Today, the ACT Auditor-General’s report into Public Transport: The Frequent Network in Canberra has highlighted the Barr government’s poor management of buses and has demonstrated it would be foolish to go ahead with light rail, Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe said today.

The report released today shows:

 A frequent public transport service has target speeds of at least 40km/h. In contrast light rail will travel at just 25km/h.

 The frequent bus network has 23.7 percent of people within walking distance (p. 52). However, the Auditor-General has warned that ‘a very significant part of the Frequent Network may never be served by light rail.’ Therefore, even a fanciful $5bn+ inter-town light rail network will only serve a fraction of Canberrans at slower speeds than buses.

 The government is not telling the truth when reporting on transport (p.71).

 The benefit cost ratio of light rail is insufficient in isolation and should be assessed in the context of buses (p.104).


“These findings are in addition to last week’s report which states that there are 10 percent fewer people riding buses than in 2011 (MRCagney Report, p. 69),” Mr Coe said.

“The report repeatedly states that investing in frequent buses delivers a ‘strong benefit to cost ratio’ of $3.59 per dollar (p.84). This in contrast to light rail which has a claimed return of at most $1.20 per dollar invested.

“Whilst 97.6 percent (p.52) of Canberrans are within walking distance of a bus stop, the Opposition calculates that 3 percent will be within walking distance of a proposed tram stop in Stage 1 of light rail.

“The Auditor-General’s report reinforces the fact that this government is poorly managing buses and that the case for light rail has been significantly weakened,” Mr Coe concluded.