Labor’s plan to boost bus use

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An ACT Labor government would seriously consider limiting car-parking spaces to encourage greater use of public transport, Opposition transport spokesman John Hargreaves says.

Commenting on a survey which showed increased satisfaction with ACTION, Mr Hargreaves said something had to be done to attract people who had a choice to use buses. It seemed increasing the cost of parking was not the answer.

He cited the parking places outside the ACT Legislative Assembly. Though they cost $9 a day, the area was always full. “How about restricting the number of car spaces so they are just not there” he asked.

“We just stop allowing more car parking . . . We would give that a lot of thought”

Although he would not confirm restricting car parking would form part of the Labor Party’s election platform, he said, “I can tell you what we are thinking about. ACTIONs fare system is also on the minds of Labor’s platform planners.”

“The zonal fare system has to go,” Mr Hargreaves said. But he appeared to modify this, saying, “We will examine the zonal fare system and compare it with a time-of-trip system to see how we can make it more equitable”

Mr Hargreaves said Labor would also remove “this nonsense of concessions not being used at peak times. We would just remove that because it is unfair”.

People are entitled to travel on concessions at any time, but the $1.20 pensioner daily off-peak ticket cannot be used before 9am or in the afternoon peak.

Mr Hargreaves, who said he traveled on an ACTION bus two or three times a year “to keep my hand in”, did not favour the use of any off-peak fares. He also said, “I would stop the frequency of timetable changes.”

Meanwhile, Urban Services Minister Brendan Smyth welcomed the survey which showed the overall satisfaction rating of ACTION buses had increased over the past 12 months.

It increased from 64 per cent last year to 74 per cent this year.

The survey measured satisfaction with ACTIONs fares, the ticketing system, bus routes and timetables, buses and bus drivers, interchanges and bus stops.

Mr Smyth said there were improvements from last year in almost all areas, with the biggest increases occurring in drivers’ driving style, value for money and accessibility.

Only 2 per cent of respondents had expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the overall service they had obtained from ACTION.

Despite these generally favourable results, ACTION’s patronage has not increased markedly this year.

The exception is from Gungahlin, which has generated about 1000 more passengers a week since improvements to services in September.

Author: Graham Downie
The Canberra Times 20 Nov, 2000