For decades, our governments have failed to invest sufficiently in public transport. Fares are too high, and many existing services are infrequent or unreliable, with major gaps in the network. While the Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects are certainly positive steps, we need bigger changes to transport services and planning. We also need to redesign our streets as people-friendly places that prioritise pedestrians and encourage active transport (more on that at this link).
Who runs public transport?
Although most residents think bus and ferry services are controlled by Brisbane City Council, the State Government is actually the ultimate funder and decision-maker via Translink (a division of the Department of Transport and Main Roads). The State Government sets fares and collects the fare revenue, paying BCC an annual sum to operate the bus and ferry networks, with routes and timetables negotiated between BCC and the State. Importantly, fare revenue only covers a small fraction of the service running costs.
So BCC is essentially running the buses and ferries as a contractor on behalf of the State Government (Translink also controls the train network through Queensland Rail). Long story short: if Brisbane City Council wants to add a bus stop or add more services to a particular route, it needs support and increased funding from the State Government.
What Can You Do?
I urge you to write to:
- The State Government Transport Minister ([email protected])
- The BCC Lord Mayor ([email protected])
Please ask for a significant overall increase to public transport funding, so that fares can be lowered and services can be added. You can also mention more specific concerns, such as the need for fare reductions or route improvements. We need to stop wasting money on widening roads, and remind our elected representatives that spending more on public transport benefits everyone (even people who never use it) by helping reduce congestion.