Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 April 2018) . . Page.. 1288 ..
that parent, I ask: why is it that the bus misses them rather than them missing the bus?
To both the Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services and the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development I say that parents, teachers, students and the broader Canberra community await your response.
MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (4.16): I thank all members today for their contributions to debate on this motion. I would like to reiterate my commitment to fighting for reliable, accessible and convenient public transport for all Canberrans. Canberrans deserve to know that when they use public transport it will get them where they want to go when the timetable said it would. The more confidence people have in the public transport network, the more likely they are to use it. When we look at Transport Canberra’s own performance data, we see that Canberra’s public transport network is not reliable and it is not punctual.
Buses are currently failing to meet punctuality targets almost 30 per cent of the time. The current timetable is not working for Canberrans. Despite what the minister has said about more Canberrans using public transport, performance data shows that the network is only running on time when people are not using it. The government, it seems, has forgotten to factor people into this current network.
Right now many Canberrans want to use public transport. Those on all sides of this chamber agree that we want more Canberrans to use public transport. It provides many economic, environmental and health benefits that we would like to see Canberrans enjoy. The many Canberrans who choose not to use this network do so not because they do not want to but because they feel like they cannot trust the timetable.
They are not willing to take the risk that the bus might have left too early or arrives too late to get them to where they need to be. This inconveniences commuters and students alike. It is unacceptable that dedicated school buses are getting children to school after the morning bell. It is even more unacceptable that Transport Canberra has told parents that it does not see this to be a problem.
It cannot be acceptable that dedicated school buses make students late for school. I can see no good reason for afternoon school buses to be departing before the end of the school day. This practice should be stopped. When buses depart up to 40 minutes after the end of the day, schools are paying teachers overtime to supervise students who are waiting for buses. This cuts into school budgets for no educational purpose.
If the government is serious about its commitment to our children’s education, it must commit to a plan of action to ensure that school buses get our children to school on time. I am pleased to note that the government plans to seek and act on community feedback when it is designing the new transport network. I look forward to hearing from the government about the concrete steps it will take to ensure that public transport is reliable and punctual for all Canberrans.
I particularly look forward to the government providing comprehensive and ongoing data on the performance of school bus services and taking steps to improve the performance of these services to ensure that they meet school start and finish times. I