Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1670 ..
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney have all introduced bus services that run until the early hours of the morning, either all week or over the weekend.
For example, in Melbourne the night network operates on weekends, with regular services from the CBD and metro stations. On Sundays buses to outer suburbs run until 10 pm. In Sydney a number of bus routes operate 24/7. Some regular bus routes run services after midnight on weekends. In both cases we can see that the government has placed an emphasis on the importance of public transport options, especially on weekends and after dark.
The government has at times provided Nightrider services here in Canberra. During the Multicultural Festival this year we saw routes 200 and 300 depart the city every 20 minutes, with the last bus departing the interchange at approximately 2.30 am on Friday and Saturday nights. This also occurred in December 2015, 2016 and 2017. Indeed in all those years ACTION has recorded significant increases in patronage across the network. What this demonstrates is that evening bus services are in demand in Canberra and they will be used.
The fact is that no matter where you are in Canberra, when the clock strikes 7 pm on a Sunday there is no public transport. We can see, in other cities where public transport is available on Sundays, night life continues to thrive all weekend long. Here Sunday night life and businesses are hindered by the lack of public transport.
The other problem many Canberrans have raised is their inability to connect with interstate transport services. Every day, including Sundays, interstate bus services arrive at the Jolimont Centre hourly until 1.30 am. The last train service arrives at Kingston station at 10 pm. Interstate travellers must rely on family, friends and on-demand transport services to get home from Civic or Kingston when bus services are not available.
Unlike what those opposite would sometimes have us believe, not everybody lives in the inner suburbs and can therefore simply wheel their suitcases home. There have been stories of travellers visiting family and friends in Sydney and arriving here by bus on a Sunday evening ready for work the next day. One person, who had arrived at 7.30 pm on a Sunday, was told by a bus driver that there were no more buses to Woden. As a result, with no other options, he walked from Civic all the way home to Mawson and arrived home two hours later. Close to six out of every 10 people who move to the ACT are former residents of New South Wales. This means that close to six out of 10 people have the potential need for connected interstate and local transport options.
In Sydney and Melbourne, where interstate transport operates from main central stations, there are evening services as long as the interstate services operate. In Canberra many interstate travellers must plan in advance to arrive before 10.30 pm during the week or before 7.30 pm on Sundays if they wish to get home by public transport. This means either sacrificing time spent with family or friends to spend more time travelling home, having to come home early or spending unnecessary money on cab fares.