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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1687 ..

MR BARR: The ACT budget will invest in Canberra. Madam Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.


Debate resumed.

MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (3.18): I welcome this opportunity to speak once again about our plans for more buses more often, and I thank Miss Burch for raising this issue today.

As members will be aware, in progressing the government's delivery of an integrated transport network, an initial phase of community engagement for the redesign of the public transport network was undertaken late last year. The first phase of consultation provided Transport Canberra officials with an opportunity to speak directly to the community about the new integrated public transport network for Canberra, including the introduction of more rapid bus routes as we move towards a seven-day network.

A total of 678 people filled in the online survey, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they currently use public transport. Canberrans told us that their top three priorities for encouraging more people to use public transport were faster trips and more direct routes, more frequent and reliable services, and increased services at both peak and off-peak times such as during the weekend, during the evening and on weekends.

The first phase of consultation told us that as we move away from a nine to five lifestyle, people want more services at all times of the day and week. This is what the government will be delivering. We can achieve this by reducing duplication across existing routes, freeing up more buses and providing more frequent services in line with the community's expectations. Integrating light rail with our bus network will also free up buses and provide more direct services to key destinations.

The consultation last year found that 62 per cent of respondents said they would use public transport more often if services were more frequent, while 54 per cent said they would like it if journeys were faster. More than 60 per cent said they were keen to see more flexible bus services for residents with limited mobility, and 50 per cent said they were interested in demand-responsive services for residents who cannot access regular bus services. People said they want to get information about planning their transport journey increasingly through digital displays and mobile apps.

Canberra's population is projected to increase significantly over the next 20 years, from just over 400,000 today to nearly half a million. This next network update will really be the first step in ensuring our public transport system meets the needs of our growing city. I am confident that the more we provide frequent direct bus services across Canberra, the more people will choose to leave their car at home and catch public transport. We have certainly seen this with the introduction of network 17 last year, with significant uptake, particularly of the new green and black rapid services.

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