Research publicised in 2008 found that useage of Canberra’s buses to be limited by perceptions of limited reliability, availability and lengthy travel times. Only 10 per cent of Canberra commuters use public transport-buses, as we have no rail. Public transport use generally is a very low 3 per cent. About half of commuters believed public transport in Canberra was unreliable, 34 per cent that it took too long and 35 per cent said it was not available where they needed it. Eleven per cent of commuters were worried about safety on public transport (or, more likely, at the bus exchanges and waiting places) and 26 per cent simply preferred to use their cars.
Why didn’t I take the bus? It would have been cheaper than the car.
Besides being uncomfortable (often having to stand) the big hassle for me was that, including the walk to the bus stop, it took over twice as long as driving.
For time-poor people with good incomes, bus transport will never be attractive. Even if the roads were choked with cars, to use the bus would take longer. If Canberra’s roads ever do become heavily congested, the only way for public transport to compete will be with fast light rail services—unless, of course, petrol prices rise to utterly impossible-to-afford levels, which they will one day, no doubt.