Canberra’s Nightrider Bus Service has wrapped up for the summer season, with the Greens calling on the Government to stick with it despite low patronage.
The service was extended this year to run on Friday and Saturday evenings for the duration of summer, as opposed to running for December only as has been the case in previous years.
For a $10 flat fare, patrons could catch a bus home to the suburbs from City Bus Station, or to Kingston and Manuka nightspots on a club loop route.
The Government agreed to trial the extended Nightrider in order to secure the support of the Greens in order to pass amendments to liquor licensing laws in the territory.
The level of advertising on the service has been a matter of debate. The ACTION website made no mention of the service – a fact which could be attributed to the service being provided for the first time by Deanes Transit Group.
Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan also blames poor advertising for the poor take-up of the service.
“There wasn’t the active support from Government we feel which is a shame because other states and territories have this,” she said.
“I recognise the point people have said that it costs the taxpayer when we have to pay for this but the more people you get using it, the cheaper it becomes.”
On the third weekend of the service, Bresnan and fellow MLA Shane Rattenbury took to the streets to hand out flyers in an effort to promote the service.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has defended the level of promotion.
“We put 10 per cent of the cost that we committed to this into advertising. We advertised constantly on commercial radio. We advertised in print, we facilitated Facebook and pursued it vigorously. Deanes, the operator, also advertised,” he said.
ACT Bus reported last month that the extended service was under threat of being axed, with the cost per passenger being subsidised by ACT Taxpayers to the tune of over $300 per passenger, or more than $10,000 per night.
The scheme will now be reviewed. At this stage it is unknown whether the extended service will return.
Discuss Nightrider at ACT Bus Forum