Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1692 ..
For the weekday bus services, with the possible exception of Friday night, there is probably not as much work to be done. The major thing is that the bus services finish a lot later than on weekends. For example, the blue rapid departs the city for Woden at 10.43 and the 182 departs the city direct for Molonglo and Weston at 9.36. The 3 departs Woden for Canberra Hospital, Garran and Hughes at 9.39 pm. But for most suburbs the issue is not so much when the last bus is during the week but how early in the evening the services drop down to being hourly. Hourly gets really tough if you miss that hourly bus.
While I see the point of Miss Burch’s motion, I do not think it is really possible that we are going to run a full ACTION but network until 1.30 am for a small number of Murray’s bus passengers—unfortunately, I do not think that is really going to be viable—but we do not have to stop as early as we do at present, particularly on Saturday and Sunday.
Another thing I would like to highlight is the plight of people trying to catch the train service. We have a small train service to Canberra. Unfortunately, it is not what you might call a super reliable service. While the train service is mentioned, it often does not even turn up at the times it is said it will. There is a train service that arrives during the day; again it does not turn up at the time it is meant to. It would be great if we could have one bus which commits to meeting the train so that if you are catching the train from New South Wales, and I think there are only two that arrive during the day or during a 24-hour period, you could say, “Yes, there will be a bus that will at least take me in to Civic, where, if the timing is right, I might be able to catch part of the ACTION bus network.” It is unfortunate that train users cannot rely on any sort of bus interconnection.
While I could rabbit on about this forever, I am very pleased to support the motion. I do have a slightly different emphasis from Miss Burch on this. She talked a lot about the night-time economy. That is really important, and it would be great to support that, but we also need to support normal day-to-day social access for people who do not own cars and/or do not drive cars around our city.
This morning in the debate on Ms Cody’s motion, I spoke at some length about the need to look after the lower income, poorer and more vulnerable members of our community. Our public transport system is one of the real ways in which we can do that.
Minister Fitzharris talked about the free off-peak bus service. That has been a great addition for concession cardholders. It would be great if the government could look at the impacts of extending the free off-peak service to all bus users and try and get people out of their cars and into buses, and get them to leave their cars at home. It would be better for the environment and better for their health if they were doing a bit more walking.
I will be supporting Minister Fitzharris’s amendment. I am very pleased that this Assembly is supporting more buses, and in particular more late-night buses.