Transport Minister Andrew Constance has continued his embarrassing week in Question Time today by refusing to admit he deliberately mislead Parliament when he used skewed figures to back up his claim that Newcastle Transport has been improved since he privatised it.
On 6 March 2018 the Minister for Transport told the Parliament “in January 2017, the patronage numbers were 304,330. In January of this year they were 319,360.”
Now that the Opal data has been released by his own department revealing that in January 2018 there were only 300,448 trips.
With a continuing pattern in February, patronage decreased from 402,000 in 2017 to 394,000 in 2018, a reduction of 8,000 Opal trips.
Today in Question Time, Mr Crakanthorp asked Mr Constance “Will the Minister for Transport now apologise for misleading the House?”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp
“The Minister is embarrassing himself now by standing by his comments on the increased services and the success of his privatisation. He needs to understand that 20 000 signatures on a bus petition don’t lie.”
“The Minister has been fudging figures but the reality is that it no longer works and the Minister needs to acknowledge this and demand that his private operator undertake a comprehensive review of the network.”
“Commuters are voting with their feet and abandoning the service. It’s time for the Minister to listen to what the customers are asking for and restore the services.”
“The Opal data doesn’t lie. Newcastle commuters are walking away from a bus system that no longer services their needs.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Charlestown, Jodie Harrison
“How dare the Transport Minister claim he “rescued” Newcastle’s public transport system when I am still being inundated with complaints from constituents whose buses are not turning up, whose children are left waiting for hours to get home from school and the elderly and disabled have become prisoners in their homes because it is too hard for them to catch a bus to the shops.”
“The arrogance the Minister displayed today and the contempt he shows to the people of the Hunter is inexcusable – the Premier needs to stand up and show her leadership and sack him from this portfolio before he damages the lifestyles of any more of my constituents.”