Page 389 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Steel for his question and his ongoing interest not only in better bus services but an integrated transport system for all of Canberra. I am pleased to update the Assembly on the significant progress the Barr Labor government has already made in delivering on our commitments to better bus services for all Canberrans. Unlike those opposite, we took an integrated public transport plan to the last election, including a fully costed bus plan. The re-elected Barr Labor government is continuing to deliver on this plan for our growing city.

In December the first of 20 new Transport Canberra blue buses arrived as part of our fleet replacement program, and all the remaining buses will be delivered to ACTION by the end of June this year. These new buses have a number of great features which I am sure all passengers will appreciate such as bike racks, full interior and exterior LED lighting, fewer internal steps increasing passenger safety, and renewed air conditioning ducted for better heating and cooling. The new buses also improve disability access for passengers, and by the end of 2017 Transport Canberra’s bus fleet will have over 80 per cent of all its delivered buses disability compliant.

In our government’s first 100 days, as well as continuing to deliver on bus replacement strategy, we have already delivered on our election commitment to provide free off-peak travel for seniors and concession MyWay card holders. This new initiative which commenced on 14 January, one month ago, has been well received by the community. So far there have been 83,314 trips taken during the off-peak period that qualified for this free travel, which is eight per cent of all travel during that period.

While it is still early days, we have seen positive signs for increased patronage. We will monitor this patronage but it is a great start and, as promised, it is delivering better access to public transport for Canberrans who need it most, making it easier for them to move around our city.

MR STEEL: Minister, how popular is the new Weston line, route 182, the all-day service linking Woden, Cooleman Court and Civic via the Cotter Road?

Members interjecting

MS FITZHARRIS: I understand the opposition are thinking about what might have been if they had actually taken a policy platform to last year’s election that the community could have supported. I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary, knowing how quickly his electorate is growing. As members will be aware, and for those new members who are not, this new service was funded in last year’s budget, not only extending services through the Weston line but also enabling the extension of current services for Wright and Coombs in the growing Molonglo valley region. The Weston line commenced on 29 August last year and provides an all-day service linking Woden, Cooleman Court and Civic via the Cotter Road, which is undergoing duplication as we speak.

I am pleased to report that since the end of August last year the Weston line has carried 26,286 passengers, with an average of 1,123 passengers per week. This service

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