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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1284 ..

workers are going to work and the schoolkids are going to school: it is everybody moving at the same time. That having been said, of course it is the government’s job to fix the problem. It is the opposition’s and the crossbench’s job to point out the problems. The fact that the problem is there is not a reason to not do anything about it. Of course it is unacceptable that kids are not able to get to school on time. Bus users should not be second-class citizens.

However, I think it is quite reasonable for the government to actually look at what bus services are needed, what schools kids want or need to go to. It is not reasonable for someone who lives on one side of Canberra to say, “There should be a dedicated bus for my child to go from Gungahlin to Tuggeranong,” or vice versa. That is almost an hour’s trip by car anyway. That is not a reasonable request. I think that the minister’s comment that we need to look at school kids using normal route services as well is something that has to be taken into account.

I very much hope that these issues will be taken into consideration in the next iteration of the bus network. It clearly is a very difficult problem in the morning. In the afternoon it is easier, obviously, because more of us stay at work longer than the kids stay at school. But it is clearly one of the major problems.

Miss Burch’s motion talks a lot about punctuality, and clearly that is an issue, as most of us have things that we have to go to and we do not want to have to catch the earlier bus just because we do not know if one is going to turn up. Equally, we do not want to have to go to the bus stop a lot earlier because we do not know if it will turn up.

I would actually make a plea, which I have made before, for better reliability of the NXTBUS application. I hope that anyone who is a bus user and is not aware of the NXTBUS application is told about it. There actually should be a lot more advertising of this. The majority of bus users, I would believe, have smart phones, in which case they can see on their phone what is coming next at the bus stop. If they do not have a smart phone, it is available via SMS. It is a bit slower by SMS. Nonetheless, anyone who has a mobile phone with them at the bus stop can find out what is going on. Conversely, when they are thinking about leaving home, they can look on their phone or ring up their local bus stop and find out what buses are on offer. That is great. But what is very frustrating is finding that there are a number of ghost buses. I particularly notice this in the evening if I check from the other side of the road, the Eclipse House bus stop. You are waiting there and then this bus turns up that was not even on the application.

Also I have noticed that there are major bus problems. One afternoon I remember there was about three-quarters of an hour wait for a 300 bus to turn up. That was because there was a major accident on Haydon Drive and nothing was getting through. The bus app said these buses were turning up but they just did not.

That brings me to one of the other points. The more dedicated bus lines we have, the more on-time running we can have. I strongly support putting more and more dedicated bus line routes in. This should be a major part of the solution to all our public transport problems. Certainly it will be a major part of our solution to our punctuality problems.

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