ACT committee to examine bus changes after petition
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ACT committee to examine bus changes after petition

Changes to Canberra's bus network that could disadvantage people with limited mobility have been referred an ACT Legislative Committee, as Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris hits back at claims the consultation was not genuine.

Robert Mair and Sue Brudenall said their fellow Goodwin Retirement Village Crace residents are furious there will be no direct bus from their suburb to the Belconnen town centre under the proposed network.

Sue Brudenall and Robert Mair have lodged a petition complaining about the cancellation

Sue Brudenall and Robert Mair have lodged a petition complaining about the cancellation Credit:Jamila Toderas

Currently, a half-hourly bus on weekdays and an hourly bus on weekends connects elderly residents to the centre.

Mr Mair and Ms Brudenell were among those who held a silent demonstration about the changes last month.

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They want a bus route to be extended to take in their suburb and connect them to Belconnen.

"The options they've given us would first make us have to travel to Gungahlin, or to go down to Gundaroo Drive which is a long long walk and it's a construction site at the moment which is very dangerous. It's just not suitable to older people many of whom have got mobility problems and also they fatigue a lot after long journeys," Mr Mair said.

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ACT Opposition leader Alistair Coe tabled their 529-signature petition on Tuesday, which has now been referred to the Environment, Transport and City Services Committee.

Mr Coe said he was not looking to pursue a fully-fledged inquiry into the changes, but wanted the committee to consider the concerns raised by the petitioners.

He said the changes the Goodwin Retirement Village sought were not unreasonable.

"They're not asking for anything other than what they're currently receiving from the government and given the rates, taxes, fees and charges that Canberrans pay I think it's reasonable they get access to a reasonable bus service," Mr Coe said.

Ms Fitzharris said there would be changes to the network based on the eight-week community consultation which finished on Sunday.

She said the consultation had been "extensive" and the government would "genuinely listen to all those views put forward", but they also needed to create a public transport network that would appeal to new passengers.

"Eight per cent of Canberrans currently use our network. Eight per cent walk or cycle to work. We really need to engage the other nearly 85 per cent of Canberrans who aren't currently using our public transport network," Ms Fitzharris said.

"I think we've heard a little bit less from them in the current consultation. We really must listen to those who are currently using the network but we also need to make sure that we have a network which can run efficient services that are good value for money that can run people around our city, particularly as it grows. We really do need to encourage a much greater uptake of our bus services than we currently have."