news All aboard! Light rail officially launched
Around 25,000 people caught the new light rail on its public launch date, Saturday 20 April.
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 will begin on Monday 29 April, with free travel for MyWay Card holders on both buses and the new light rail for a month.
Plenty of people joined the queue in Gungahlin to catch the light rail to the City.
Brothers share young citizen honours Entrepreneurial brothers Oscar and Josh Gonzalez are the joint winners of the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year award. Announced on Friday 12 April, Oscar and Josh, aged 23 and 22, were recognised for their entrepreneurial spirit, business skills and commitment to the community. The brothers founded PKUP, a driving service that allows customers to be taken home in their own car, ensuring customers and their cars return home safely. As part of PKUP’s business model, the brothers donate a portion of each trip to a charity. They also volunteer for a number of not-for-profit organisations and community groups across Canberra. Minister for Children, Youth and Families Rachel Stephen-Smith said the brothers are “a great example of what young people can achieve”. “Their commitment to building a business that focuses on connections with people and giving back where they can is to be admired,” Ms Stephen-Smith said. “This is only the beginning for Josh and Oscar; I’m sure they 8
will go on to achieve many more milestones and continue to be great representatives for young people in Canberra.” The Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards recognise individuals and groups of young people aged between 12 and 25 years who have made a significant contribution through their personal endeavours or who have been actively involved in the ACT community. The 2019 recipients include: Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Junior Award – Lily Haskins, who volunteers at Stella Bella Children’s Centre; Personal Achievement – Shiralee Sankey, who is a passionate advocate for disadvantaged youth and had campaigned for more youth services in Canberra; Group Achievement – Young Women Speak Out, who advocate on issues affecting young women in Canberra; Individual Community Services – Tilleah Roselli, who is a Youth Leader for the CREATE Foundation supporting children and young people in out of home care; Arts and Multimedia – Julia Faragher, whose project ‘From Amateur to Artist’ aims to give young
Brothers Joshua and Oscar Gonzalez celebrate being named joint winners of the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year. Image supplied.
Canberra women of various backgrounds the opportunity to talk about the intersection of their art with their lives; and Environment and Sustainability – James Jayatilaka, whose ‘Cans in Crates’ program encourages environmentally responsible behaviour.