9 October 2009 Free buses to ease parking and traffic woes
Sunshine Coast Council is pushing ahead with plans to provide a new free holiday bus service to ease congestion and parking problems during the busiest time of the year.
The proposed service would follow route 600 from Caloundra to Mooloolaba, terminating at Sunshine Plaza, and run from Boxing Day until January 3.
The concept has won strong support from local business and tourism groups, who say traffic gridlock around some holiday hot spots during the Christmas-New Year period must be addressed.
Mayor Bob Abbot said the free bus service would offer a genuine and accessible alternative to private vehicles for both locals and visitors.
"The key to convincing people to leave the car at home and use public transport is to provide options that are affordable, reliable and efficient," Cr Abbot.
"Offering a free service between some of the most popular beachside destinations during peak holiday times is a practical way to ease parking and congestion problems in these areas.
"We know it won't completely solve the problem but it is a start and we hope it will also encourage new passengers to consider public transport as an option all year round."
Council's Integrated Transport Portfolio spokeswoman Vivien Griffin said the free bus service would be funded from the new Public Transport levy implemented this financial year.
Cr Griffin said it would provide a stress-free, airconditioned option for residents and visitors heading to the beach or Sunshine Plaza.
She said the service was only one element of council's overall sustainable transport strategy and further initiatives to deliver year-round improvements were in the pipeline.
"The Sunshine Coast is growing but putting more and more private vehicles on our roads is not sustainable," she said.
"It would inevitably mean bumper to bumper traffic in many parts of the Coast all year round and that would have a significant impact on our lifestyle.
"This council is determined to improve public transport and this free bus service is a simple but effective measure to reduce traffic around Mooloolaba in the Christmas-New Year period.
"We need the approval of Translink to make the bus happen, but we are working solidly to have them understand our particular peak tourism transport needs and we are confident they will ultimately support the service."