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Lord Mayor announces Suburbs 2 City Buslink

06 December, 2011

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has announced plans for a Suburbs 2 City Buslink from South Brisbane to Fortitude Valley through the CBD that could save commuters up to 30 minutes off a journey.

The 3.6 kilometre Suburbs 2 City Buslink would include a bus-only bridge across the Brisbane River and separate buses from other traffic and link up with the existing underground network.

Civic Cabinet yesterday gave approval to undertake a $2m feasibility study into the Suburbs 2 City Buslink to ensure Brisbane can cope with the daily number of CBD bus passengers expected to more than double from 87,000 to 192,000 during the next 20 years.

Cr Quirk said without any new CBD bus infrastructure, between 300 and 400 bus services during the inbound peak hour could be forced to terminate their journey at the city fringe.

“I am committed to the economic development of Brisbane as a key hub in the Asia Pacific region with CBD jobs forecast to rise by 90,000 in the next 20 years,” he said.

“To accommodate this growth and enable us to bring the workforce into the city we need to improve public transport and maintain the liveability of this great city.

“In the coming years busways, bus stations and CBD streets will reach capacity causing traffic congestion, unreliable travel times and safety issues.

“We need to address traffic congestion which costs Brisbane businesses and residents about $1.3 billion per year.

“An improvement to the public transport network will mean shorter travel times for people and less time commuting to work or school creating a better work life balance.”

Cr Quirk said the Suburbs 2 City Buslink would allow bus services from all areas across Brisbane to experience travel time savings.

“Buses could travel between South Brisbane and Fortitude Valley in just 11 minutes and avoid 13 sets of traffic lights,” he said.

“Passengers travelling to and from southern suburbs could save 28 minutes on their journey, the eastern suburbs could save 23 minutes, the northern suburbs could save 21 minutes and the western suburbs could save 15 minutes.

“The Suburbs 2 City Buslink will reduce congestion on surface roads by taking 8,000 buses off CBD streets per day and help create a cleaner, greener CBD.”

Cr Quirk said while his Administration was putting 500 new buses on the road in four years, the bottlenecks were only going to get bigger without any new busway infrastructure.

“I will continue to put money into new buses but the bottlenecks for buses will only get bigger in the future – like they have with the rail network,” he said.

“While the State Government is planning the Cross River Rail project, it is an $8 billion project and most believe it is a pipedream because of its cost. Also it will not address Brisbane’s bus needs.

“The queues in the busway tunnel will continue to grow from South Bank to Mater Hill station and then to Woolloongabba creating complete gridlock with buses unable to enter the CBD. During the outbound peak we are already seeing buses queuing on the Victoria Bridge with nowhere to go.”

Cr Quirk said the feasibility study would investigate the best alignment but early investigations suggested the proposed Suburbs 2 City Buslink could come off the existing South-East Busway at South Brisbane and continue under Melbourne Street.

From there it would cross the river continue under Adelaide Street linking to the existing busway network and join in on-street at Wickham and Ann Streets.

Cr Quirk said the feasibility study would commence by the end of the year and take approximately 18 months to complete.

“Council cannot fund this project and nor is it our responsibility – this is a State Government responsibility - but I know that this infrastructure is needed and as a city government, I think we should be prepared to contribute towards it to help make it happen but this would need to be negotiated through,” he said.

“I won’t sit on my hands and do nothing – I’m committed to start the planning now so we can present a professional business case to the State and Federal Governments for funding.

“Regardless of who becomes Premier next year, Brisbane needs a detailed proposal to enter into negotiations with the State and Federal Governments for a future funding agreement.”

Cr Quirk said Legacy Way was the city’s current large infrastructure project that was due for completion in late 2014 and expected to halve peak hour travel time from the Centenary Bridge to the ICB.

“I have regularly said that a major upgrade of Kingsford Smith Drive is this city’s next major transport infrastructure project following Legacy Way,” he said.

“We have completed Stage One and we will undertake Stage Two over the next few years.

“We have done the detailed planning and gone to the community with some different options for Stage Three but are yet to secure the necessary funding contribution from Federal Government to proceed.

“It’s now time to start planning for this city’s next major project to tackle traffic congestion.”

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