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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 196 ..


community consultation, but I admit I have not yet had the time to read and absorb them.

In terms of network planning, I am looking forward to using new and innovative ways of collecting and presenting data for that consultation. For example, with nearly all bus users using a MyWay card, we have anonymised patronage data, including journey start and end points and possibly even more importantly any transfers that go on from that in real-time. Soon we might be able to map that data and weave in data from private transport suppliers like taxis and Uber, as well as active transport data on cycle routes and pinpoints with unprecedented accuracy, high traffic areas, and upcoming transport hot spots and unmet need.

That raises some big brother issues which are beyond the scope of my conversation today. But the positive side of all this data that is being kept on us is that we should be able to do much better planning for our transport networks. That makes it all the more important to ensure that vulnerable transport users are included in our transport plan. There is an excellent chance that these users will not be part of the electronic data because they are vulnerable. They are having to stay at home because they do not have any other alternative. They may have infrequent options when a relative or close friend picks them up, but I do not think that is going to be easily found in our data.

The ACT government has made great improvements in public transport access over the past few years. I note the figures that Minister Fitzharris provided regarding the incredible increase in patronage over the weekends. It shows that it really makes a difference if you provide more buses and number them a bit more understandably. I never used to catch buses at the weekend; I now do. It really has made a difference.

We have made a lot of headway in expanding on-demand transport services, community buses and flexible buses. As part of the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement we expanded the flexibus service to cover the whole of Canberra.

In terms of last year’s update, we might ask whether the change was worth it. I cannot speak for those Canberrans who missed out and who clearly do not think it was worth it, but in some ways the numbers speak for themselves. Minister Fitzharris talked about patronage being up two per cent on weekdays and 10 per cent on weekends. In Narrabundah patronage on the new routes 4 and 6 is up eight per cent weekdays and a whopping 31 per cent on weekends over the old routes 4 and 5. That is hopefully a net positive, even though I totally acknowledge Ms Lee’s point that for some it is undoubtedly not a positive and that we need to look at everybody.

In our increasingly dense, congested city and in a world choked with pollution and facing climate catastrophe it is critically important that everyone who can change their lifestyle to reduce their use of fossil fuels by using public or active transport does so and that the government does everything in its power to make that transition not just inevitable but pleasant and a substantive improvement on our collective quality of life. But in a world where many people do not speak to another person every day, it is vital that our transport options are such that people can be part of the community. All of us can be part of our community. In both these worlds more bus passengers are almost certainly a good thing.


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