 times on Sunday and public holidays.
•Click here for the full timetable
The private shuttle operates 12 times each way on weekdays and 10 times on weekends.
Currently on holiday in Melbourne, Mr Wischer, who runs the express shuttle operated by Royale, said he was "gobsmacked" to hear the news.
A public bus service to Canberra Airport will begin on March 20. Photo: Jeffrey Chan.
A phone call to Royale also found the receptionist was unaware.
Asked if the express bus would continue after March 20, Mr Wischer said "it's dead in the water", although it could possibly be reconfigured as a hotel transfer service.
"I'm shocked and dismayed," he said, adding that three jobs could be lost.
Mr Wischer said the express shuttle had struggled with a lack of signage at the airport.
"Uber has got a sign and we don't," he said.
The committee this morning heard signs will be installed at the terminal to inform arriving passengers of public transport and the bus will stop close to the main entrance.
Timetables show the journey taking 15 to 19 minutes, slightly faster than the shuttle, which stops at the YHA and National Convention Centre.
"The government doesn't even realise we exist, I think," Mr Wischer said.
"There's been no warning at all. I've heard people on radio saying 'why isn't there a public bus service to the airport?'.
"Well there is; we cost $12 and we give a really good service."
Public transport advocates however, have welcomed the introduction of government buses.
"It has been one of the great mysteries of Canberra why there has not been public transport to and from the Canberra Airport terminal," David Johnston said.
"Some bus services currently go tantalisingly close to the airport, but still leave a good walk for public transport users.
"Most cities have had public transport to their airports for many years now and these services are in the main well patronised, as I am sure the new service here will be."
Mr Johnston said modifying route 11 was a good choice.
"The timetable also looks good for a new service and I am pleased to see that MyWay and standard fares will apply," he said.
"It is also good that the new service will have wheelchair access for the disabled. This has been a big gap with the existing private shuttle."
Mr Johnston said more improvements to the wider network were needed.
"It's great to be able to commence this new bus service so people have another option about how they travel to and from Canberra Airport," Ms Fitzharris said in a statement.
"Customers will be able to take public transport from the city to the Canberra Airport, with services running about every half hour, better during peak times on weekdays, and every hour on weekends.
"Canberra Airport plays an important role in our city's economy, and this service is being implemented following talks with the Canberra Airport and feedback from the community."
The government had previously committed to introduce the airport service by 2020.
"It's great we have been able to introduce a public transport link to the airport early, and this service will operate until such a time that a Rapid Bus to Canberra Airport is introduced," Ms Fitzharris said.
"This is another example of the ACT Government's commitment to providing accessible and attractive public transport options for the ACT."
Canberra Airport also welcomed the government's move.
"This will increase the transport offering for airport passengers, in addition to taxi services and Uber ride sharing," managing director Stephen Byron said.
"Airport passengers have been well serviced by the Airport Express shuttle service run by Royale since September 2011.
"Royale has been very generous in providing this service, and we express our gratitude to them for complementing the airport's transport offerings.
"The decision by Transport Canberra will be particularly welcomed by our low-cost carrier passengers, who will be well serviced for departures and arrivals."www.theage.com.au/act-news/canberra-air ... uu46u.html
* Great news, and full credit to ACT gov't for listening.
* Having faith in the community's ideas should, I think, be a prerequisite for government ministers but it is sadly lacking in this assembly.
I think something else has nudged this project along. Maybe the Airport PR has a better ear.
* Yes full credit, though not for listening, but by being able to negotiate with the airport owners. It is they who have opposed and stopped the public bus service for so long.
* At last ... just a pity that it took so long and needed public pressure to get the government moving.
* It's not for the first time. Route 80 from Belconnen to the city was extended to Russell and the airport in Network 98. The Russell - Airport bit was changed to Russell - Kingston in about 2001.
There was also a government bus to the airport in the late 1960s! (Canberra Times, 24 July 1969, page 2.)
* "This is another example of the ACT Government's commitment to providing accessible and attractive public transport options for the ACT"? Rubbish. It is an ACT Government that has at-last been forced to provide a service that should always have been there and wasn’t because the ACT Government objected to Airport land being used for office development that wasn’t under the control of and didn’t provide revenue to the ACT Government (part of the contract conditions of the Federal Government airport sell-off). Airport office space has had to rely on other providers for bus services for all this time – just because the ACT Government decided to get political about it.
This should have happened decades ago – and there is no reason it couldn’t have happened decades ago. There are far more people using the airport than the train yet there has been a bus service to the train station but not the airport? Why? Fyshwick is well serviced by busses and is a similar distance from the relevant hubs and has been serviced by busses for decades. Why not the airport?
* It did happen decades ago. Several times. There was a Commonwealth government bus from the airport to Civic in the 1960s but it was withdrawn due to lobbying by taxis. ACTION introduced an airport bus in Network 98 but it was deliberately infrequent and didn't run early or late enough to be useful, and after a few years the terminus was changed from the airport to the train station!
* the airport owners are the ones who have to date prevented a public bus service being provided to the airport. Instead preferring the small van operator in, who they charge for the privilege.
The government has been able to, and was willing to provide services to the non terminal parts of the airport for some time now. So debunks your theory of spite.
* There was a gentleman's agreement by ACTION not to compete with Deane's which used to run the Airliner.
* There have been several incarnations of public bus services to the airport that are not "small van" operations since, briefly by ACTION in 1998 to 2001, then the Deane's Airliner from 2001 to 2011. These were full sized buses. The problem was the ACTION service wasn't frequent enough to be useful and used a normal commuter bus which didn't have any luggage space. The Airliner was almost as expensive as a taxi and stopped at 6pm, and it got so unpopular it was reduced to 5 trips per day. The current "small van" operation is about as much as an unsubsidised private sector operation can sustain.
The lack of luggage space is still going to be a problem if normal commuter buses are used on route 11.
* The airport is private land and the airport controls who can and cannot pick up there. The airport allowed Action to operate to the business park but not to the terminal, I mean to say for years a bus has ran straight past, if allowed Action would have run it into the terminal!
When Deanes were running the service it was expensive because the airport took a cut of the fare. The same is true for the current small van operator. There was no non comepte gentlemans agreement, it was an airport licencing agreement, the airport only allowed Deanes to operate, and when they pulled out the van operation.
I suspect the airport now realises that they are not really making enough money off the operator that they have decided to allow Action to operate once more.
* I guess that ACTION route 80 bus I got to the airport in 1998 was a figment of my imagination?
* I am amazed that it has taken this long. I could never understand why the airport was never serviced by a regular bus service. Twenty years ago I took a taxi from the airport with a baby to Gungahlin and it cost $85 (the baby capsule alone cost about $30 of that).
* The reason ACTION hasn't run to the airport, apart from a deliberately inconvenient service in Network 98, was because of a gentleman's agreement not to compete with Deane's Buslines (now Qcity Transit) which did have an airport service. This has hamstrung airport visitors for decades.
This is a good first step but can be better, for example the airport bus should run through to Queanbeyan.
It also makes no sense for Canberra and Queanbeyan to have separate bus networks with separate ticketing and partially overlapping routes. The two must be merged with a unified, integrated timetable and integrated ticketing. The fact there is a state border in between is not an issue. There are cross-border local bus services in Albury-Wodonga and the Gold Coast.
* It's certainly a shame for the operators of the 'Airport Shuttle' service, which has operated for so long, filling a gap left open by short sighted politicians. However, it will be welcome news to those who work at the airport precinct, and have struggled with transport issues.
* The shuttle company must have been living under a rock. This had been talked about for a while and also reported in The Canberra Times. Not knowing about it is embarrassing for them!
Let's just hope the new ACTION bus has suitable room for luggage... you know that stuff people generally bring to/from an airport?
* Agree with the others -- this is well past time (and I also remember the previous ACTION services). However, what it will take to make a new service work, besides good scheduling and a sensible route, is (not to state the obvious, but...) actual luggage space inside the buses. Currently, the design of ACTION buses precludes anything other than a pram and maybe a couple of shopping bags.
* all we need is a few more budget services ( jetstar ? ) to melbourne to complement the tiger airways service.
* I don't see what the issue is, the public have been asking for ACTION to provide these services for years..the Airport Express obviously wasn't well advertised or widely known to the public...maybe time to get a job at Murrays?
* Thank you we need this service.
* Canberra Airport also welcomed the government's move.