Public transport use in Queensland’s south east has hit record levels for the second year in a row, ahead of major projects like the Palaszczuk Government’s Cross River Rail and $371 million smart ticketing system coming online.
Close to 190 million trips taken were on south east buses, trains, trams and ferries in 2018/19 - seven million more than the previous year.
On the week of 430 new train services hitting the track, Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the 3.7 per cent increase was driven in large part by Queenslanders returning to rail and an extraordinary spike in popularity of Gold Coast’s light rail.
“When we introduced Fairer Fares in 2016, we brought the costs of public transport down more than 11 per cent, and since then commuters have been embracing public transport to get around the south east,” Mr Bailey said.
Rail patronage hit 55 million, growing 4.3 per cent, while bus trips grew 3.2 per cent with 117 million commuters getting on board.
“After some very dark years of public transport mismanagement under the LNP, we’re seeing Queenslanders steadily coming back to rail.
“Late last year we upgraded 193 services from three-car trains to six-car trains, adding an additional 46,000 seats per week.
“This week, Queensland Rail will start 430 new weekly train services and upgraded 59 more three-car trains, adding 200,000 seats for commuters.”
Light rail exceeded the overall growth figure, with patronage increasing by 13.24 per cent, or 1.26 million, from 9.49 million trips to 10.74 million trips.
Mr Bailey said it was more reason for the Federal LNP to stump up its fair share for stage 3A of G:Link.
“Here we have Australia’s sixth largest city moving with their feet on light rail, and it’s time the Federal LNP got serious about a fair funding offer.
Mr Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government would continue to support public transport in Queensland as part of the $23 billion Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program over the next four years.
“We know that for every person taking public transport, it means less cars on our roads, benefitting everyone.
“From Coolangatta to Cairns, we’re now delivering a $371 million smart ticketing system that means all Queenslanders and those visiting our state will be able to use their smartphone, smartwatch, credit card or debit to easily catch public transport.
“Building on the Redcliffe Peninsula Line and Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2, we’re delivering the Cross River Rail project, backing more frequent and reliable public transport for Queenslanders.
The 10.2km Cross River Rail project will deliver a new rail line from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills together with four new underground stations unlocking new opportunities for a turn-up-and-go transport system for the whole of South East Queensland.
“Together with our fares initiative, which has saved Queenslanders more than $178 million, we’re embarking on major public transport projects to make sure Queenslanders can continue to work, home and where they want by bus, train, ferry or tram.
“Investing in public transport means investing in how Queenslanders to work, and creating jobs. Cross River Rail alone will support up to 7,700 jobs and add to the 207,000 jobs created under the Palaszczuk Government since 2015.”
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey