No quick fix to get locals back on public transport

RACQ has called for a long-term plan and targeted incentives to get more Queenslanders back on to public transport in the south-east.

The Courier Mail reported a month of free public transport had been proposed for CBD workers to help revitalise city businesses smashed by the COVID-19 crisis as commuters worked from home and tourist and student numbers dropped.

Club spokesperson Lauren Ritchie said patronage on public transport was down by more than 50 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Measures will be needed over years, to incentivise commuters back on to public transport and minimise congestion,” Ms Ritchie said.

“There’s no quick fix when it comes to reinstating our public transport habits after such a tumultuous time.

“A recent survey by RACQ found some travellers indicated they’d use less public transport when we return to normal and would cut back by three days per week on average.

“More than 57 percent of those people said they were concerned about social distancing, health or germs and 34 percent said they were worried about availability of public transport and seating due to distancing.”

Ms Ritchie said despite TransLink adding more services to allow social distancing and additional cleaning, with COVID-19 still circulating in Queensland, the community may still not be ready to get back on public transport in large numbers.

“Community wellbeing needs to come first and foremost when it comes to decisions about incentivising people back on to public transport,” she said.

“But, things like parking availability also need to be assessed. A higher demand for parking than before COVID-19 means there may be a return to driving which isn’t ideal for congestion.

“Initiatives should be developed to encourage commuters back on to public transport services over time.”