Trying to move around Queanbeyan-Palerang by public transport is challenging. As our towns grow, it’s essential that services improve.
Around 30 per cent of local government area’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transport, so if we want to reduce emissions to address climate change, we’ll need to focus on transport.
Some regional cities have frequent public bus services. Think Albury, Bathurst and Wagga Wagga. But in Queanbeyan-Palerang, services are not as frequent or convenient as they need to be to entice people out of their private vehicles, to support young people who don’t have a licence, people with a disability or medical condition that precludes driving, older people, or anyone unable to afford the cost of owning a vehicle.
Earlier in November, I tried travelling from Queanbeyan to Braidwood by public transport to attend the meet-the-candidate event at 6 pm on a Tuesday. I was without a car, as I share one and someone else was using it. I walked from home to the Queanbeyan interchange and caught the Rixons daily shuttle service that operates between the south coast and Canberra airport. It’s part of a NSW government trial of on-demand services in regional centres. It worked fine. I arrived in time and caught the shuttle back to Bungendore the next morning.
I had booked to return from Bungendore by train in the afternoon but the Sydney-Canberra rail service was not running owing to a freight train derailment near Mittagong the previous day. I waited for the replacement coach – for almost two hours beyond the scheduled arrival time. If we had a better bus service between Bungendore and Queanbeyan, I could have jumped on the bus. But the bus service isn’t really designed for travel throughout the day and there’s no weekend service.
There is also a daily coach service between Canberra and Narooma that will stop in Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood but you need to book, whereas the QCity Transit service you can use without a booking.
Each work day morning, thousands of cars head from Bungendore and Greater Queanbeyan to the ACT and back again in the evening, transporting people to work, children to school and young adults to study. Imagine if we could take a fraction of that traffic off our roads, saving greenhouse emissions, reducing wear and tear on the roads and vehicles, saving households money, and where people can work from home some of the time, keeping more people in Bungendore during the day to spend their money locally and find it easier to participate in community and sporting activities after work.
I know that’s what the Bungendore Climate Action group would love to see. Well, we can do it, we just need to decide that it is important and let our government and council know.
As part of its efforts to improve public transport in regional area, the NSW government is now seeking views on the Queanbeyan bus network. I asked if this included the service between Queanbeyan and Bungendore and was told Bungendore residents would hear about the consultation. So here’s your opportunity to tell the government you want a better bus service by completing the survey.
If you live in other parts of the local government area, why not let the government know what you need from public transport services to your town, too?
Authorised by D. Hayden for The Greens NSW. Suite D, 263-279 Broadway, GLEBE NSW 2037.