Page 4523 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 18 October 2011

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MR CORBELL: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that the government has released its draft transport for Canberra strategy, which is designed to improve the provision of public transport in our city, to tackle issues with congestion and to work to ensure that we have an efficient transport system for everybody.

The proposed transport for Canberra strategy includes an expanded network of transport corridors where buses or, indeed, light rail vehicles will run at a minimum of 15 minutes, but preferably better, all day along those corridors. Fifteen minute or better frequencies mean that you do not have to rely on a timetable. It makes travel times faster. It makes connections smoother and easier. These frequent corridors will be supported by new service guarantees, including service guarantees of a minimum average waiting time of 7½ minutes for connection from a coverage to a frequent service and 15 minutes for connections from a frequent to a coverage service.

Real-time passenger information, which will start its rollout in 2012, will be able to tell commuters exactly when their next bus will arrive and when it will depart. Infrastructure improvements like the ANU bus station, the Belconnen-to-city transit way, light rail investigation into Northbourne Avenue, Canberra Avenue transit priority measures, upgrades of major stops and stations, and a network of park-and-ride and bike-and-ride services are also all part of the plan.

More frequent services throughout the city, including the improvements I have mentioned, are now up for public comment as part of ACTION’s network 12 expansion, which will deliver more bus services with more frequency on the Red Rapid routes, a Blue Rapid extension to Kippax so that Kippax gets the benefit and residents of west Belconnen get the benefit of better access to the ACTION bus network, new services for new suburbs, and more frequent services for areas such as Fyshwick and the Canberra Hospital.

As part of the transport for Canberra strategy, the government is also focusing on making sure that we have effective minimum coverage standards to ensure that 95 per cent of Canberrans live within 500 metres—that is, a five or seven-minute walk—of a bus service.

Whilst in notional terms we already achieve this, the fact is that we have measured those distances by the distance the crow flies. We have not actually measured them, and indeed no government has measured them, based on the actual walking distance. With new technologies, we are now able to achieve this and this will ensure that there is a genuine level of that 500 metre guarantee.

All this is part of the government’s commitment to improving public transport in our city, about tackling issues with congestion, about recognising that without action in this area, congestion will double in our city over the next 20 to 30 years and that that has an impact on all movements across the city. Investing in public transport is the right thing to do. A strong and comprehensive plan is absolutely essential to achieve this. The transport for Canberra strategy will give us that very important framework.

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