CAT bus service to continue
Fremantle Council has voted to continue to operate the Fremantle CAT bus service until the end of June 2022 while the City looks to improve the financial viability of the service.
In June last year the council voted to reduce the City’s free Central Area Transit services in response to reduced patronage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Red CAT route was suspended, while the frequency of the Blue CAT service was reduced from a bus every 10 minutes to a bus every 20 minutes.
The council also ordered an internal review of the CAT bus service to consider alternative routes, operating models and funding options.
Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan said given the continuing uncertainty with COVID-19 and its impact on tourism, the local economy and the City’s finances the review recommended the reduced service levels be continued until the end of the 2021-22 financial year.
“The review concluded the CAT bus is a valuable service that aligns with many of the City’s strategic objectives around encouraging the use of public transport and boosting visitation, and that the pre-COVID routes and service levels were the best arrangement,” Cr Sullivan said.
“In conducting the review we also consulted with a number of state government agencies, Notre Dame University and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce.
“Compared to other CAT services in Perth, the City of Fremantle contributes a greater proportion of the operating costs and one of the difficulties we have in determining the fairest funding model for the CAT bus is the lack of data on who actually uses it.
“Anecdotally we understand the service is very popular with Notre Dame students and prior to COVID-19 was well used by interstate and international visitors, but we don’t have any hard data to demonstrate that.
“We’ll use the next 12 months to try and obtain that data and build a patronage profile that we can then use to determine the most appropriate funding arrangement.”
For the past 20 years the City of Fremantle has funded 60 per cent of the CAT service in Fremantle, with the PTA contributing 40 per cent. The City’s contribution equates to around $670,00 a year.
The cost of running the Joondalup CAT service is shared equally between the City of Joondalup, PTA and Edith Cowan University, while the Perth CAT services are funded out of the State Government’s Perth Parking Levy.