Busway sends message

The opening of Brisbane’s Eastern Busway this week has sent a message to other states about sticking to long-term transport planning

Busway sends message
Busway sends message

By David Goeldner | August 30, 2011

Any chance of an extension to Brisbane’s Eastern Busway will hinge on a revision of the modelling of the proposed pathway beyond its current 1.5 km Phase 2 opening this week.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the next phase of the Eastern Busway is the second highest priority on the Infrastructure Australia funding list and that Queensland is working with the Commonwealth to bring it forward.

Bligh says she is committed to fighting for funds to complete the next phase of the busway and intends starting the project "whether or not we get the Commonwealth on board".

"The Eastern Busway will continue further east over the coming year as part of our south-east Queensland infrastructure plan," says Bligh.

Queensland Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says Infrastructure Australia has recognised that the Eastern Busway project is a high priority, along with Brisbane’s Cross River Rail which has been delayed for two years because of flood impacts.

"Infrastructure Australia has asked us to do more modelling work and to get back to them by the end of January, which is good news," Palaszczuk says.

"They want us to present our most up to date modelling projections by the end of January for the extension to Camp Hill."

Given that modelling for Phase 3 of the project was done a number of years ago ‘things have changed’ based on increased population in the area.

Built over the past three years, the Eastern Busway Phase 2 section cost $465 million and has been criticised as expensive, but talked up by the Palaszczuk as an essential piece of Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure.

"If you look at it over the last ten years we’ve spent close to $2 billion on building this network," she says.

"I think it’s a great investment because you are taking cars off the road but it also means these buses are almost on an express route into key destinations and key transit orientated development hubs."

Palaszczuk says the Eastern Busway opening sent a message that in Queensland and south-east Queensland the Labor Government had delivered ten years of world class busway network, which she believes is an example to every other capital city, and cities throughout the world.

"We have people from all around the world that come here to look at our busways," she says.

"With this one opening today – sure – it was in excess of $400 million but its $400 million connecting for the first time suburbs in the eastern parts of Brisbane."

Bligh says the Stones Corner bus station – the site of the recent busway launch – is a symbol of a modernising city.

She says Brisbane is a city that is growing and embracing public transport, and a symbol of her government’s commitment to make it easier to move around Brisbane through public transport and new busways.

"There is no other city in Australia and very few in the world that has a busway system anything like Brisbane now has," Bligh says.

"It’s been calculated that if person who travelled on a busway chose to get in their car instead, the south-east freeway would need to be nine lanes wider."

Bligh says the busiest section of the south-east busway, running parallel to the freeway, now carries more than 18,000 people into Brisbane CBD every peak hour every day.

"So public transport matters in a modern city, that’s why we want to get it right and that’s why we are investing in great community assets."

Bligh says the eastern busway infrastructure will change the way people move in the area and revitalise suburbs on its pathway.

Palaszczuk points to the Queensland Government’s South-East Queensland 2031 Vision Plan as the basis for driving the state’s infrastructure planning.

"This is something that Queensland is leading the way on that other states don’t have," she says.

"I think over time other states will start looking to Queensland, which they already are and say ‘hang on a minute’ we need an infrastructure plan as well."

Palaszczuk says southern states could learn from Queensland’s recent achievements in public transport delivery.

"With our busways each state needs to look at what is beneficial to their particular areas, but I think Sydney and Melbourne should give some thought to what we are doing here," she says.

"I think you need a good combination and that’s what we are getting – a good combination of busways, enhancing our rail network, adding more trains and buses, so we are keeping up with the growth of the south-east."

But there appears one chink in the infrastructure armour, revealed at the recent Eastern Busway launch, and that’s getting Brisbane’s powerful city council to make life easier for commuters to use the new busway extension’s ‘park n ride’ facility.

The ‘state of the art’ Stones Corner bus station has parking underneath its elevated platform set at just two hours, all but cancelling it as a useful all day commuter car park.

Bligh says it’s a Brisbane City Council issue.

Palaszczuk responded to the question saying the state government had doubled its commitment to provide park ‘n’ ride facilities across Queensland.

"With these new busways and with our new train lines we have got feeder connections with buses that are able to come in and meet those services," she says.

"Buses will be coming in to the Eastern busway as well."

Therefore, the answer is to catch a bus to get to the busway.

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