Massive spend on Brisbane public transport

By: Graham Gardiner

A new rapid transit bus service to rival light rail will be launched in Brisbane’s CBD next year as part

A new rapid transit bus service to rival light rail will be launched in Brisbane’s CBD next year as part of Lord Mayor Campbell Newman’s $164 million public transport investment in 2009/10.

Dubbed the ‘City Glider’, the service will link West End, South Brisbane, the CBD, Fortitude Valley and Newstead, helping reduce vehicle congestion in the inner-city.

The glider, which will be formally launched next year, is part of a $100 million-plus investment in all forms of public and active transport, such as buses, hire bikes and ferries.

Highlights include:
  • 125 new buses - $59 million
  • Land for two new bus depots (north and south) - $49 million
  • New cycleways - $33 million
  • Two new CityCat ferries to bring the fleet size to 16 CityCats - $6 million
  • New bike hire scheme for Brisbane - $1.6 million.

Delivering his 2009-10 Budget today, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the City Glider route will initially be serviced by distinctively painted existing rigid and articulated buses, before those vehicles were replaced by large buses.

The service will initially cost $4.5 million and be introduced around the time of the opening of the CLEM7 tunnel, from Woolloongabba to Bowen Hills.

"Our study found that we could provide this City Glider service at a fraction of the cost of light rail," he says. "Our aim is to move people quickly and safely."

The record bus funding is in response to a jump in bus patronage from 48 million a year at the 2004 election, to 72 million in 2009 – largely due to Council’s policy of providing brand-new, air-conditioned, environmentally-friendly buses.

During 13 years of Labor, bus patronage increased from 44 million to 48 million.

The Lord Mayor says the CityCat fleet will have doubled in size to 16 ferries in six years.

The CityCycle bike hire scheme will open in 2010, and eventually grow to 150 bike stations between Newstead and the University of Queensland.

Council will spend $5 million to improve cycle safety, such as cyclist priority ‘jumps’ at traffic signals, bicycle awareness zones and cycle lanes.

"The CityCycle bike hire scheme will eventually add 2000 bikes to our inner-city roads so we need to make sure the city is ready for them," the Lord Mayor says.

"We’ve already reduced the speed limit in the CBD to 40km/h. The additional record public transport funding should get a great deal of cars off the road."

More than $14.5 million will be spent connecting and expanding the bikeway network this year.

A vital 300m missing link in the RiverWalk at Cutters Landing will cost $2.6 million.

More end-of-trip facilities, including bicycle racks and parking shelters, will be rolled out across the city while $1.2 million will be spent over four years to improve bikeway safety signage, including distance markers.

And for the first time ever, Brisbane City Council will have a $2 million Cycling and Pedestrian Blackspots Program.

"This will help us address problems as they arise to make the network safer," Newman says.

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