Page 2802 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2018

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It is really important to note that, at this stage, eight per cent of Canberrans currently use our bus network. Eight per cent walk or cycle, generally, to work. We really need to engage the other nearly 85 per cent of Canberrans who are not currently using our public transport network. We have probably heard a little bit less from them in the current consultation. We must listen to those that are currently using the network, but we also need to make sure that we have a network which can run efficient services that are good value for money and that move lots of people around our city, particularly as it grows. We really do need to encourage a much greater uptake in our bus services than we currently have.

The good news is that the introduction of the red rapid and the blue rapid some seven or eight years ago, and the introduction of the green and the black rapids last year, has seen very significant growth in all four of those services, particularly when those services have been offered more frequently on the weekends.

The consultation has been genuine; that is a really important point. There have been eight weeks of consultation, with considerable effort by Transport Canberra teams out there, talking to many groups in the community and genuinely hearing their concerns. We will be making some changes to the network. That is exactly why we went through this consultation. We do not yet know what some of those changes will be. We hope that, where we have heard from residents, like residents in Crace, particularly from the Goodwin village in Crace, if we cannot make the proposals they have put forward, we will let them know why and we will let them know what it means for the whole network.

The balance that we have to get right here is between current users and the over 80 per cent of Canberrans who are not current users. We have to run a more efficient bus network. We have to get more people on our buses. We have to make sure that we have real opportunities for people to use an alternative to the car. We will also be looking very closely at how we can much better use our community transport—our fleet, our network and our ability to provide community-based transport that is free and that can provide a more bespoke solution for many members of our community. That may be a good solution for many residents in our community.

I note that there are ups and downs in the public discussion around the public response to the bus consultation. There are some really good news stories in there. For example, The Grove retirement village in Ngunnawal, which did not previously have a bus stopping outside The Grove, will have this in the new network. So there are some really good news stories in this regard.

I had some discussions on the weekend in the Gungahlin town centre with a resident from Goodwin. He explained to me that one of the concerns that many residents have, including himself, was that they currently do not use the bus; he has never used the bus. What he wants to know is that when he does need to use the bus in the future—he foresees that perhaps in the next decade he will not be using his car as often—he has that option available to him. If that is an important point that is coming through in the consultation, that is exactly the sort of thing we need to know and exactly the sort of thing that we will be listening to.

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