Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 7 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2248..
ACTION bus service
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Planning, in relation to ACTION buses. Minister, I understand that, on Thursday 2 June 2005, ACTION achieved another patronage milestone. Would you please tell the Assembly how this milestone further demonstrates the government's commitment to the sustainable transport plan?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. I am pleased to advise members that, on Thursday 2 June, ACTION buses hit another milestone in terms of patronage, achieving over 21,000 adult boardings in a single day. It was only a month or so ago that I was in this place advising members that ACTION had achieved over 20,000 boardings in a single day, a record at that time. I am pleased to advise members that patronage on ACTION buses continues to increase, with 21,000 adult boardings on a single day earlier this month. This is the first time that we have seen that number of adult passenger boardings in a single day. That is a significant outcome for the territory.
ACTION is now running at approximately eight per cent higher, in terms of its patronage, than in the same period last year. I am referring to adult patronage. This milestone is a result of the government's dedication to developing initiatives to encourage people to consider alternatives to the car for at least some of their transport journeys. It is worth highlighting the range of initiatives that are helping to contribute to this significant and sustained increase in patronage.
There is the bus text initiative that the government announced earlier this year, the SMS timetable system via your mobile phone, the new on demand evening flexibus services, which started in April this year—allowing door-to-door service, in many instances, for people catching the bus in the evenings and on weekends—and the new Xpresso express services that were introduced in September last year. Specifically, these Xpresso services have been targeting the adult work force and account for half the overall increase in adult patronage growth. So it shows that, if you make the investment in public transport, if you target the services, you get the results of more people using public transport, less congestion on our roads and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a very strong example of the government's commitment to implementing a sustainable transport plan and helping to build Canberra as a more sustainable city. Of course, it is worth highlighting also that we continued this commitment in the most recent budget. The amount of $4.8 million has been allocated to continue our extensive bus fleet replacement program and another 11 new compressed natural gas buses will be added to the fleet in the coming year. That will bring the number of compressed natural gas buses acquired to the figure of 53 since the government was first elected in 2001. And, on top of that, $6.76 million for the introduction of a real-time information system, a system that the Liberal Party would want to scrap.
Opposition members interjecting—
MR CORBELL: They would want to scrap it and they would want to put at risk the patronage gains we have achieved in public transport. They would want to send the signal that they do not want to invest in public transport. Indeed, in the last election there