Australia, Bus Industry News

Queensland TMR explains bus replacement program rollout

Queensland Transport and Main Roads department has exclusively revealed the system for operating its 200 new diesel rail replacement buses

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has clarified how the 200 rail replacement buses ordered by the government will operate.

Last week, the Queensland government announced the first of 200 new diesel replacement buses have rolled off the manufacturing line at bodybuilder Volgren’s Eagle Farm facility.

The $130 million investment will see a new ownership agreement, with the buses built and handed to the state government and then deployed during track works for major rail projects such as the Cross River Rail and the Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail.

ABC reached out to the TMR department, asking how the new ownership system will look and how the buses will be run by the government and Queensland operators.

“Demand for rail replacement bus services will increase in the years ahead due to the Queensland government’s pipeline of major rail infrastructure projects and multiple train station upgrades, which will require track closures,” a TMR department spokesperson told ABC.

“The Queensland government’s program to manufacture 200 buses will help ensure the state’s rail replacement fleet has sufficient capacity to meet this increased demand and to keep customers moving during the track closures.”

Currently, TMR says it works with its contracted bus operators to source rail replacement buses. While it admits operators do their best to help, TMR says there can be “some logistical challenges” in sourcing a sufficient number of buses to run rail replacement services on top of the operator’s scheduled timetable services.

TMR says the new arrangement will mean it owns the buses and can deploy them through multiple local operators more flexibly across South-East Queensland.

“Operators will continue to employ the bus drivers and lease agreements for the vehicles will be in place between operators and the government,” the spokesperson says.

“The order of 200 rail replacement buses by the Queensland government is helping to sustain the local bus manufacturing industry while the Queensland government continues its transition to a zero-emission fleet.”

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