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Campaign to get Brisbane back on board

15 November, 2011

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk today launched a major campaign to get people back on board public transport in a bid to counter dwindling passenger numbers caused by the State Government’s fare hikes.

The Lord Mayor said Brisbane’s public transport options were much more comfortable and reliable than 10 years ago thanks to his team’s massive investment in building 500 new buses this term and taking the CityCat fleet from 11 to 19 by 2012.

The Lord Mayor has budgeted $456 million for public transport this year alone.

He said it was therefore more important than ever that Brisbane residents and visitors realised the benefits of catching public transport, particularly in the wake of new figures showing Brisbane bus patronage had fallen every month this new financial year on the back of State Government fare hikes.

“Putting a record number of new buses and ferries into service has not only meant more seats and faster services but it’s also seen 99 per cent of our bus fleet air-conditioned and 85 per cent now offering wheel-chair access,” Cr Quirk said.

“As a result Brisbane’s buses are now much more comfortable and reliable than the infamous rickety old fleet Labor were running ten years ago, which could only be relied upon to break down.

“But with the State Government’s decision to hike fares up 15 per cent every year until 2014 driving people off public transport it’s never been more important for people to be informed of these benefits.

“That’s why today I am launching a new campaign reminding people of the benefits of catching public transport in Brisbane.”

The Lord Mayor said that while Council did not have the power to reduce public transport prices, he felt compelled to try and encourage Brisbane residents to “Get on Board Brisbane”.

“For months I’ve been calling on the State Government to cap public transport fares to CPI and bring back the daily travel ticket to stop this rot, but unfortunately it has fallen on deaf ears,” Cr Quirk said.

“Governments need to be encouraging people to catch public transport to help reduce congestion and pollution, not making it so expensive that it’s cheaper to drive a car.

“Council is limited in what it can do to ease the cost of public transport, particularly when the State Government receives all fare revenue, but at the same time I don’t feel like I can stand by and let passenger numbers continue to slide, which is why we’re embarking on this campaign.”

The Lord Mayor said the $80,000 campaign would run for three weeks from November 21 across a range of mediums, including print, radio and advertisements on over 100 buses.

“I’m certainly conscious of the cost however I want to make sure ratepayers are getting the best value for the $456 million we’ve budgeted for public transport this year,” Cr Quirk said.

It was revealed this morning that the number of people catching Brisbane buses had fallen every month this financial year (2011/12) - the first time in over a decade.

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