The Motorist Party recognises the need for an effective Transport System to service the Canberra community.
Given that even though over 90% of citizens presently use cars as their transport, we believe that an effective Public Transport System must exist. The current system is a compromise on service and efficiency in favour of cost. To change the discretionary preference to use motor cars, two primary aspects need to improve:
1. An effective route system.
2. Guaranteed frequency and running on time.
We recognise that the management and effectiveness of our bus system must be thoroughly considered by the Government of the day to achieve a reasonable financial outcome. For it to ever be a valuable asset to the community we must look forward and we suggest the following as the issues the Motorist Party will pursue:
1. Establish the best possible route system, ensuring that the arteries service the primary population and business areas, recognising new housing developments such as Molonglo.
2. Support any initiatives to facilitate improvements in the Administration of the bus system.
3. Using new technology, especially satellite navigation, thereby providing the community with the facility, through a mobile phone application, to identify bus routes and identify when the next bus will arrive in their location.
4. Ensure that all forward planning takes into account the possibility that light rail may be a part of Canberra’s transport system.
In the short term, whilst ever the Canberra community is as reliant on cars, we will encourage robust discussions to overcome our problems with parking. We present the following as a solution to parking problems and as an initiative to encourage people onto buses.
For a trial period of six months, we propose that the community can ride on Action Buses free of charge on week days between the hours of 6.30 – 9.30 am and in the afternoon between 3.30 – 7.30 pm. This is to encourage workers to use the bus rather than their car and for them to travel to and from their place of employment using the bus service instead of their cars therefore reducing the need for parking spaces and reducing congestion on our roads. This is consistent with the Motorist Party’s Parking Policy.
We note that the income presently generated is minimal and in the overall sense, the relative cost of this trial may be acceptable given that the effect of the trial is to establish exactly what the maximum patronage could be, the greatest incentive being that the bus ride is free.
The Motorist Party believe the task of providing Canberra with a good public transport system is made more difficult by the vast spread of our population. Cities where the population is concentrated are easily serviced by rail, trams or buses. Our bus service is very effective if you are travelling between town centres, as the service is frequent and rapid, the problems lie in passengers getting to the town centres. The Motorist Party would increase the number of medium and mini buses picking up passengers from low volume stops and ferrying them to town centres.
The provision of a service where passengers could book mini buses, while on their regular route, to pick up from a person’s home is proposed. This approach would be part of a system of localised passenger collections feeding into the main routes providing much more flexibility in reducing the distance from front door to pick up points. This would reduce the number of larger buses that are running at around five to ten percent of their capacity. The Motorist Party would investigate the possibility of contracting under-utilised maxi taxi’s to cover some of the smaller routes that have lower levels of patronage.
The Motorist Party are against the development of a light rail on the short run from Gungahlin to the City as it would be virtually useless and would fail to attract the passenger numbers required to even cover daily running cost of the service. Although very doubtful about the value of light rail to the ACT if it were to be successful here it would have to service the high employment zones of Russell, the airport, Fyshwick, the Parliamentary Triangle and the City and be linked to the population centres of Gungahlin, North and South Canberra and the new Molonglo development.
Our bus service runs at a loss of approximately $80 million per year and covers the area proposed for light rail. We certainly would not like to add the losses of a light rail network to this sum. Some Canberra residents have to use buses and others choose to use them. The focus of the Action network should be on catering for these passengers. The rest of us like the convenience of our motor vehicles and are not likely to change our habits. It is time the ACT Government realised this and catered in a responsible manner for the motorist. The Motorist Party is supportive of a cost effective and active transport programme.
To enable the public to be persuaded to use public transport, three aspects are a must and we will strive to see the Government achieve these aims:
1. The creation of an effective route system.
2. Guaranteed frequency and buses running on time.
3. We will support the thorough examination of our future transport needs and consider the practical and cost effective value of alternative public transport systems such as light rail.
Our belief is that points 1 and 2 can be successfully created using existing IT systems connected to personal smart phones.