Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 198 ..
In the north changes to the Xpresso services, which no longer travel to Barton but instead terminate in the city, mean that Belconnen residents who work in Russell or the parliamentary triangle now have to get two buses to get to work. And as if that is not enough of an inconvenience, they are expected to wait 15 minutes for a connection. This results in a 90-minute morning commute for some people. This is double the time it takes to drive from those same areas, even with morning traffic.
Meanwhile, Oaks Estate residents remain isolated despite decades of lobbying as they still do not have a direct ACTION bus route to the city or other town centres. In fact, it takes Oaks Estate residents more than 45 minutes to get to the city by public transport compared to 20 minutes in the car. This government continues to completely ignore Oaks Estate residents. Residents in Forde have also suffered: where previously a journey to the city took 45 minutes, it now takes over 70 minutes. Residents in Kaleen and Giralang also face similar issues as they have also lost access to the black rapid service.
The minister claims in the limited consultation they have conducted that Canberrans want quicker, more direct trips, and yet the replacement of previous services with the Franken-route, as Ms Lee calls it, means new routes do not allow residents to get to where they want and need to go. The minister acknowledges that Canberrans want more direct trips, and yet these changes mean that many Canberrans must catch multiple buses as their direct routes have been changed or cancelled. Even with the limited consultation the minister claims they have conducted, they are still clearly not listening to Canberrans.
The minister also says that this new timetable will drive patronage, but cancellation of local services has made it more difficult for residents to access these rapid routes. What is the point of more rapid bus routes if Canberrans are not able to get to them in the first place? The minister also claims that this an integrated public transport network. How are 30-minute wait times between connections an integrated system? The minister claims they have consulted 5,500 participants, and yet the numerous complaints we have received demonstrate that the people that these changes affect the most were not even informed, never mind consulted.
The lack of communication about the timetable and route changes has been astonishing. As mentioned by Ms Lee, many residents had not heard of the network changes until they received correspondence from her office. Is it now up to the opposition to communicate timetable changes to the people of Canberra? Is this an indication of what little regard the minister has for constituents, and for our more vulnerable constituents?
Longer travel times, convoluted routes, longer walks to bus stops and longer wait times for connections are all causing more Canberrans to get into their cars, leading to greater traffic congestion and adding to our parking woes. If the government were truly committed to reducing our reliance on cars they would be making it easier, faster and more convenient for us to catch buses. But instead of making it easier and more convenient to catch public transport, the government is making it more difficult and more time consuming. Instead of making it faster for Canberrans to get to where they