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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 September 2019) . . Page.. 3789 ..

Transport Canberra—network 19

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (2.56): Pursuant to standing order 211, I move:

That the Assembly take note of the following paper:

Network19—Impact on students—Response to the resolution of the Assembly of 15 May 2019.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (2.56): I want to speak briefly about weekend bus patronage, given that this report is on bus patronage. Despite the widespread service cancellations, weekend bus patronage has been the highlight of network 19 so far. From June 2018 to June 2019, weekend bus usage was up 30 per cent on Saturdays and 40 per cent on Sundays, which is a huge increase in patronage. The people of Canberra voted with their feet for the better weekend bus services which were originally delivered and have been promised by network 19.

But starting from next weekend, local bus services are being cut back to one bus every two hours, and that is simply not good enough. It just does not work for people on weekends. It does not work if you are going for an appointment and it does not work if you are going to the movies. It really does not matter; it does not work. It is a complete disaster for anyone who is trying to connect from one local service to another. It is too inflexible for people who just want to go out on the weekend.

I fear that this will have a large negative impact on weekend patronage. The biggest stand-out plus of network 19 will be shredded. The government must restore full weekend bus services as soon as possible. The rapids, I believe, are going to survive this cut, and for that we can be thankful. But local bus services are important, and one every two hours is a joke.

On a different note, I suspect that the data that has been tabled today, which is slightly invisible at this point in time, will not be broken down by districts. However, data that I received through a question on notice for the month of June did look at each district separately. It showed that even in my electorate there were huge variations. For example, there was a five per cent fall in the average number of weekday journeys starting in Woden, but for Weston Creek there was a nine per cent increase.

This is a reminder to the minister and the directorate to look carefully at how network 19 is working for each different area of Canberra and make adjustments where needed. It is also a reminder, as the weekend bus numbers show, that where people are given a better bus service they will vote with their feet and use it. The quality of the service is really important when it comes to public transport use. I look forward to spending more time on this subject tomorrow.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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