Page 3730 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015

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These are some of the reasons that transport was a major part of my parliamentary agreement with the Labor Party in 2012. It contained major items on light rail, buses, walking and cycling. It is excellent to hear that our Chief Minister is also committed to a vision of Canberra as a modern, sustainable, public transport focused city. He is demonstrating it both in his remarks and in the public transport plan that we released yesterday.

It has not always been the case that the ACT government has focused so strongly on sustainable transport. Its recent commitments are very positive and I think it shows the good work that Labor and Greens can achieve when we work together for a shared vision. The next steps, of course, will see more and more of these commitments come to fruition. We have now a light rail network plan that envisages how a quality, modern, comfortable and convenient public transport spine, powered by renewable energy, can stretch right across our city. This is the type of network that could genuinely make us a world leading city in public transport and sustainable, low-carbon planning.

The public transport plan we announced yesterday complements the light rail network plan. It creates a single public transport agency, called transport Canberra, to ensure a high level of integration in our future multimodal public transport system. It commits to significant reinvestment in the bus network. Buses will improve right across the city. They will connect with light rail. The agency will ensure this happens seamlessly and that there is a consistent and integrated passenger experience. There is a large amount of work occurring to help this occur, perhaps better described as quieter, behind the scenes work. We are in the final stages of a corporate restructure concerning ACTION that will build additional capability for network design and analysis, as well as building the capacity for broader business improvements. This will support reliability and on-time running.

The introduction of light rail will present an opportunity to work on a generational replacement for the current MyWay system. We intend to introduce an integrated payment system that will be the same for buses and light rail and that takes advantage of modern payment options. To support this shift, the government has commenced work on an options paper for future public transport fares in Canberra, for public consultation in 2016.

ACTION is halfway through a program to replace 77 orange buses with new buses. We are also developing a fleet strategy that will consider the longer term needs of the ACTION fleet and the best possible approach to meeting customer needs. I am keen for this to include new bus technology such as hybrid and electric buses. We will also be trialling a new on-demand bus and taxi service for off-peak periods. Passengers will be able to arrange to be picked up from their nearest suburban bus stop and be taken to the bus interchange or a main bus route. This will be for a regular bus fare. When going home, passengers will be able to take an on-demand service from the bus interchange back to their regular bus stop. These are all good and forward-thinking initiatives that acknowledge the realities of our growing city and take steps to respond.

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