The peak body representing Queensland’s bus industry says figures showing a decline in commuters using buses are alarming and will only improve if fares become affordable.
Executive director of the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) David Tape said it is no use playing the ‘blame game’, and has called on all levels of government to get on with the job of attracting new commuters.
“To see any decline in patronage is extremely disappointing as it will only lead to greater road congestion, which is both economically and environmentally damaging to our state.”
Brisbane City Council’s 2014-15 figures show Council bus patronage dropped nearly 3 per cent equating to around 42,300 less passengers per week while across the entire network, including private services, bus usage dipped around 4.6 per cent.
Mr Tape believes affordable fares remain the key to getting people back on the buses. “If commuters can afford the fares, it will lead to more demand; more demand means more buses and frequency of services. This is the only viable way of unclogging our choked up, major transport arteries.”
“The State Government review into public transport fares is crucial. Queensland must come into line with other states when it comes to fare affordability.”
QBIC, which recently released its ‘Moving Queensland’ blueprint for the future, has also called for an expansion of the existing busways network in conjunction with dedicated bus lanes, increasing park ‘n ride capacity and better integration between different modes of transport.
Mr Tape said every bus takes up to 50 cars off the road, and unlike rail travel which has a long lead time before new services are created, bus routes are flexible and can meet changing demands and population centres.
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