Page 204 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008
brief. As I understand it though, the program is working for about a month or maybe up to six weeks in the summer period. The feedback I am getting is that bus drivers are not particularly confident about the Nightrider system. Nightrider, as I understand, provides a couple of bus services out of Civic between midnight and 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays, but I am led to believe that it is not well patronised and that bus drivers are not confident about the system as it currently works.
Even though the bus fare is about a $5 fare average, as I have been briefed on, the feeling is that the service is not well patronised because it is simply not secure. The interchange bus pickup areas are not secure, and bus drivers feel uncomfortable about those areas. Also there have been problems on the bus trips out to the town centres and beyond, and they clearly need to be addressed. We do not want our bus drivers to be left carrying the can on their own on a 3.30 or 4 o’clock trip in the morning if they have got a couple of unruly passengers. Those passengers are always in the minority, but they can disrupt a complete busload of passengers and make life hell for a driver, and that needs to be addressed.
If we are going to attract patrons to that bus service, then, clearly, people need to know that the bus service is comfortable and safe, and we do need to see those bus services patronised. The police want to see that bus service patronised, because the police do want to see the city late at night emptied of revellers who are milling around, sometimes frustrated because they cannot get a taxi.
On the question of Nightlink, I have seen the government’s press release on this, and I understand that the trial of Nightlink is due to commence on 29 February. I respect the fact that the Minister for Police and Emergency Services was perhaps speaking on behalf of the minister responsible for transport, but I have been informed in the last 36 hours—and if this has changed this morning I will stand corrected in this place—that the negotiations between Aerial cabs and the government in the formulation of the Nightlink trial have still got a long way to go. I was advised on Monday morning that there are still unresolved matters around security and marshalling particularly.
We understand that there are agreements on prepaid fares and on changing the regulations to allow up to six passengers to be carried in these slightly larger taxis. That is fine, but the opposition is not confident that the government is really moving quickly on the Nightlink service, and we want to see this trial launched on 29 February and we want it to be successful. At the moment, there are still a lot of questions being asked. As I say, I will stand corrected if the taxi industry and the minister have, as at yesterday afternoon or this morning, finally signed the dotted line on this particular matter.
We have talked today about police patrols. Like Mr Corbell, I have been out with the City beat patrol. It does a good job. I would question, as I have for about four years now, whether they are sufficiently resourced, but they certainly know what they are doing. They are very competent, but they do face a lot of challenges. I must say, I have seen with my own eyes on many occasions—with the police patrols on two occasions and privately on other occasions—too many people drinking to excess. Yes, it is a minority, and it is only a minority of people we ever talk about, but it is not good when police have to pick up some poor young lass turning herself inside out having drunk to vomiting stage. Unfortunately, there is a little bit too much of that,