The LNPs new public transport plan

By: Chris Smith

The Liberal National Party (LNP) claim South-east Queensland rail commuters will have a cleaner, faster, safer and more reliable trip

The Liberal National Party (LNP) claim South-east Queensland rail commuters will have a cleaner, faster, safer and more reliable trip to and from work under an innovative public transport strategy.

The LNP has pledged to spend $414 million over four years under the "Building Better Public Transport Policy" to provide:

  • Free travel for rail commuters touching off with go cards in the Brisbane CBD (Zone One) between 6 AM and 7 AM and for rail commuters touching on in Zone One between 6 PM and 7 PM;
  • New trailer cars to be added to six-car train sets, providing at
    least 100 additional passengers per train;
  • An upgrade of the train management and safety system to cut the
    gap between trains from three minutes to as little as one minute;
  • A massive boost to park and ride facilities, with at least 3000
    new car parks at train stations in outer Brisbane suburbs and along the
    Gold Coast, Ipswich and Sunshine Coast routes, over and above what is
    already being developed; and
  • Improved security at train stations, with additional cameras,
    alarms and security lights installed, as well as six additional staff to
    monitor cameras and liaise with police and rail security staff.

The new policy is also calling for free early bird travel for rail commuters.

LNP Leader Lawrence Springborg says there had been a 40 percent surge in public transport use in the past four years and there was an urgent need to address overcrowding, particularly during peak periods.

"Commuters catching public transport ease the pressure on our heavily congested roads and we need to ensure passengers' trips are as safe and comfortable as possible," he says.

"Commuters don't want to be crammed in like sardines as they make their way to or from work. That's why the LNP will provide incentives to commuters who travel earlier or later to help flatten the peak periods, spread the passenger load and ensure trains can be used more than once
every peak."

Shadow Transport Minister Fiona Simpson says the timing of the free travel was designed to encourage city workers to split voluntarily into two shifts and gave commuters an option to change their working hours to either earlier or later starts.

"The LNP's free travel plan will apply to 38 existing train services and by linking the program to go card use, we can ensure the free train facility is used one way only," she says.

"The plan will also benefit commuters travelling outside the early and later peak hours by freeing up space on trains, ensuring a more comfortable journey."

The free travel initiative would start in 2010-11 once other train capacity boosting initiatives take effect, and is expected to cost $33.7 million a year.

Springborg says the LNP would replace the existing train management and safety system with the continuous Automatic Train Protection System at a cost of $250 million over three years.

"The ATP system provides a continuous flow of information to control the braking and spacing of trains, to improve safety and reduce headway between trains on the network," he says.

"Effectively, this new safety system means the gap between trains could be cut from three minutes to as little as one minute, allowing more efficient use of the Citytrain network.

"This allows more flexibility and capacity on the existing network because as the gaps between traps are reduced there are more slots for trains."

Simpson says the State Government has a long list of orders for new six-car train sets, made up of four powered cars and two trailer cars, to be delivered over the next eight years.

"The LNP will move to amend these orders so that trailer cars are manufactured and delivered first so they can be added to six-car sets already in service," she says

"By prioritising trailer cars, 78 existing sets can be converted to seven car sets, which can carry about 100 additional passengers - a ten percent increase in existing capacity."

Simpson says even car sets will service existing platforms with their first and last doors locked with in-cab signal displays installed.

"This is an interim measure and as trailer car orders are filled and powered cars are supplied, loaned trailer cars can be returned to their permanently assigned sets."

The readjustment of these orders is expected to cost $5 million.

Springborg says more and more commuters are driving to and parking their cars at train stations, but in many stations throughout the network, there just wasn't the space for cars to park.

"This creates frustration not just for commuters but also for residents living near train stations who can find their streets clogged with cars," he says.

"An LNP State Government will spend $50 million over four years to provide for at least 3000 car parks at park and ride facilities at train stations in outer suburbs, along with increased feeder buses at stations closer to the city.

"A full audit of parking spaces around train stations would be conducted to determine what unused land is available at station precincts, what nearby housing blocks could be purchased and what underutilised car parking land could be sold off."

Simpson says the LNP will also provide an additional $7.5 million over three years to upgrade security at train stations.

"A State Government survey in 2006 found only 40 percent of commuters felt safe on public transport so clearly more needs to be done to improve security and commuters' perceptions about safety on trains," he says.

"The LNP's $7.5 million pledge will help pay for additional security cameras, alarms and security lights. It also provides for six additional staff and resources to monitor cameras and liaise with police and rail security staff."

Springborg says rail overcrowding is a serious problem and sometimes serious problems require radical solutions.

"South-east Queenslanders are sick of unreliable, dirty, crowded trains. They deserve better and that's what the LNP's policy will deliver," he says.

"One of the true strengths of this public transport policy is that it doesn't taken 10 years to take effect, we could start implementing this immediately upon the election of an LNP Government.

"The LNP's public transport policy is also Canberra proof, we don't need to go cap in hand to Kevin Rudd to get this policy moving."

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