Budget disappoints QBIC

QBIC is looking hard for bus growth funding from this week’s state budget – but can’t find any

Budget disappoints QBIC
Budget disappoints QBIC

By David Goeldner | June 16, 2011

The Queensland Bus Industry Council’s analysis of this week’s state budget has failed to find any new growth funding for bus services.

QBIC Executive Director David Tape says the budget clearly commits to the continuation of infrastructure projects.

"Even with the Minister’s announcement of $1.8 billion for a ‘better transport future’ a lot of this surrounds infrastructure – park ‘n’ rides, finishing off bus stations and busways," Tape says.

"It’s a bit disappointing that there’s obviously a commitment for infrastructure, but I can’t find any detail on what percentage of that $1.8 billion is for growth in bus services."

Tape believes there should be funding allocated to increase the number of vehicles (buses) that can transit through completed infrastructure projects.

"The overall transport budget seems to be fairly rail-centric in regards to rolling stock for QR, and there is detail on that, but there is no detail in regards to how many more buses they are going to put on the road for increased frequency," he says.

Tape says QBIC’s position is that frequency drives patronage.

"If the Government wants more people out of cars and onto buses and trains where is the detail for what they are doing for bus?

"And there doesn’t appear to be anything of increased bus feeder services to trains."

Tape says the lack of funding for growth was one of several reasons to initiate QBIC’s inaugural ‘Action Plan’ in April.

"The bus industry goes cap in hand to Treasury every year for funding for the next year," he says.

"Part of QBIC’s Action plan is to ask for a commitment to a ten year financial plan, rather go back every year on behalf of the operator to either get funding or not get funding."

But it’s not all doom and gloom, with school bus operators receiving consideration from Treasurer Andrew Fraser’s 2011-12 budget.

"One pleasing thing in this year’s budget is the continuation of the program to upgrade vehicles for the school bus fleet," Tape says.

"The school bus program in regards to upgrading buses is still going ahead."

Tape says getting more modern and safer buses on the road for school kids is welcomed by QBIC.

"I’ve got no argument with that and I support it 100 percent," he says.

"The Queensland Government has invested $20 million (in the program) so far and that investment will continue."

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