Page 4480 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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The recent changes made to timetables have not assisted. In fact what I am hearing is that for many individuals these changes have made bus travel much more difficult. I ride the bus from time to time. I do not ride it often, so I have to take the feedback that I am getting from constituents as being what is going on.

Alice wrote to me from Bonython to say that the only positive from the bus timetable changes was that it had finally motivated her 18-year-old son to get off his backside and get his licence. Why? Because the new timetable would add hours each week of bus travel time for him to get to his part-time job at Lanyon. He had, on a number of occasions, chosen to walk because it was quicker than taking the bus, and it is quite a walk from Bonython to Lanyon. When the minister gave her ministerial statement on this topic this morning she talked about the government encouraging more active travel. I do not think that that is what she was talking about. I do not think she was talking about making the bus trip so unviable that it forces people to walk.

I heard from James in Calwell, who had this to say:

Hi Mark, can you please get a response from the Minister … on how they can justify students travel time from Calwell on weekday afternoons have doubled.

I must confess that I have not passed this on to the minister’s office. This is the first time, so I will provide some information. James says:

For example my 3 children catch the 71 northbound from Calwell to Erindale at approx 3:30 (school finish at 3:05pm).They then have to wait until 4:25 for the connecting 64. Equating to nearly 1.5 hours to get home. Prior to the timetable change children were home with 30 to 35 minutes (71 at 3.20 and connecting 64 at 3.35pm). How can the minister justify this mess, and reduce services during what would be classed as peak time, and a trip that by car is no more than 11 minutes?

We are getting some feedback, and the overwhelming feedback that we are getting from constituents is that this latest round of changes to the bus network is making their lives more difficult. Rather than working on a single direct bus, the new network forces more transfers. We just do not think commuters should have to continually change buses and modes of transport to make a simple journey or have their journey time unreasonably extended.

This government believes it has a mandate to do anything. That is how it seems; that they do not have to consult, they do not have to comply with parliamentary conventions, they do not have to comply with planning guidelines and they certainly do not have to talk to people about bus routes.

The Canberra Liberals took to the 2016 election a comprehensive transport policy underscored by the principle of putting the passenger first. I get the impression that the vast majority of the focus from the other side in this entire transport space is on the massive infrastructure spend on the massive project that we are seeing unfold down Northbourne Avenue, Flemington Road and beyond.

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