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TransLink Missing the Bus on Patronage

11 March, 2010

Six out of 10 of Brisbane’s most congested bus routes involve services that start on the city’s outer suburbs, latest figures have revealed.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman today challenged TransLink to fix the problem of buses that were funded by Brisbane ratepayers being filled by people from out of town.

Brisbane’s most congested bus route in November last year was the 333 which ran from Chermside to the CBD, but was filled 140 times before it reached Lutwyche.

The Lord Mayor said it was a “disgrace” that Brisbane ratepayers paid $384 per rateable property to fund a bus service, but could not find a seat on their own buses.

“Brisbane is in a ridiculous situation where our ratepayers paid about $160 million last year for a bus network that was being used by people from other towns and cities that do not pay anything,” he said.

“Ironically the people paying the most rates in Brisbane – those towards the inner city – are least likely to get a seat on the bus fleet they are funding.”

Brisbane’s second worst bus route was the 130 from Browns Plains which had 130 recorded incidents of being full, mostly by the time it hit Runcorn, about 17kms from the CBD.

The third worst route from Drewvale, near Browns Plains, had 113 incidents of being full, mostly by the time it hit Sunnybank, about 15 kms from the CBD. Browns Plains figured twice in the top 10 worst routes.

The Lord Mayor said Council’s own investigations had found that BCC buses were being filled at Browns Plains by people from Logan and the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast ratepayers pay just $79 per rateable property for its bus fleet, compared to Brisbane’s $384 per rateable property. Moreton and Ipswich Councils pay zero.

“We have a ridiculous situation where Brisbane ratepayers fund these buses but the moment the rubber hits the road it is Translink which tells them where to drive,” Cr Newman said.

“And clearly Translink is using our buses to service people from out of town. That is why the State Government wants us to paint all of our buses in TransLink colours, because it is apparently confusing travellers from outside Brisbane.”

The Lord Mayor said TransLink was also trying to erode the pay and working conditions of Brisbane bus drivers, who are funded and trained by Brisbane ratepayers.

However Brisbane was the only bus company that had open and accountable reporting procedures, whereby funding, subsidies and facts and figures were freely available by RTI (FOI).

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