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ACT Labor throws support behind free public transport for students

Lachlan Roberts 24 July 2019 53

“We welcome debate and motions put forward at the party conference and while free public transport for students is now part of the ACT Labor party platform, it is not currently government policy,” the spokesperson said.

“We will consider it in the development of future government policies, however in the first instance it is the Government’s preference to expand services making our transport network more accessible for all Canberrans, rather than offering free services.”

Canberrans took more than 1,629,000 journeys during the first three weeks of free public transport offered by the ACT Government after launching the new network.

During the month of free travel, the light rail network recorded an average of 106,279 boardings per week and a daily average of 17,297 on working days, causing Transport Canberra to add more vehicles running on the network.

Community groups wish to see more frequent services and greater accessibility before free services are introduced.

ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations spokesperson Janelle Kennard said parents have told the council that their concern with the current public transport network is safety and accessibility, not affordability.

“We would like to see the current network improved first before we start talking about free transport for students,” Ms Kennard said. “It is more important that kids can get to where they need to go in a timely and safe manner than for public transport to be free.

“I think it is a great thing to aspire to but we are still concerned about the safety and difficulties of families being poorly connected to their school that need to be fixed first.

“If there is extra money to be looking at free rides, we rather that they look at more frequent services to reduce overcrowding and to reduce wait times. Some students are waiting up to 35 minutes after the bell to leave school.

“We would like services to be taken directly to the school rather than stopping at a distance from the school. These are the things that we would like to see invested in rather than a bit of a giveaway.”

Liberal spokesperson Candice Burch agreed.

“It’s all well and good to provide students free travel, but what good is free public transport when there are no buses to catch?” she said. “Labor and the Greens have cut hundreds of dedicated school buses, buses to universities and weekend services.

“First things first – let’s give them a bus to catch.”


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53 Responses to ACT Labor throws support behind free public transport for students
Gay Robertson Gay Robertson 6:05 pm 23 Jul 19

The issue with this is that we are again subsidising those students going to "out of catchment" schools so this policy would be in direct conflict with the policy that is desirous that students go to public schools in their local area (not just a planning issue, but also has social policy outcomes).

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 6:19 pm 23 Jul 19

    I very much doubt that public transport is a huge factor when parents decide to enroll their child in an out of area school. It is their right to do so and is up to the school whether they accept their enrolment. And if they are accepted, why would they not be allowed to take advantage of free public transport?

    Gay Robertson Gay Robertson 6:32 pm 23 Jul 19

    Lin Van Oevelen As I mentioned it then conflicts with other government policies - my concern is the lack of cohesive broad policy settings across the ACT

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 7:30 pm 23 Jul 19

    I really cannot see a need to tie public transport fees in with school enrolment policy?

    And things aren't as clear cut in that regard either. Lots of kids these days have two homes in different parts of Canberra.

    Natalie Ferris Natalie Ferris 8:00 pm 23 Jul 19

    This is why they got ride of free student bus travel once before but so many schools have been shut down since then and not every child has a school within walking distance anymore. Even then a in area school is not always best suited to that child

    Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 8:25 pm 23 Jul 19

    When we lived in both Qld and NSW our children could receive free school travel if we lived in the school catchment area but also lived a certain distance from the school.

    Nelle Fisher Nelle Fisher 8:59 am 24 Jul 19

    Our public in area school for high school is nearly 7kms away, which is a bit far on poor weather days. Our kid cycles, but that doesn't suit everyone.

Daniel Königs Daniel Königs 6:08 pm 23 Jul 19

Can we charge NSW students full fee until NSW stop charging full fee to ACT students?

    LJ Tas LJ Tas 6:22 pm 23 Jul 19

    Daniel Königs NSW has a private bus network, which is totally different from the ACT

    Chris MacDonald Chris MacDonald 6:28 pm 23 Jul 19

    LJ Tas not all NSW busses are private, and NSW students get discount travel on private busses

    Daniel Königs Daniel Königs 6:34 pm 23 Jul 19

    Cityrail definitely isn’t private, Liberals haven’t been in power for long enough yet 😂

    David Malcolm David Malcolm 6:52 pm 23 Jul 19

    LJ Tas the bus companies are paid by the state government to run the school busses.

    Mat Barber Mat Barber 7:36 pm 23 Jul 19

    NSW has private and government run operators, depending what region they're in and who holds the contract.

JP Pederson JP Pederson 6:21 pm 23 Jul 19

🙄 yawn....I’ll believe it when I see it....they broke it just so they can claim credit when it’s “fixed”

Loftie Croftie Loftie Croftie 6:27 pm 23 Jul 19

So how will this work with international students? Wouldn’t be happy if they get it for free.

    Robert Hawes Robert Hawes 7:18 pm 23 Jul 19

    Be a selling point for Canberra. Get more students here.

    Julia Bocking Julia Bocking 7:04 am 24 Jul 19

    why not Loftie? They pay through the nose for everything else, and have strict limits on working hours and mental health support. International students deserve our welcome, not our bigotry.

    Loftie Croftie Loftie Croftie 7:54 am 24 Jul 19

    Julia Bocking cause we need to increase our economy. We are paying a lot in rates and taxes. It’s their choice to come and study in Australia and know the price they have to pay.

    Bernie Douglas Bernie Douglas 1:33 pm 27 Jul 19

    Loftie Croftie we set the lofty price they pay, why make it loftier?

Chris MacDonald Chris MacDonald 6:27 pm 23 Jul 19

More busses more often on more routes. And replace the old stock with accessible buses.

Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 6:41 pm 23 Jul 19

I have lived in Canberra for 19 years, have witnessed several changes to the transport system over that time. I’ve always managed to adapt within a short space of time. However the changes to the current system are so major, so difficult, that I am still trying to work out the new system. Partly that is because I travel to several different destinations, partly because the Journey Planner is not easy to use. Even the route maps aren’t clear; it is hard to see where the stops are. Please sort out the current transport system first.

    William William William William 8:44 pm 23 Jul 19

    Trish Roberts iv been Canberra 55 years we paid 2c a ride then it went up to .5c

    William William William William 8:47 pm 23 Jul 19

    The old system was better to under srand easy's too use. Better services the net work was designed the way New York networks according to Fitszharris as stated we dont want to end up like N.Y . But

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 9:33 pm 23 Jul 19

    New York is constructed in squares - very different!

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 8:19 am 24 Jul 19

    William, that’s no good! Just as Barr doesn’t want to hear the opinions of older people, he won’t consider the transport needs of the elderly or sick (I’m in those categories!).

Josh Devenny Josh Devenny 7:13 pm 23 Jul 19

What about free transport for low income earners and pensioners ??

    Robert Hawes Robert Hawes 7:17 pm 23 Jul 19

    I am a senior. I get free off peak rides. Peak hour rides are very cheap.

    Josh Devenny Josh Devenny 7:52 pm 23 Jul 19

    Robert same here but im thinking for those who dont have the support of say dhs

Steve Wood Steve Wood 7:52 pm 23 Jul 19

🤔 what do I think about that... 🤣🤣 so never.

Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 8:17 pm 23 Jul 19

Hmmm i can see the rates being jacked up for this now.

Deborah Gale Deborah Gale 8:25 pm 23 Jul 19

Must be an election coming

    Gwg Heldon Gwg Heldon 8:28 pm 23 Jul 19

    Deborah Gale I'm obviously as cynical as you. Thinking the same thing.

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 8:54 pm 23 Jul 19

    October next year I think

    Bernie Douglas Bernie Douglas 1:32 pm 27 Jul 19

    Thats what politics is, implementing policies that are popular with the constituents; if not get voted out.

Roderick Saunders Roderick Saunders 8:32 pm 23 Jul 19

MLAs aren't as keen on this as the party rank and file? How surprising.

William William William William 8:38 pm 23 Jul 19

Well under Fitszharris they stuffed up the school bus services so they should be fee Qld Does.

William William William William 8:40 pm 23 Jul 19

Fitsharris position is up for grabs in city news the nominees will be decided 24.july

Nari Strange Nari Strange 9:05 pm 23 Jul 19

What a good idea.... if it means better behaved patrons.

Gerard Dwyer Gerard Dwyer 9:37 pm 23 Jul 19

I would assume this includes our biggest public education provider? CIT students?

Anohs Llihpmeh Anohs Llihpmeh 9:49 pm 23 Jul 19

Could provide a solution to many parking problems at UC, CIT etc.

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 10:05 pm 23 Jul 19

Action do the very best they can. I know they take concerns seriously and will keep working at it like they have done in the past to get it right.

David Brown David Brown 10:37 pm 23 Jul 19

Is this another attempt to inflate usage numbers and show how good the new network is? 😂😂😂

    Ella Factor Ella Factor 8:26 am 24 Jul 19

    David Brown why on earth would Labor rank and file care about inflating usage numbers when deciding the policy platform, the values document of the party?

    Some times cynicism can take you to the level of absurdity mate.

    Bernie Douglas Bernie Douglas 1:36 pm 27 Jul 19

    David Brown ahh yes, you mean how this Government has started dealing with the under usage of Canberra's public transport (worst of the country) by delivering record levels of daily journeys. But thats inflating numbers..

Ray Adams Ray Adams 10:16 am 24 Jul 19

People with a disability should be included too as part of their NDIS plan.

Mark Ryan Mark Ryan 11:06 am 24 Jul 19

Angela Ryan...like NSW.

$50 per boy per term...work that saving out if it happens.

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