4 September 2019

Greens call for on-demand bus service to pick up elderly residents from home

| Lachlan Roberts
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NSW’s on-demand service picks up patrons from home and drops them off at their chosen destination. Photo: Transport NSW.

The Greens are calling on the ACT Government to run an on-demand bus service to help those who cannot walk to public transport stops, similar to a service that is being trialled in New South Wales.

The NSW trial allows members of the community to book a shuttle bus to pick them up from home or a nearby convenient location and take them to their desired destination.

Transport NSW said the new service is hoping to provide a more flexible approach to delivering services when and where people need them and to improve connectivity to the existing public transport network.

ACT Greens Transport spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said the ACT Government needs to commit to a similar service in the nation’s capital, allowing Canberrans to book a vehicle in real-time to pick them up from home or a nearby convenient location.

Ms Le Couteur said she regularly hears from elderly Canberrans who now have to walk a fair distance to catch a bus under the new public transport network.

“With our new bus network, there has been an increase in rapid routes where the Government standard is up to 750 metres from the home,” Ms Le Couteur said. “Many people cannot easily walk that distance to access a bus.

“Older people rely on public transport to get around but they can’t even walk two or three blocks to get to a regular bus stop. An on-demand service that turns up at the door will make all the difference in improving their lives for the better.”

Transport Canberra currently runs a flexible bus service for people who cannot access regular route services, but the service must be booked 48 hours in advance and operating hours are limited to 9:30 am – 1:30 pm on weekdays.

As well as running an on-demand bus service, Ms Le Couteur said the Government needs to expand the operating hours of the flexi-service and reduce the booking time to make the service far more accessible.

“The flexible bus service but the limited hours and a two-day booking delay mean it’s not especially convenient for unexpected trips like medical appointments or trying to get around during regular business hours,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“An expanded flexi-bus service, coupled with on-demand services, would help get people where they want to go quickly, reliably, safely and cheaply.”

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Leon Arundell10:14 am 06 Sep 19

Would expanded community transport be a better option? Community transport services provide more flexible transport services. These services are expanding to fill gaps in public bus services.

Surely the real issue was the ACT government stuffing up the new bus network and making 800m an acceptable walking distance. No use throwing money at a solution that doesn’t fix the underlying problem.

It shouldn’t be about simply re-hashing the old network, it’s about putting in a new network that isn’t just based on a system from another country. A system that was destined to fail in canberra.

Capital Retro6:18 pm 05 Sep 19

“We need Elon’s Tesla Robotaxi fleet to be a thing ASAP.”

No, “we” don’t. As far as I know only Tesla vehicles can use the app and “we” need mini-busses as a minimum to move the people subject of this article as a lot of them will be in wheel chairs.

Also, there is doubt that Tesla will be around in 12 months.

Capital Retro10:31 am 05 Sep 19

The current Transport Canberra 48 hour notice “service” is next to useless with services limited to operating Monday to Friday, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. It does not operate on weekends, public holidays or public service shutdown periods.

As long as the proposed on demand service is not operated by ACTION and it is available 7 days a week it should be successful however given that it will be funded by the taxpayers what other options like Uber were considered?

The service should be from “point to point” also – shuttling people from their homes to the nearest bus/tram stop is not acceptable.

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