9 September 2019

Probing the polls: revenue raising parking fines and safety on the bus routes

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Have changes to the bus network made public transport riskier for women? File photo.

While there was plenty of outrage among fans over the recent parking fine blitz at Bruce after the Raiders home game on August 25, RiotACT readers had less patience with ticket recipients according to our polls.

After hundreds of parking tickets were issued at the recent match-up with Manly, we asked whether people have a right to be angry about it?

935 of you voted on two options. We asked whether the blitz at a home game was convenient revenue-raising (431 votes, 46 per cent) or whether you should know better if you can read the No Parking signs (504 votes, or 54 per cent of the total).

The relatively even split reflected polarised attitudes from our comments stream. Those at the match were likely to be pretty cranky about the decision to hit car owners, while others pointed out that GIO Stadium provides multiple alternative suggestions including carpooling, free buses and real time updates on social media about the availability of parking spaces.

This week, we’re turning our attention to the flow-on effects of the changed bus routes. There’s been plenty of drama about these from many quarters, from people complaining about extended work commutes to more difficult transitions to school for their children and reduced weekend services.

But the Women’s Centre for Health Matters raised further concerns when they suggested the new bus networks were also having a detrimental effect on women’s safety, especially at night and in isolated areas. Under the new public transport network, some usual bus stops have been removed from the network in exchange for Rapid Route Four.

Women say they are now required to walk further at times when they feel vulnerable, with the effect of changing how frequently they are willing to use public transport.

Women’s Centre for Health Matters CEO Marcia Williams said anecdotal evidence prompted them to conduct a survey about how the changes have affected women and their sense of security.

“We started to realise that this isn’t just a few women and that this is more widespread,” Ms Williams said. “So we launched the survey to see how many women didn’t feel safe and to see if there are particular stops or if it is across Canberra.

Several public transport stops have been raised as a concern, including the Philip Avenue light rail stop. “We know that a woman’s perception of safety will stop them from using places or spaces. For women, it’s about the perception of safety, so even though the bus stop seems safe to Transport Canberra, women will not use it if they don’t feel safe”, she said.

So is the new bus network responsible for putting women’s safety at risk? Or are those concerns symptomatic of bigger problems in our community with regard to safety? Your options are to agree that the ACT government should have thought this through before changing the schedules or to vote for community safety being a bigger community-wide issue.

Go the polls and tell us what you think.

The new bus network has been blamed for putting women's safety at risk. Is this a likely outcome?

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