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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 1355 ..

Ms Carnell: Not to my knowledge.

Mr Humphries: She answered that question.

MR BERRY: Will the Chief Minister now tell the Assembly what other individuals or companies are members of the consortium?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I understand that the contract is with Don Beaumont. That is my understanding.

Bus Fares

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, the Minister for transport, the Minister for ACTION buses. The Government has maintained, as I understand it, that the change to the zonal bus service, the bus fare system, is revenue neutral. In an answer to a question on notice I gave to the Estimates Committee I was advised that in 1996-97 there were roughly 171/2 million boardings, earning a revenue of about $171/2m. It is about $1 a boarding. In 1998-99 it is estimated that there will be 11 million boardings, but still revenue of roughly $171/2m, which is about $1.57 a boarding. I accept that, with the new trunk changes, people now are counted differently than they were before. My information from ACTION management in the briefing that the Minister so correctly arranged - thank you very much for that - is that those people will account for about 30 per cent of those changes in the calculations. Can the Minister explain how the new fare structure will, therefore, be revenue neutral when the cost per boarding will rise at least 27 per cent? It goes from $1 to $1.57, 30 per cent of the extra 50c.

MR SMYTH: The reason that it simply rises is that there are fewer boardings. There are simply fewer boardings because, rather than keeping interchanges as the point of termination, the new route structure provides better service by having a larger number of through routes. Instead of travelling from, say, Gowrie to Tuggeranong and transferring to get a bus that would take you then from Tuggeranong to somewhere else, there is the opportunity in the new route structure that you may be able to get a bus that will take you straight through. Hence, the fewer number of boardings.

In terms of being revenue neutral, it was not to raise more money from the public, and in that regard it has kept to its charter. In fact, the Government has had to put in additional money so that there was not any extra impost in that regard. It is revenue neutral and the reduction in the number of boardings and the apparent price increase are because of the through routing.

MR HARGREAVES: I have a supplementary question. I appreciate the Minister's response and I do not think it is revenue neutral. It is just not an increase. I accept that we have an accounting definition here which we can debate some other time. Can the Minister please advise how much revenue will be lost by his announced free bus travel for larger families, and how many school students will be able to take advantage of the change?

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