Page 3467 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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Yesterday, a new record was set, again, for adult patronage on ACTION—over 21,840 boardings—in a single day. That is a significant increase on what we had seen in previous years and certainly a significant increase compared to the case under previous governments. ACTION’s adult patronage continues to grow. Over the past month ACTION has seen growth of 13 per cent compared to last year. Obviously, there are very strong levels of interest in public transport.

It would be remiss of me not to bring to the attention of the Assembly that, obviously, the increase in petrol prices over the past six months has had an impact. But I would like to stress also that we have seen sustained increases in public transport usage for the past two years. That is down to a strong commitment by the government to continue to build the public transport infrastructure in this city.

The one fare, anywhere scheme was introduced. That significantly lowered fares for people and saw an immediate increase in public transport usage. More importantly, and more recently, we have also increased the number of express commuter services, the Xpresso services—peak-hour, direct services for adults. Those have proved to be extremely successful and the main reason why we are seeing growth in patronage. Given the ongoing increases in petrol prices, we have the opportunity to continue to send home the message that not only does ACTION provide a very safe and comfortable service but it also provides a very reliable and frequent service, especially during the peak hour period.

ACTION has this week commenced a new advertising campaign of 15-second ads on commercial television in Canberra. That campaign will reinforce to people the availability of the Xpresso services. That commenced on Sunday, 18 September. It will run for a five-week period. Again, the advertisement is designed to emphasise that public transport is cheaper than paying for petrol and paying for parking; it is efficient; it is timely; and it will get you to and from work during peak times very well. We will continue to run these advertisements and to promote public transport in the same way as we will continue to invest in public transport to the extent that we have previously and to meet our commitments in terms of the projects we committed to in the most recent budget.

It is probably worth highlighting also that ACTION has recently won two very significant awards for its ongoing marketing activity. The International Association of Public Transport’s golden angel award for marketing 2004-05 was awarded to ACTION for the most effective passenger transit market campaign of the year, its flexibus campaign, which ran earlier this year. The Public Relations Institute of Australia also provided an award for excellence for the marketing communications campaign for ACTION’s flexibus service.

ACTION is starting to lead the way in providing quality public transport in Canberra; it is lifting its image; it is growing more patronage; it is getting more people to use public transport. That is good. That is good for a more sustainable city. That is good for reducing car and energy use in our city and for reducing greenhouse gases in our city.

I am very pleased to report to the Assembly on the most recent milestone of 21,845 boardings in a single day, the highest ever for ACTION buses.

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