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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5837 ..

not be there for some time—we will of course always have an issue in providing a wheelchair accessible bus on all routes. But of course it is our long-term aim and our determination to ensure that all buses are accessible.

In the interim, as I say, it is difficult. Ms Bresnan raises a very reasonable point, though, in relation to a particular route where there is a wheelchair accessible bus one way—that there might be an expectation by people utilising it that there will be one on the return. I cannot answer that particular question or the networking decisions taken in relation to that, Ms Bresnan, but I have to say that I understand the sense and the purport of your question and I will ask for advice and will happily provide it to you.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, how does ACTION determine which bus services will use wheelchair accessible buses?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Bresnan. The decision does involve—but I am not sure that there is any finite science in it—an assessment of usage most simply on the peak routes. ACTION is very responsive to requests in relation to particular routes where there is a known and acknowledged need for wheelchair accessible buses and does seek to meet consumer requirements in relation to that.

In the context of an overall model, Ms Bresnan, I will take advice on that. I would be happy to provide it to you in the context of the decision making that informs decisions around which routes will be serviced by wheelchair accessible buses.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter, a supplementary.

MS HUNTER: Minister, in ACTION’s consideration of journey planning software for the ACTION website, will there be an option for users to specify wheelchair accessible buses only? And what happens if there are not any wheelchair accessible buses available to service patrons’ needs?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Hunter. I will take that question on notice. But I do need to repeat or reiterate that, whilst we have a commitment to ensure that our entire fleet is wheelchair accessible, I am sure members understand that a single bus costs in the order of half a million dollars. We have made a massive, quite historic, investment in new buses in the last few years, a $50 million straight-up investment in an additional 100 buses.

But in our fleet we have now in excess of 400 buses. We are progressively replacing those buses. But we are in a situation where we still have—and I do not quite know the number—a very large proportion of our fleet that is not wheelchair accessible and we will not have a fleet that is entirely wheelchair accessible for a significant number of years yet.

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