(8 September 2011, Parliament House, Sydney)
Ms CLOVER MOORE: My question is to the Minister for Transport. Given that thousands of young vulnerable people, equivalent to the numbers in Martin Place at peak hour, are stranded in Kings Cross late at night every weekend because transport has stopped, will the Minister commit to running trains to enable these young people to get home?
Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: This is a very important issue, and I thank the member for Sydney for raising it in the House today. I take the opportunity to share with the House what the New South Wales Government is providing for those people who need to get home from Kings Cross and the central business district late at night. This Government understands that the New South Wales travelling public deserve safe, reliable and accessible public transport services, particularly late at night, and particularly in those locations outlined by the member for Sydney. I am pleased to say that during the election one of the key commitments that we on this side of the House made was to increase Nite Rider services for young people. I am pleased to say that in the State budget handed down this week we delivered on that commitment.
The 2011-12 budget increases funding for this service by a substantial 28 per cent, to $8.6 million, compared to last year. We will deliver an additional $7.6 million for Nite Rider services over the next four years. Nite Rider bus services start from Town Hall and provide late-night services from the central business district to key suburban locations. Our funding boost means the Nite Rider system, for example serving Kings Cross, which is the N100, will receive extra services. This will mean Thursday night Nite Rider services will be increased to weekend frequency. In many cases, this means the frequency of services will be doubled. We will introduce a new Nite Rider service to Richmond, providing a new service to customers from Marayong, Quakers Hill, Schofields, Riverstone, Vineyard, Mulgrave, Windsor, Clarendon, East Richmond and Richmond.
Mr John Robertson: Do you know where that is?
Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: I caught the train out there. Have you? The New South Wales Government will increase the frequency of weekend Nite Rider services to Macarthur, that is, from Town Hall to Macarthur. This new service will give people living between Liverpool and Macarthur a half-hourly service. We will also introduce a new hourly weekend Nite Rider service along the Carlingford line, and increase Nite Rider services to Parramatta.
Dr Geoff Lee: Hear, hear!
Ms GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN: I thank the member for Parramatta. This will mean that customers living along the Carlingford line will benefit from a late-night service for the first time. Work on introducing these services is well on the way, and the new Nite Rider service will begin on the Carlingford line and Richmond branch lines very soon. For the benefit of the member for Sydney, there are also buses that connect Kings Cross to Town Hall, where Nite Rider services depart. In the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings, during times that trains do not run, RailCorp runs half-hourly services, again the N100, from Kings Cross into the city, leaving from Bayswater Road. There is a security guard on both the N100 and the 999 services. Also, I would like to mention that when it comes to taxis this Government is delivering 197 new annual taxi licences and 30 replacement licences for Sydney for 2011-12. This is a 3.6 per cent increase in taxi licences, and they are expected to be on the road by Christmas.
I am pleased to advise the member also that the New South Wales Government is reviewing the CityRail timetable. The review will look at the options to provide train services where demand dictates. This is measured by regular passenger counts on trains and buses, counts of customers arriving at and departing from stations and bus stops, and also ticket sales. We will consult with stakeholders and community organisations, and receive feedback from customers on how best to improve these services. We want public transport services to match passengers' needs and we are also happy to work with the City of Sydney to examine how to further improve these late-night transport options. The New South Wales Government is increasing late-night transport options through Night Ride services and will continually look for other ways to improve options for late-night travellers.
While the Government is increasing services, it knows that Labor cut and slashed services. Those opposite slashed 416 daily rail services, that is, more than 2,000 services a week. They refused to increase Night Ride bus services, but we on this side of the House are doing just that. The people of New South Wales lost faith and confidence in the ability of Labor to provide public transport. This Government will always put customers first. I am pleased to inform the member for Sydney how it intends to do that for people enjoying the central business district.