Page 526 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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The proposed network plan is designed to provide a simpler network with higher frequency services. The new plan replaces the current weekday and evenings/weekend bus services with a seven-day bus services network. As part of the review, onboard passenger counts, on-bus surveys and on/off passenger destinations were conducted on every route service. This information, in addition to patronage reports and customer and driver feedback, provided some of the tools used by the network planner to design the network.

In July 2007 a comprehensive service review was conducted. This review included a passenger boarding count and feedback survey. The passenger count recorded where passengers got on and off buses throughout the day, providing valuable reference data. The community was encouraged to provide input into planning via an online and hard copy feedback mechanism.

In August 2007 the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment released a report on ACTION buses and the sustainable transport plan. This report provided key recommendations for improvement in ACTION’s bus service, and I thank the chairman of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, Mr Gentleman, for that initiative.

In November 2007 the draft plan of bus services was released to the community for comment. The proposed network plan was available to view on ACTION’s website and at all bus interchanges, Canberra Connect shopfronts and libraries. This information was advertised through the media—in the Canberra Times and the Chronicle and on FM and AM radio stations.

The network plan improvements include: earlier weekend start times on many routes; more express route services; bus routes the same seven days a week, as currently there are different routes operating in the evenings and on weekends; improved frequency between services, with some routes having doubled in frequency from one every hour to one every half an hour; new bus services from Gungahlin, Civic, Woden and Tuggeranong to Brindabella Business Park; and improved connections between bus routes.

Community consultation about the proposed plan has been strong. Over 2,500 individual responses to the plan have been received and are currently being reviewed by ACTION. The feedback has highlighted key areas for review. Broadly, these include: coverage; direction of some of the proposed routes; changes or deletions of some routes; and connection between routes. I have asked ACTION to bring forward amendments to the plan to address these concerns. A revised plan will be considered by the government shortly. I note that the only contribution to the revised network that the temporary Leader of the Opposition has put forward is that he is interested in seeing a change in the colour of the buses. Well, he will have to wait to see that.

What has been missed by those opposite, quite clearly, is the fact that the 2,500 comments came in to us from the community as part of the consultation process over a proposed bus route—a proposal. What is happening is that Mr Smyth and Mr Pratt are going around the community, saying that this is a done deal, whipping up a storm

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