Page 4488 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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I was pleased to hear Minister Fitzharris saying we are delivering the rapid transport two years ahead of schedule. I have in my notes that light rail will free up a number of buses, and that is fantastic because it will improve our bus network. But we have not been forced to wait for this. The new buses are here and doing their job. New buses have arrived and new services have been introduced. We have the green rapid, the black rapid, the extended blue rapid to Lanyon Marketplace and the red rapid running all weekend, which are bringing frequency down to every 15 minutes. That is pretty good.

The service improvement on the Weston line has been phenomenal. Patronage has increased by 23 per cent, and that includes the extension to Denman Prospect. So 23 per cent is nothing to be sneezed at in getting more people in cars off the road, making it better for our environment and providing a much faster way to travel. Overall this month patronage is up by three per cent. I know three per cent does not sound like much to some, but that is still an increase and nothing to be sneezed at. We have gone from 17,767,194 boardings in 2013-14 to being on track for 18.4 million boardings this year. That is a pretty impressive number of people boarding buses in the ACT. It is great to see.

I also want to talk about the frequency of the buses and the ease of catching them. I have caught buses a few times to and from work, and it has been wonderful to see. Today I witnessed a group of people getting together in Dickson and jumping on a bus.

Mr Parton: Friends of mine.

MS CODY: There you go, Mr Parton. They jumped on a bus and, as it turns out they came down here to the city to the Assembly. They wanted to talk to one of our Assembly colleagues who is not actually here at the moment, and he did not appear outside either. It was really interesting because they made it down here, they had a bit of a show out the front I believe, they then jumped back on the bus and headed back up Northbourne Avenue to Dickson and did all of that in their lunch break. These are private industry workers who do not get long lunch breaks like some of us can and do; they have a very limited time for their break. Yet they managed to get on a bus in Dickson, come down to the Assembly, do their business, get on a bus back to Dickson, have some lunch and be back at work in their prescribed lunch break. I reckon that is a pretty efficient public transport system.

I also want to pay tribute to everyone who works to deliver our public transport network, and it is quite an impressive list of people. We have the drivers, and we all know we could not get from A to B without them because they drive the buses. They are wonderful. They have great working conditions: a happy, healthy and safe working environment, which makes for happy bus drivers. The TWU work really hard to advocate for our drivers in Canberra and it is great to know that providing happy, safe and effective working conditions provides us with happy, safe bus drivers. That then means when you get on the bus you get a happy bus driver; it makes your patronage much more fun.

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