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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4063..

Questions without notice

ACTION bus service

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the minister for transport and municipal services. Residents in Belconnen have complained that morning peak hour services for their suburbs finish at 8.30 am with hourly bus services commencing after that time. Why has this government cut so many bus services? How will such a large cut to bus services encourage people to use public transport?

MR HARGREAVES: Any government has a responsibility to the travelling public to respond to demand where it perceives that demand to be, and to operate a bus service efficiently and effectively. There has been a demand for additional services to places such as the eye hospital, Harrison, Calvary Hospital and the cemetery and, very importantly, more demand for services on peak commuter routes.

In line with the government's sustainable transport plan and in the interests of trying to combat climate change, the government is providing an accent on those particular services, particularly commuting routes. In doing this—and making sure that we do that within the resources allocated to it by government—we have had a look at those routes where there has been, shall we say, a lessening of patronage. We have tried—as we do very frequently—to adjust those routes between suburbs and the interchanges to reflect the travelling public.

We accept that any network of bus routes will not suit everybody. We accept that. We ask the travelling public to understand what we are trying to do. We ask the travelling public to contact the ACTION hotline and Canberra Connect to let them know what difficulties they experience. It is that information that we use when we refine, and more clearly define, the bus routes in the next round of changes.

Members opposite would be aware that every single year we change the school bus routes to respond to the changes in school demographics. This most recent network change in terms of the general commuting public is the best fit that our schedulers can make at the moment. But with the best will in the world, the schedulers will not know the difficulty experienced by everybody. I am asking those opposite to encourage their constituents to let us know their difficulties. Where we can accommodate those difficulties, we will. Where we cannot, we will give folks an explanation as to why not.

MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, why does this government consider that morning peak hour now finishes at 8.00 am for some residents?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Stefaniak asks: why does this government consider that peak hour finishes at half past eight? I do not see that Mr Stefaniak has the right to speak on behalf of the government, because he certainly does not.

Mr Stefaniak: I didn't. I asked you. I asked you, you goose.

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