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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 26 October 2017) . . Page.. 4489 ..


Once again I thank Mr Parton for bringing this matter forward because it is really important to ensure that Canberra has a great public transport network. The government is delivering on that and is working to improve on it by providing infrastructure like light rail. But also it is really important for us to thank Mr Parton for being so positive in some of the earlier comments he was making about the current bus routes. I know in this job it is a little harder to catch a bus than we would all like, but a number of members in this place do get on a bus: I know Ms Le Couteur often catches buses, Mr Gentleman, Mr Parton even said he does, Ms Fitzharris and Ms Cheyne, and I have even gotten on a bus every so often. There you go. Many members of this place get on buses, and I encourage more people both in the public and in the chamber to catch our wonderful public transport.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (4.18): I must thank Mr Parton for bringing on this MPI. It is great, as always, to have a discussion about public transport in Canberra. It is really great to have such a positive discussion on the basis that we want more of it. I think that would be the universal message of everybody who has spoken today. It is great and we want more.

Before I talk a little more about Canberra issues, I would first like to bring to the Assembly’s attention the Facebook group that transport and urban planning nerds like my office manager seem to spend too much of their personal time on. The group is called “New urbanist memes for transit-oriented teens”. If you are interested in reading about what thousands of 20-something-year-olds are whining about in respect of the finer points of bus station design, this is the place to go. But if you are—

Mr Parton: What is it called, sorry?

MS LE COUTEUR: New urbanist memes for transit-oriented teens. It has been recommended to me by my office manager. However, I am afraid that when governments develop public transport plans they cannot take it all from Facebook. The biggest struggle everywhere is to reconcile the inherent conflict between covering everybody so that there is some service at some time but ensuring that there is quality and speed of service.

When you are faced with limited resources, as government always is, you inevitably have to choose between a public transport system that serves everybody poorly or a lesser number of people served well. In the ACT context we talk about the rapid services versus the suburban services. The rapid services are a good service but not for everybody. We can do suburban services that will get close to everybody, but they are not going to get close to everybody very often. This is a choice that every government ends up making. This is a choice clearly where efficiency and equity do not always agree.

If you are talking about the cheapest bums on seats, it is the rapid routes. That gets more of us going places on buses, and that is great. But then there are people, as Ms Lee and Mr Parton have highlighted, who will not be served by this approach.


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