Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3973 ..
MS McRAE: My question is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Minister, as you are aware, the route 610 school bus, which services the Gordon Primary School, is to be discontinued at the end of the present school term. Minister, during the Estimates Committee hearings officials from ACTION informed the committee that the benchmark for continuing a school service is 27 passengers per journey. Given that the Gordon school bus is carrying, according to figures supplied by ACTION, on average 20 students in the morning and 35 students in the afternoon, will you not now reconsider your decision to axe this service?
MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms McRae for her question. Had Ms McRae bothered to pick up a telephone and ring me before asking a question without notice, she would have realised that last week - it was last week, was it not, Mr Osborne, that you and I met with the people concerned at Gordon? - we put into place an arrangement to trial some changes to that particular bus route. Once that trial is finished, the Government will be in a better position to make a decision.
MS McRAE: I ask a supplementary question. Given that your answer indicates that the service is to be changed because it does not meet the benchmark requirement of your department, will the other 120 school services which do not presently meet the standard of 27 passengers per bus also be changed or cut?
MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms McRae for the supplementary question. ACTION plans to introduce a number of changes to its school bus routes next year. As part of its commitment to achieving a more targeted, cost-effective service, a small number of services are to be discontinued and others are to be amalgamated. Each of the services to be discontinued is carrying on average fewer than 20 students. Alternative services are available to travel to and from school in these cases. For example, in Gordon - and Mr Osborne will confirm this - there is another bus that goes on exactly the same route five minutes later.
Ms McRae: Yes, but it is probably full.
MR DE DOMENICO: No, Ms McRae. I will take that interjection on board. No, it is not full, Ms McRae.
Ms McRae: You should discontinue that one, too, if it is no good.
MR DE DOMENICO: This particular one, Ms McRae, has two passengers on it. We have one bus with two passengers on it, and another bus five minutes later with 19 passengers on it. I think it makes a lot of sense to run one bus for these passengers. That would save money and also be more efficient - and that is what the Government is all about.