The Courier-Mail

Empty buses clog city streets while suburban commuters left stranded


HUNDREDS of half-empty buses pour into Brisbane every day, clogging city streets, while suburban travellers struggle for regular services.

State Government figures show more than 550 buses arrive in the CBD during the morning peak-hour alone. That number is forecast to almost double to 1000 in the next 16 years.

But two-thirds of them are less than half-full. Across the whole day, 78 per cent of city services have less than 50 per cent occupancy.

Rather than alleviatin­g gridlock, the under-occupied buses are part of the problem.

“Buses must mix with general traffic on major roads and city streets and compete for time and/or space with other road users at major intersecti­ons,’’ reports prepared for the previous Newman government say.

Buses are frequently forced to queue back on to the Riverside Express off-ramp and Adelaide and Elizabeth streets both handle more than their official bus capacity.

Edward and Ann streets are also affected.

Robert Dow, spokesman for commuter lobby group RAIL Back On Track, says it highlights the need for an overhaul of Brisbane’s bus routes. “The bus network for Brisbane is a disgracefu­l mess,’’ he said. “It is extraordin­arily complex. There are too many buses where they are not required, we flood the CBD with too many buses while leaving too few in the suburbs. Entire suburbs are black holes left without frequent services.’’

Instead of spending billions on expanding busways and extra buses, Mr Dow says authoritie­s should be making better use of the existing Brisbane Transport 1179-vehicle fleet by redesignin­g routes.

The last TransLink review of the SEQ bus network in 2012-13 was a debacle, with the City Council-owned Brisbane Transport refusing to be part of it. The State Government handed it over to the Council, which made minimal changes to services.

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