January 9, 2018

Feeder bus services set to blowout the cost of Metronet

Additional buses and routes required to deliver passengers to new train stations will blow out the cost of Metronet, potentially by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Shadow Transport Minister Liza Harvey said the recent Auditor General’s Planning and Management of Bus Services report revealed that no estimates existed for the cost of buying buses and operating services to the new or extended rail lines to Ellenbrook, Joondalup, Thornlie and Armadale.

“The report says that over the next 10 years, $680 million will be needed to replace existing buses and to purchase and operate new buses for the Forrestfield-Airport link but makes the point that new buses and services required to feed other Metronet lines will add significantly to that figure,” Ms Harvey said.

“The State Government has not only failed to make any budget provision for services to deliver commuters to Metronet stations, it has also not allocated funding for more buses to allow expansion of services into new suburbs.

“The McGowan Government has become so Metronet focused it is failing to plan for bus services which still provide the greatest number of passenger journeys for Perth commuters.”

Ms Harvey said it could not be argued that Metronet services would simply replace bus journeys because the State Government’s whole case for Metronet was that it would increase public transport patronage.

“This the McGowan Government robbing Peter to pay Paul and Perth bus commuters will be the losers,” Ms Harvey said.

“Labor made a grand election commitment to the people of Ellenbrook to build a rail line before there was sufficient demand for it and now, to find the money for it, the McGowan Government is pulling money from every other corner of the transport budget.

“The report makes the point that the Public Transport Authority’s only real avenue for reducing bus transport costs is to reduce service kilometres, either by cutting services or reducing the frequency of services.

“One option the report suggests is reviewing school bus services.”

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