After just under three years of construction, Canberra’s light rail system is officially up and running. The community celebrated with a launch party on Saturday 20 April, with around 25,000 people taking a ride on the day. Hundreds of charity and ballot winners were given a special community preview of the light rail on Thursday 18 April.
“The launch turnout shows how invested the community is in the future of Canberra,” said ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris. “The Gungahlin to City route is the first stage of a broader program to connect Canberra’s town centres.
“While light rail is a new concept for many people, the positive feedback we’ve received tells us that we are on the right track in improving the connectivity and liveability of our city. Canberra is now better connected with the light rail route from Gungahlin to City, and this work now continues with the second stage of light rail – City to Woden.”
ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said last week Canberrans must be patient as they adjust to sharing the road with light rail. According to interstate experiences, he said the first few months when a light rail network opens is when road users and vulnerable road users are most at risk.
“Everyone must be patient as they adjust to sharing the road with light rail, especially during peak hour when a light rail vehicle crosses an intersection every four minutes,” Minister Rattenbury said.
“Light rail vehicles take longer to stop than cars so be alert and keep your eyes on the road and tracks, not on your phone.
“Cyclists must pay particular attention when crossing the light rail tracks, and be careful their bicycle wheels do not get caught in the grooves of the tracks. We have taken great care to build the mid-block crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, so please only cross at these designated crossings and intersections.”
Canberra’s new bus network has will begin on Monday 29 April, with free travel for MyWay Card holders on both buses and the new light rail for a month.