ACT Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury last week announced that the ACTION early bird trial, which rewards commuters who catch a bus before the weekday morning peak period, has been extended by four weeks from Friday 30 May to Friday 27 June 2014.
Mr Rattenbury said that due to the promising results of the trial, which commenced in early May and offered a $1 early bird fare to MyWay card holders who catch a bus before 7:30 am on weekdays, the initial four-week trial period has been doubled to eight weeks.
The Minister said the trial has already resulted in an immediate change in travel behaviour, particularly from adult MyWay passengers, but added that the extension of trial will help provide more comprehensive data on passenger behaviour.
"So far during the trial, passenger boardings before 7.30 am have increased on average by 1,500 boardings each week. This increase in passenger numbers includes passengers who have changed travel time as well as new passenger growth," Mr Rattenbury said.
"There has also been an increase in MyWay card usage overall and a positive change across high frequency commuter services such as the Red Rapid, Blue Rapid and Xpresso routes.
"The increased use of earlier bus services has also resulted in less congestion in the peak period.
"Independent research is being carried out on the early bird trial. The results of this research combined with passenger numbers over the extended trial period will provide ACTION with insights into passenger behaviour and influence whether or not an early bird fare is incorporated into ACTION's fare structure.
"The early bird trial is a great time for commuters to try out ACTION buses, to avoid parking hassles and to save money. All that's needed to take advantage of this offer is a MyWay card which can be purchased online, over the phone, from Canberra Connect Shopfronts and MyWay Recharge Agents.
"It's also a good time for regular ACTION commuters to try out an earlier bus as a way to both save money and to avoid the busier peak period," Mr Rattenbury concluded.