Page 1827 - Week 05 - Thursday, 10 May 2018

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This bill includes amendments to align the light rail and bus ticketing requirements. Integrating the light rail service with the ticketing system used for ACTION buses will enable convenient connections for commuters between light rail and bus services. Any existing concession entitlements or free travel arrangements will apply across both public transport modes. Regulatory amendments currently being drafted will further align the regulatory framework for buses with those for the light rail. Those amendments will focus on aligning the regulation of passenger conduct and behaviour and will commence prior to light rail passenger services commencing.

Whilst we have sought to align the services as far as possible, to simplify the experiences of commuters, there will remain some differences between the regulatory frameworks for the light rail and buses. These differences arise from the different nature of the transport modes, contractual arrangements for the services and the application of the Rail Safety National Law to the light rail. Any differences are not detrimental to operators or users of the different passenger public services.

The amendments made by this bill will deliver a safe and accessible light rail service for the Canberra community. The bill regulates ticketing and the behaviour of passengers and persons engaging with the light rail service. Ticket inspections will be undertaken on light rail vehicles and at light rail stops and will predominantly be undertaken by staff of the light rail service operator appointed by the territory.

Police and some territory officers will also have the power to inspect tickets on the light rail service. The appropriate regulation of behaviour surrounding the light rail service is integral to encouraging patronage of the light rail and revenue protection. Unacceptable passenger conduct is known to make people less willing to use public transport services.

This government is committed to delivering a public transport network that meets community needs and is attractive and easy to use. The community expects that access to public facilities and services is regulated so that they are safe, efficient, effective and affordable for everyone. With this in mind, the bill contains a number of provisions that address matters that affect public safety, the accessibility of the service and enforcement and compliance with the regulatory framework being established.

As I mentioned when the bill was introduced, it creates a number of criminal offences relating to ticketing, passenger conduct and public conduct at light rail premises. The offences are drafted with an emphasis on the behaviour and the risk it poses to public safety, property and the individual.

For example, we understand that people may wish to use public transport to take their pet to the vet. The bill allows a person to travel on a light rail vehicle with an animal, as long as it is confined in a box, basket or other container, or as otherwise determined by the territory or the light rail service operator. Recognising the important role of assistance animals, this restriction does not apply to guide dogs, animals that are assisting a person with a disability or an animal that is being trained to assist a person with a disability.

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