Page 2778 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 29 June 2010

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This brings me to a point of significant concern in regard to the efficiency of ACTION services, particularly wheelchair accessible and bicycle rack equipped buses. The government needs to take steps to substantially improve the reliability of these services, as even occasional failure to provide service leads to a substantial disincentive to use that service. The ACT Greens recognise that, as the government gradually replaces the existing fleet with buses that are wheelchair accessible, this problem will diminish. However, during the transition period, the government needs to measure and improve the reliability of these specific services.

The government also made a commitment to have bicycle racks on all buses, and this commitment has not been met yet, which leaves the problem of unreliable bus services that I have just highlighted. The minister, in response to a question on notice, admitted that occasionally buses without racks service these routes. This all impacts on people’s views on the reliability of the ACTION network and impacts their choice to use the service.

I would also like to briefly address the topic of the current and future ticketing system. We are concerned about the level of failure in the existing ticketing system. However, we look forward to the implementation of the MyWay card as the means to rectify the concern. The ACT Greens recognise the shortfalls in the current ticketing system, particularly the lack of data collected on usage patterns that is crucial to determining future route design decisions. We would also expect the number of ticketing system failures to drastically fall as a result of this new system.

We welcome the government’s decision to construct park and rides at Erindale, Exhibition Park, Belconnen and Fyshwick. For commuters who work along major public transport routes, as many Canberrans do, this provides the opportunity to park for free while simultaneously combating congestion in our town centres and getting people onto our bus system. Along these areas we expect the throughput of bus users to provide not only transport benefits but a benefit to local businesses as patrons shop on their way to or from work.

We would note that consideration of the park-and-ride in Erindale will likely be a part of the Erindale master planning process that the Greens called for in a motion in this place and we would recommend that the government engage in similar consultative processes with businesses and communities in the vicinity of these new planned park and rides. We would also like to see more park and ride locations considered, in particular in Calwell and Weston Creek, to encourage public transport use in those areas and offer the same benefits to those local communities.

This and future governments face a choice when it comes to transport. We can choose to provide public transport alternatives that lower the weekly transport costs for thousands of families, reduce congestion on our roads and provide society with the ability to minimise the impact of projected rises in fuel costs, or we can choose to constantly widen roads, slow down traffic and in the long term ensure that only those who can afford ever increasing car costs have genuine and effective mobility.

While we have expressed some concerns with elements of ACTION’s operations, on balance we believe that the decisions the government have made in this budget to

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