ParliamentarySecretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said the new Newcastle Transport network was showing signs of positive growth after just three weeks of operation.
He questioned the Labor’s campaign of negativity regarding the new network, which is delivering more services, more frequency and better journey times.
“Newcastle Transport is delivering 1,200 extra services every week under the new network. It is very early days however we are already seeing positive signs in terms of people using the new network,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Delivery of frequent, direct routes have already seen a slight uptick in patronage, in particular trips to John Hunter Hospital has increased by approximately 15% which is pleasing to see”.
“We are confident that as the network continues to settle, these early signs will turn into sustained increases”.
Mr MacDonald reiterated that the new network was required to stem the years of declining passenger patronage when ‘ghost buses’ were prevalent.
The network lost some 700, 000 passenger journeys over a seven year period with patronage having flat-lined prior to the launch of Newcastle Transport.
“We have asked Newcastle Transport to listen to feedback, but do we really want to go back to the way things were where routes were almost empty for most of the day and long, lonely rides were common?”
“The new network is designed to increase patronage through the delivery of better connections, more frequent and direct services, and reliable timetables. Going back to the old days of long, meandering – and ultimately empty – journeys is not what people want.”