Bikes vs buses: Which gets you to your nearest Town Centre faster?
Canberra is a notoriously bike-friendly city, along with being well-known for its supposedly infrequent and inefficient public transport. For UC students, this begs the question: Which will actually get you to the nearest town centres faster?
I conducted a data analysis study by using Google to measure 568 different buses which travel from the University of Canberra to the City, Belconnen and Gungahlin throughout the day on weekdays, in order to determine on average whether cycling or public transit is faster to the nearest major town centres.
Transport Canberra buses do not operate at the University of Canberra during the hours of 0000-0600, obviously rendering cycling the only option of the two.
From 0620 – 2359, starting from the University of Canberra bus stop to Belconnen Westfield, buses have on average a transit time of 6 minutes and 14 seconds (across 267 different buses) departing roughly every four and a half minutes.
This is opposed to cycling, where google calculates the duration to travel from the same two destinations as 9 minutes.
Likewise, from 0600 – 2230, across 235 buses the average transit time from UC to the City Bus Interchange is around 19 minutes, departing roughly every five minutes on average (including the 30 and 31 bus routes which detour around West Belconnen).
The estimated cycling duration taking the quickest route takes 23 minutes.
When travelling to Gungahlin, from 0600 – 2220 there are only 68 buses that depart to Gungahlin Marketplace (from the recommended Bus Stop adjacent to UC on Aikman Drive).
Whilst services almost depart only roughly every 16 minutes averaging at roughly 22 minutes travel time, cycling takes 36 minutes; over 60 per-cent longer.
According to the Transport Canberra website, the standard tertiary MyWay Card bus fare is $1.57 and the cash fare is $2.40 for student concession which is important to consider when buses only save 3-4 minutes when travelling from UC to Belconnen and the City.
For travelling to Gungahlin however, buses could be considered a reasonable money saving substitute to driving and a time saving alternative to cycling.
Overall, using public transport from the University of Canberra is only marginally quicker than cycling to Belconnen and the City, but considerably quicker than cycling to Gungahlin.