Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2949 ..
services. Everybody wants at the very least not to increase the rates they have to pay. All of these together are not consistent, and the issue for our public transport system, like others, is to balance the competing demands.
Miss Burch’s motion highlighted some of the competing demands, but we also have to look at the competing demands of the current day-to-day user and commuter. I am very confident that the government has looked at those because it has a wonderful treasure-trove of data. It has all the MyWay data. It knows where the people are going right now. I am confident that, whatever else they have tried to do, the government has tried to optimise it for the people who they know are already happy to use the bus.
One of the issues is that 80 per cent of people are happy to walk further for better services and 20 per cent are not. Where this becomes a real issue is that some of those 20 per cent simply cannot walk for further services. Miss Burch talked about retirement communities, and they are a good example of people who probably are in that situation.
It is a very difficult balance, so I am very pleased the amendment Minister Fitzharris will move calls on the government to do more work with ACTCOSS and other groups on this. Maybe some funding has to move from the standard bus network into the flexible bus service. Maybe we can do some more work on making demand-responsive services more widely available, particularly for those who are never really going to be served by a financially feasible public transport network.
Another difficult balance that Miss Burch highlighted is school buses. But we simply cannot keep running almost empty school buses on very long trips across Canberra for a fairly small number of children while packed buses are having to drive past people trying to get to work. Sometimes I do not manage to get on my bus in the morning because it is full. I totally appreciate that kids are established in a school and, understandably, their parents do not want the school bus removed. This is one of the difficult balances we have to find.
I understand that many people are concerned about the safety of children at interchanges. The minister has already promised more staff at interchanges to help the children, but parents are nervous because the details have not been released yet. That is why I asked Minister Fitzharris to include in her amendment consultation with peak bodies and parent groups about what they intend to deliver.
I have to say that safety at interchanges is an issue not just for schoolkids; it is a major perception issue. I want to use the word “perception” very clearly. I regularly travel through the Woden bus interchange and due to the sitting hours of the Assembly and the public events I go to I do this at night sometimes. It has never seemed unsafe to me. I am very aware that while the buses are running there is always at least one ACTION staff member at the Woden interchange. We need to put out more of a message to people that interchanges are quite safe places not just for our kids but for all the people who might want to catch public transport in Canberra.
One of the other balancing issues is the Xpresso buses that will be stopping in favour of rapids. For some of us that works; it works for me. My husband catches an Xpresso