Public transport push amid startling figures

RACQ has renewed calls for the Queensland Government to improve public transport efficiency and review fare structures, after it was revealed the number of journeys on buses and trains was still only at 70 percent compared to pre-COVID levels.

The Brisbane Times reported Infrastructure Australia research found more than 13 percent of Brisbane residents surveyed said they planned to use their private vehicles more than before COVID and six percent planned to buy a car.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said the Club’s own research found those who said they would catch public transport less indicated, on average, it would be about three days fewer per week.

“Commuters told us they had real worries about COVID-19 and the transmission of germs, as well as the availability of seating with social distancing. A notable proportion also said they did not need to travel as regularly,” Dr Michael said.

“With so many people now changing the way they live, work and travel, we need to make sure public transport is meeting the new needs of commuters to get them back on board the bus, train and ferry and reducing traffic congestion.

If we had one aligned organisation governing our public transport, we could more easily reform the system and deliver more reliable and connected services to help encourage commuters back.

“We’re also calling on politicians to commit to delivering connected and safe cycling routes on all State road upgrades to get more people cycling to and from the city.”

Dr Michael said it was pleasing additional public transport services introduced during the pandemic would continue into next year.

“Most of the extra bus and train services will be here to stay in 2021,” she said.

“It would be traffic chaos if everyone was driving into work, so anything we can do to encourage people back on to public transport is a good thing.”