Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 October 2022) . . Page.. 2852 ..
Transport Canberra—bus timetables
MS CLAY: My question is to the minister for transport. Minister, many of us in the community have welcomed the clarity from the 5 October announcement about the changes for term 1 for our buses, but we are a little disappointed that we cannot have a return to full services, which we agreed to in May this year in the Assembly. Can you explain to me why we cannot yet go back to full services?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. This is a full timetable that we are delivering from the first term next year. It will fully utilise all of the fleet that we have available—every bus and every driver that we have available, including all of the extra drivers that we have been recruiting over this period up until the end of the year. We expect to have up to an additional 60 drivers to support the new timetable.
We have been operating from an interim timetable since last year. That is because of the COVID-19 impacts on the workforce, which meant that, in order to deliver reliable services, we had to have that interim timetable in place. As we move to the full timetable next year, we will still be able to deliver a good level of frequency, particularly on the rapid routes, while fully utilising all of the resources available to us.
The reality is that the circumstances next year will be changed from what they were in 2019. We will be in a period of major construction, which we have taken into account with the timetable. That means more buses are required to deliver the same level of frequency that would otherwise have been provided, because the buses take longer to go through and complete their route, particularly those that are going into the CBD area.
For example, I have been advised by Transport Canberra that buses coming from the south side, from Woden, will take an additional four minutes to get into the city, and buses coming south will take an additional eight minutes. That has been factored in. That is based on the forecast modelling that we have been undertaking while construction takes place. We will actually experience that construction taking place next year, so we know we will also need to look at how we can potentially update the network as we progress, if those times are different. (Time expired.)
MS CLAY: Minister, will the full timetable next year include hourly weekend services in the suburbs?
MR STEEL: The ACT government continues to focus on delivering reliable services. We continue to recruit more drivers to deliver more services. We continue to consider and monitor the ability for us to step up services on the weekend. That will not be delivered from term 1. We are still in negotiations. One of the action points that has previously been tabled in the Assembly in our action plan in relation to weekend bus services is to continue discussions with employee representatives through enterprise bargaining negotiations in good faith on workforce availability so that we can reliably deliver services on the weekend.
Those discussions are ongoing. They are not a discussion between you and me; they are a discussion between Transport Canberra and the employee representatives, in good faith, as they should be. Those are continuing. We are looking forward to those coming to a conclusion. That will address that issue, as well as other issues that you