Page 3398 - Week 09 - Thursday, 24 August 2017
chamber—about the importance of integration of our transport network. Over the 2016-17 financial year we exceeded our patronage targets by about 200,000 boardings. On an average day, the ACT’s ACTION buses carries 75,000 passengers. In 2016-17, buses were boarded 18.3 million times. Our aim is to improve these numbers every year.
The 2017-18 budget will contribute to the rejuvenation of the Transport Canberra bus network, with $43.8 million towards new buses. They will replace some of the oldest in the fleet, creating a more comfortable ride for passengers and a better overall customer experience. This budget also establishes two new rapid routes, linking Woden to the city via Manuka and Barton, and Belconnen to Gungahlin.
Advancements in ticket technology have changed the way transport users engage with public transport around the world. As I noted in my statement earlier this month, TCCS is currently examining options for next-generation ticketing systems. They have been adopted in public transport systems globally and are being considered in other Australian cities, including in Sydney.
In 2016-17, $3 million was allocated to progress an integrated bus and light rail ticketing system; $2.5 million of this has now been rolled into this year’s budget to align with planned equipment supply, with a further $2.1 million in this budget to enable the project to progress. An integrated ticketing system will mean that customers of light rail will be able to transfer between light rail and buses and vice versa. We are also exploring other opportunities to use this integrated ticketing system more broadly across Canberra.
As we know, the construction of Canberra’s light rail network is the most significant transport infrastructure project our city has ever embarked upon. As Mr Pettersson noted, anyone driving along Northbourne Avenue, Flemington Road or the Federal Highway will note that stage 1 is well underway. With completion on track for late 2018, we are seeing test tracks being laid right now and look forward to the first permanent tracks being laid next month.
The light rail project is already presenting opportunities for people wanting to expand their professional capabilities in Canberra. Indeed, today we were very thrilled to announce and reveal the artists who will provide their artwork for the seating on both light rail and new Transport Canberra buses, as well as for the light rail stops. Another example of the opportunities for Canberrans is the exciting memorandum of understanding between the ACT government and the Department of Defence. Later this year engineering students from the University of New South Wales Canberra at ADFA will start work placements with Canberra Metro.
I am also pleased to say that the 2017-18 budget will see us move ahead with our plans for light rail stage 2 from the city to Woden. As we know, Woden is an important town centre, a key growth area in Canberra forecast to have an employment population of more than 120,000 along the route and almost 90,000 residents and students within one kilometre of the city-to-Woden corridor over the next 20 years.