THE ACT Greens is calling on the ACT government to establish an “on-demand” service to better support Canberrans who have difficulty accessing public transport.
Greens Transport spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur says no on-demand service exists in the ACT, but if brought in, could complement the existing flexi-bus service and help the elderly or people living with a disability.
“I regularly hear from older people who rely on public transport to get around but can’t even walk two or three blocks to get to a regular bus stop,” says Ms Le Couteur.
“An on-demand service that turns up at the door will make all the difference in improving their lives, for the better.”
Ms Le Couteur says the flexible bus service is a great initiative and it makes good use of some buses used for transporting children with disabilities to school.
“It is clearly an add-on to an existing essential service and thus is not optimal for the other users,” she says.
“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. However the biggest issue is sheer lack of capacity.
“The way we think about transport has changed dramatically in recent years. We know that Uber and other rideshare options are setting a new standard for on-demand transport solutions. The ACT government could learn from this and adopt something like MAAS – Mobility As A Service as a solution to support better on-demand services for those in need.
“There must be alternatives to large fixed route buses that can better meet the needs of people scattered though out our suburbs. As Canberra ages we need to think more about how our transport system will work.”
Following Ms Le Couteur’s call for an “on-demand” service, Shadow Transport Minister Candice Burch says the ACT Greens are largely responsible for the grievances being felt by so many Canberra commuters since the disastrous overhaul of the bus network.
“This attempt to now lay blame and demand better services from Labor lack integrity and are an insult to every Canberra commuter who has struggled with the new bus network,” Miss Burch says.
“The Greens already sit in Cabinet – if they were serious about helping people who are struggling with the new bus network, they should have taken action a long time ago.”