On 19 July 1926, the Federal Capital Commission commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake (now Kingston) in the south and Ainslie in the north.
The service was first known as "Canberra City Omnibus Service", but it has had a number of names over the years, including "Canberra City Bus Service", "Canberra Omnibus Service" and "Canberra Bus Service". On 14 February 1977, it was renamed as the "Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network", or ACTION for short.
As part of the move to ACT self-government, responsibility for ACTION passed from the Federal Government to the ACT Government in 1989.
As at November 2015, ACTION is a business unit of the Public Transport Division of the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate of the ACT Government. On 27 October 2015, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Andrew Barr announced the establishment of Transport Canberra, which will commence from 1 July 2016. This new agency will combine the Public Transport Division and Capital Metro Agency to manage all public transport operations within the ACT.
ACTION operates two separate networks of bus routes; one on weekdays and the other on weekends and public holidays. The latest change to weekday routes and timetables occurred on 18 May 2015 and for weekend routes and timetables on 17 October 2015.
Blue Rapid services provide a high-frequency link between the City and the bus stations at Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong town centres. Blue Rapid services consist of the 300 series routes (300, 313, 314, 315, 316, 318, 319 and 343) on weekdays and route 900 on weekends and public holidays.
Blue Rapid route 300 operates between Kippax and the town centres; the remaining weekday blue rapid services operate through suburbs in Belconnen or Tuggeranong and then continue along the trunk (or common) route to the four town centres.
On weekends and public holidays, route 900 travels between all stations as well as the Erindale Centre. Some route 900 services on Saturday service only Woden, City and Belconnen.
Red Rapid Route 200 is a limited stop weekday service between Gungahlin Town Centre, Northbourne Avenue, City, Russell Offices, Barton and Iron Knob Street, Fyshwick (at the Canberra Outlet Centre). In the evenings, the service commences and terminates at the Canberra railway station, rather than Fyshwick.
ACTION's regular weekday services operate either as feeder services to a single town centre or connect two or three town centres via suburban streets.
During weekends and public holidays, ACTION provides a reduced level of service with most suburban routes operating with an hourly frequency.
Xpresso routes operate during weekday peak hours to provide direct links to the City, Russell Offices, Barton, Campbell Park and Airport Business Parks or direct services between Town Centres bypassing the City. These services are designed to reduce the travel time for commuters. Xpresso services are numbered 712 - 792.
Other weekday peak hour services operate as an extension to existing route services. These routes are numbered in the 1** and 2** series (where the ** represents the regular route service number). The 100 series routes travel along the Blue Rapid trunk route between Woden and City Bus Stations. The 200 series routes travel along the Red Rapid trunk route between Gunghalin Bus Station and Canberra Railway Station. The exception is route 202 which is a nonstop route starting at Gungahlin and finishing at the City bus station. It operates only during the morning peak hours.
School services are provided by ACTION to schools and colleges throughout the ACT. These are numbered in the 401 - 699 and 800 - 899 ranges.
ACTION also operates the special needs transport division which provides transport for school students with a disability. This division is operated using a dedicated fleet of wheelchair-accessible minibuses.
The Flexible bus service operates on weekdays to provide a free, basic bus service to passengers with limited access to normal public transport options. Six services operate daily providing a pick up service in the morning from designated suburbs to shopping centres and hospitals, with return services operating in the afternoon.
These bus services are operated by the special needs transport minibuses.
There are four cash fare options on ACTION:Adult Single (with 90 minute transfer)
Concession Single (with 90 minute transfer)
Concession tickets are available to school students, full-time tertiary students, seniors card holders and various government concession card holders.
The pre-paid ticketing system operated by the ACT Government is known as MyWay. It uses contactless smart cards with MIFARE-Technology onto which credit is loaded. Passengers are required to 'tag on' when boarding the bus and 'tag off' when exiting, at which point the appropriate fare is calculated and, if required, deducted from the stored value on the MyWay card.
The MyWay system uses Parkeon software and equipment including Wayfarer 200 consoles and Axio card readers. The system was built and installed by Parkeon's Australian distributor, Downer EDi. Instead of being developed from scratch, MyWay was adapted from Transperth's SmartRider system which also uses Parkeon hardware and software.
As at November 2015, ACTION's route service fleet consisted of 422 buses, as follows:
Bicycle racks have been fitted to the front of 84% of the buses in the fleet. Each rack can hold two bicycles. Passengers may load a bicycle onto the rack for free, but must pay a regular fare to travel on the bus.
Apart from buses with all over advertising or special designs, ACTION's fleet sport either a blue, orange and white livery (Renault and Dennis buses) or a green, orange and white livery (all other buses).
ACTION's Special Needs Transport division operates a fleet of eighteen Fuso Rosas minibuses. These buses are white in colour and do not operate on route services.
ACTION also operate Toyota Hiace Commuter and Hyundai iMax vans which can be used to transport passengers, Hino Dutro trucks used by mechanics to attend broken down buses and a single Mack tow truck.
ACTION's heritage fleet consists of a 1949 AEC Regal III and a 1961 AEC Reliance.
ACTION operates three depots:Woden Transport Depot, Prospect Court, Phillip opened 16 April 1974, closing in February 1997 before reopening in 2009. It currently houses the Special Needs Transport minibus fleet and buses which are not in service.
Belconnen Bus Depot, Cohen Street, Belconnen opened 3 September 1979, includes a bus wash, workshop, undercover bus parking, diesel refill, drivers amenities and administrative area.
Tuggeranong Bus Depot, Scollay Street, Greenway opened in August 1989, includes a bus wash, workshop, undercover bus parking, CNG and diesel fuelling facilities, drivers amenities and administrative area.
ACTION operates five bus stations, which act as hubs for the districts of Canberra.City Bus Station (opened 23 November 1982 and remodelled 2000) serves Gungahlin and Canberra Central
Woden Bus Station (opened 4 December 1972, second stage opened 1982) serves Woden Valley, Weston Creek and Tuggeranong
Tuggeranong Bus Station (opened 12 August 1991) serves Tuggeranong
Located in Belconnen Town Centre are two bus stations - Cohen Street (opened 2009) and Belconnen Community Station (opened November 2010) - which serve Belconnen and Gungahlin
City Bus Station is located on East Row, Mort Street and Alinga Street with peak services departing from Northbourne Avenue. Limited local access is permitted on Mort and Alinga Streets, while East Row is a bus-only street. Woden and Tuggeranong Bus Stations are off street stations which permit access only to buses, essential traffic and emergency vehicles.
Belconnen Town Centre is serviced by two bus stations located along Cohen Street: Cohen Street Bus Station (located outside the Belconnen Bus Depot near the intersection with Josephson Street, opened in May 2009) and Belconnen Community Bus Station (located between Benjamin Way and Emu Bank, at the site of the former Belconnen Interchange, opened in November 2010). In addition, a major stop is located outside Westfield Belconnen, near the intersection of Cohen and Lathlain Streets. All bus routes travelling to or through Belconnen Town Centre service all three locations. Additional stops are located on Emu Bank and Eastern Valley Way which are serviced by most routes which travel through Belconnen Town Centre.
Bus shelters installed at stops include what is referred to as a "concrete bunker" which were first installed in May 1975. More modern shelters include glass-sided Adshel shelters (both with and without advertising) which were first installed in 2007 and CAM (Community Asset Management NZ Limited) shelters which were first installed in 2012.