The expanded Nightrider bus service has come under the crosshairs of the ACT Government following disappointing patronage.
The scheme, usually run only on Fridays and Saturdays in December was expanded to run on those nights for the duration of the 2010-11 summer season as part of an agreement between the ACT Government and the Greens in order for the Government to gain support from the Greens to pass changes to liquor licensing laws.
In the first three weeks of operation, only 197 passengers utilised the service, a $10 flat fare from the City to the suburbs, in addition to a club loop service linking club hotspots Civic, Kingston and Manuka. New Year’s Eve saw a spike in numbers, bringing the total patronage for December to 936.
The service is subsidised by the ACT Government at a cost of $10,700 per night. ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said “It’s running..at over $300 per patron. Those are unsustainable numbers and unless the take up improves or picks up over the next two months then this is a trial that will be judged a failure.”
“I can’t possibly ask the people of Canberra, the long-suffering ratepayers, to continue to pay $300 per patron.. to get home from a night out on the town.”
Whilst the Chief Minister is urging more people to use the service, Greens transport spokesman Amanda Bresnan claims the Government has not adequately advertised the service.
“This is the sort of service that takes time for people to find out about it, for it to work and we are actually talking about cultural change with drink driving,” she said.
The trial will be reviewed at its conclusion in February.
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- Nightrider service information on ACT Bus