Page 4063 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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The line will be integrated with rapid and route bus services. In the future additional light rail lines are planned to other town centres and destinations, extending the benefits of our existing line on stage 1, stage 2 and beyond.

The ACT government will consider changes to the bus network when we are closer to light rail stage 2B becoming operational. Changes to the bus network will be made through evidence-based decision-making using various data sources at that point in time, but not limited to public transport patronage data, household travel survey data, customer feedback, and integration with other transport modes.

Mr Parton claimed that travel time has increased following the introduction of light rail stage 1. But he forgets to remember that it only takes around 24 minutes to travel from Gungahlin to the city on light rail, whereas the old red rapid bus service used to take between 35 and 40 minutes. It is no wonder that we have seen an increase in the number of people wanting to use light rail on the stage 1 route since the old rapid service—which was rapid but did not deliver the same benefits as light rail—was there.

The changes we made to the bus network following the introduction of light rail have allowed us to continue to improve services across the entire bus network. Under the current bus network, Canberrans have access to more than 800 additional services each day during the week, when compared to the network operating pre light rail. It is estimated that the introduction of light rail has also allowed us to redistribute nearly 3,500 kilometres of bus services to improve the overall bus network.

As much as the Liberals try, they cannot argue that light rail stage 1 has not been incredibly successful. It is now a central part of our public transport system. It provides a frequent, convenient connection for the people on Canberra’s north side, significantly reducing both the number of cars on our roads and the harmful emissions that they create, as well as congestion on the roads. We have seen that on Northbourne Avenue.

Around 20 per cent of all Canberra’s public transport trips are taken on light rail. This is a key point, so I will repeat it: across our entire public transport network, 20 per cent of our passengers travel on the 12 kilometres of light rail track between Gungahlin and the city.

Contrary to Mr Parton’s motion, the ACT government did see an increase in public transport patronage following the introduction of light rail across Canberra. Just prior to the impacts of COVID, we had recorded public transport journeys increasing by over 10 per cent across the ACT, and that is comparing weekly journeys in February 2019 versus February 2020.

There is a difference between passenger boardings and journeys. A boarding is recorded every time a passenger gets onto a public transport vehicle, whereas a single journey is recorded based on a customer’s total travel from start to end, which may include multiple boardings when they have caught more than one service.

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