Canberra Centre Masthead

Family roadtest: Park & Ride

Renee Bogatko

So I’ve been having lots of fun trying a range of low cost activities with my three year old Claire, and I’ve loved sharing them with you all.

There’s so much to do in Canberra with kids for under $10, but through our fun journeys, I’ve discovered when you take the costs of parking and petrol into account, the price does start to add up.

Not only that – finding a park can be such a hassle. Last week, Claire and I decided to try ACTION’s Park & Ride service, as a way to try and mitigate the extra costs of outings. I don’t catch many buses as I’m used to the comfort zone of my own car, but I knew I needed to start thinking outside of the box if our outings were going to stay affordable, especially as the temperature drops and it’s less comfortable to ride or walk.

Park & Ride offers allocated parking spaces for passengers to park their car before catching an ACTION bus to their destination. There’s a range of Park & Ride facilities around Canberra, 18 to be exact, which means passengers don’t have to spend long in their car before parking, then catching the bus.


For us, we live in Ngunnawal so we just drove down to the designated Park & Ride space near the Gungahlin Marketplace. I wasn’t sure how many Park & Ride spaces there’d be on offer, and I was hoping we wouldn’t miss out, but there were plenty of spots and it was clearly signed too. We then walked a short distance to the platform where the Red Rapid buses were departing every 15 minutes. We only waited a few minutes before hopping on board.

Claire loved it! It was such a novelty for her to be on a big bus. She loved choosing the seats, looking out the windows, seeing people get on and off, chatting to the bus driver, and just doing something different, but the benefits extend beyond just the passengers.

Park & Ride helps reduce congestion on our roads. It also helps lower the demand for parking in the city and at other major centres and as most parents know, finding a park in busy places like Civic can be a nightmare in itself, especially with a cranky toddler in the back!

Our bus left Gungahlin Marketplace at 2.23pm, and arrived in the city at 2.50. We only had to walk about 50 metres to our event – The Green Shed Day in the City.

CBRwithkidsunder10_green shed

The event, run by the second-hand goods shop, will be held about four times this year, always on a Friday. The aim is to liven up Garema Place and the city centre by inviting everyone to an all day party. There’s face painting, a jumping castle, and gelato on offer from 10am till 6pm, all for free! Yep, you read correctly!

We went on a super hot day (hard to believe now that Autumn has well and truly settled in), so the gelato went down a treat for both of us. That was followed by a bounce on the jumping castle, then face painting by the Gecko Gang.

Overall, I’d highly recommend using ACTION’s Park & Ride service. It’s a fun, cheap and convenient form of transportation and for those who aren’t used to catching a bus, I was in your boat, and trust me, it’s not scary! The littlies will get a kick out of it, you’ll save some cash, and you won’t have to worry about finding a park in those busy parts of Canberra and missing the start of an event.


If you’re planning to Park & Ride, there are some other things to keep in mind before you plan your journey. Some Park & Ride locations require a permit, others don’t. To find out which locations require a permit, and how to apply for one online, just head to the ACTION website. Permits can be used at any Park & Ride facility. To also be eligible to use the service, you need to hold a MyWay card that has $90 or more travel credit for a standard card, $40 of more credit on a concession card ot have an active Autoload direct debit payment. And kids under five travel for free!

Read Renee’s Canberra with Kids under $10 articles here

the essentials 

What: ACTION’s Park & Ride service
Where: All over Canberra! Click here for car park locations
When: Every day
More information: See the ACTION website:

What: The Green Shed
Where: Mitchell and select ‘Day In The City’ events in Garema Place
More information: See their website:

The author and her daughter rode courtesy of ACTION


Renee Bogatko

Renee is a Canberra girl born and raised and mum to a beautiful three year old girl, Claire. She studied Journalism at the University of Canberra, and has been working in print, TV and radio for the past eight years. She loves being a stay-at-home mum to her little girl but when she's not out and about with Claire, she's either reading the news at Canberra FM, cruising the streets in Black Thunder, taking a dance class, going to the gym, hanging out with friends or family or keeping on top of house duties. She also loves cooking, trying new restaurants, playing netball, and adult colouring in! More about the Author