It has been six months since the Barr Labor-Greens government overhauled our bus network, throwing public transport into chaos and isolating many Canberrans.
Longer commute times, greater walks to bus stops, more transfers, and two-hour waits on weekends are just some of the features of this new network that Canberrans have had to endure over recent months.
One of the most controversial decisions was to cut a significant number of dedicated school bus services, and to deprioritise dedicated school buses, ranking them last in their "service hierarchy", in favour of the general public network.
At least 50 Canberra schools have no dedicated school bus services at all. Many other routes have been stripped back, requiring children to walk much further, cross busy roads or intersections, or include substantial wait times at interchanges. This is despite reports of aggressive behaviour and an attempted abduction.
The Canberra Liberals have been inundated with stories about how the changes have made life more difficult for Canberrans. Countless families have jumped back in their cars to drive their kids to and from school, with many reporting they have had to adjust work hours to ensure their children get to school safely.
Dozens of teachers, principals and school communities have raised concerns about student safety when travelling to and from bus routes, on public transport services, and while waiting at interchanges.
Disappointingly, these concerns continue to fall on deaf ears, with the Barr government still unwilling to acknowledge the community's concerns. But while the Barr Labor-Greens government may not be listening, the Canberra Liberals are.
A Canberra Liberal's government will prioritise dedicated school bus services and bring back school bus routes that have been cut, to ensure our kids can travel to and from school quickly and safely. This will also ease pressure on peak commuter bus services in the mornings, and reduce congestion on our roads around school zones.
We will make life easier for Canberra families, and give parents peace of mind when it comes to the daily school commute. Dedicated school buses also have positive long-term effects on public transport use.
By providing a safe and easily accessible school bus for young students, they will learn how to responsibly use a bus service and will be much more likely to rely on public transport in their adulthood. With the right investment in school services, we will be encouraging less reliance on cars for future generations.
Getting kids to and from school quickly and safely should be a basic and essential service provided by local Government. The fact this Government has taken these services away with little explanation, and continues to ignore concerns from parents and schools, is reprehensible. It is just one example of how arrogant and out of touch this Government has become.
The Canberra Liberals believe in making life easier for Canberra families, and in prioritising the basic essential services that Canberrans deserve.
- Candice Burch is the Opposition spokeswoman for transport