A network of bus rapid transitways (BRT) serviced by fully-electric Metro vehicles is the key to Brisbane’s public transport future, according to the city’s Lord Mayor.
Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner says incorporating transitways along existing road corridors was cheaper and far more effective than trying to build heavy railways through built-up Brisbane suburbs.
“Brisbane is Australia’s fastest growing capital city and that’s creating opportunities and challenges for our city,” he said.
“We need a proper transport plan to cater for our growth and all three levels of government will need to be involved.
“Bus rapid transit systems are being incorporated into growing cities around the world and Brisbane should do the same.”
Brisbane City Council is already delivering two Brisbane Metro lines connecting 18 stations between Eight Mile Plains and Roma Street, and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the University of Queensland.
“There is significant scope to expand Brisbane Metro services east to Capalaba, north to Chermside and out to Brisbane Airport in the future.”
However, Lord Mayor Schrinner warned that Council “could not carry all of the burden for expanding Brisbane Metro”.
“About 97% of all taxation revenue is collected by the State and Federal governments,” he said.
“Brisbane residents pay their fair share of tax so it’s about time our road and transport network received a fair share so local motorists and public transport commuters can get home sooner and safer.
“If these other levels of government don’t make significant financial investments – just like they’ve done repeatedly for Gold Coast Light Rail – further expansions of Brisbane Metro simply won’t happen.”
Turn-up-and-go Brisbane Metro services will start next year, reducing travel times and increasing capacity during peak times.
Metro vehicles and electric buses will be charged at a state-of-the-art depot currently under construction at Rochedale.
“The State Government first outlined a vision for 75-kilometres of dedicated busways 26 years ago – including east and north lines – but only about a third was ever built.”
“Fully separated busways probably aren’t viable through Brisbane anymore but proper BRTs can work.
“We’re already working with the State Government and Redland City Council to investigate extending Brisbane Metro services to transport hubs including Coorparoo, Carindale and Capalaba.
“Also, there’s great potential for an Airport Metro given the Airtrain isn’t practical or affordable for local travels as well as the 24,000 workers commuting to the ever-expanding airport precinct every day.”
However, the Lord Mayor says construction of the proposed Gympie Road Bypass Tunnel between Kedron and Carseldine was the only way an at-surface bus rapid transitway would work through Brisbane’s north.
“Queensland Investment Corporation is currently looking at our proposal for this tunnel and I am very confident it will stack up,” he said.
“A proper transitway along Gympie Road could be delivered in a package deal with this tunnel, just like the Northern Busway was delivered with Airport Link.
“However, without this tunnel, it is unlikely we will ever see Brisbane Metros travel along Gympie Road to Chermside.”
He said bus rapid transitways had significant potential to spark suburban renewal.
“There’s great potential to incorporate stations into new precincts along the route.”
“For example, both Coorparoo Square and Carindale were built to incorporate buses and modern stations along these routes would be great places for mixed-used retail and housing developments.”