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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1342 ..

I mentioned, in the last year the ACT government has made significant investments in strengthening Canberra’s public transport network. We have added 692 more weekday bus services and increased the frequency of light rail services to prevent crowding at peak times. This has helped people to feel safe on public transport and has meant that our services are more accessible than ever.

But as Canberra’s recovery continues, traffic volumes remain high. As we move into the upcoming delivery of major infrastructure works in and around Canberra’s city centre, including building light rail stage 2 to Woden, we are keen to explore further opportunities to spread out peak demand on our roads network during the morning and afternoon commutes. We want to avoid Canberrans sitting in their car for 40 minutes to an hour, when they could have a shorter and more convenient commute by travelling a little earlier or a little later, particularly on public transport but also in a car.

We will be working with major employers to explore the uptake of flexible working arrangements outside the standard 9 am to 5 pm. No business will be required to make these changes, but they are one way that employers can help their employees to have an easier commute during a time when road congestion is high, due to COVID-19, and with upcoming disruption from the construction of major infrastructure projects, both public and private.

Spreading out the peak will not reduce the overall number of people coming into the city and accessing local businesses. It will just mean that the demand for transport and other services is distributed over a slightly longer period each day.

We are starting this conversation now with big and small employers and the Canberra community because we want to understand what is going to work best and how investments in public transport can work in partnership with other initiatives during the COVID recovery and the upcoming disruption period to keep Canberrans moving. This is about government, businesses and the community working together to find solutions to the challenges of the new normal. We appreciate the input from sector representatives like the Canberra Business Chamber, who have kept an open mind regarding this conversation.

Another important part of our recovery plan is moving permanently to cashless ticketing, building on what we have seen and learned through the pandemic. While cashless ticketing was originally implemented as a safety measure for drivers, networks around the world are seeing real benefits from making this shift. Cashless ticketing speeds up boarding times to improve network efficiency and can provide a more seamless experience for passengers who are used to tap-and-pay transactions in so many other contexts.

It makes sense for the ACT to go cashless now because we are currently in the process of procuring a next generation ticketing system to replace MyWay. We want to have a modern, flexible system that will give passengers more ways to manage and pay for their travel—from their mobile device, credit or debit card, or a dedicated transport card. Making this system cashless from the start will increase the range of potential providers and solutions in this tender process so that we can get the best deal

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