The Fremantle CAT bus service is under threat due to the City of Fremantle’s money squeeze. Last June the Council voted to suspend the Red Cat route and to reduce the frequency of the Blue Cat route from every 10 minutes to every 20 mins. Council has recently voted to continue with these reduced arrangements until June 2022.
This is hard to believe, given that the free CAT has operated for 20 years, with the City funding 60% of the costs being $670,000 per year and the PTA contributing 40%. It’s a sign of just how bad Fremantle’s finances are that this service is now under threat.
The Council is considering increasing rates by up to $100 per year for people living within 400 metres of the CAT route. This is an unfair rates grab, given that Notre Dame students, young people, pensioners and tourists all benefit from the free CAT service.
The success of any local area CAT bus relies on a very frequent service, or passengers will simply find another mode of transport. Passengers are happy to wait 10 minutes to be board the local CAT routes, but at 20 minute intervals the convenience of the service dwindles. People will revert back to driving cars.
Given the CAT bus was often full at peak times of the day, it is difficult to understand why Fremantle Council is choosing to push locals off public transport. This is in direct contradiction to the Council’s own strong rhetoric on the need to expand public transport as a key pillar to tackle climate change. It is in direct contradiction to Council’s aim to reduce the number of cars in central Fremantle.
If elected Mayor, I will work to restore the full CAT bus service to its 10-minute pick-ups and I won’t be supporting rates rising for nearby residents to fund it.
Click below for Fremantle Herald article dated 30 April 2021 where Andrew Sullivan flags idea of residents nearby paying for future CAT services:
There is no longer money in the kitty for these basic services because Council decided to spend $50 million on its new Admin Building instead.