Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why does the CityGlider wear a crash helmet?

2nd most expensive buses in world!
Why does the CityGlider wear a crash helmet? Because it is banging it's head against a brick wall over the Queensland Government and TransLink's fare policies.

BrizCommuter has recently received a few emails asking about bus fare comparisons. As the 2012 World Fare Comparison showed that only Oslo and London are more expensive for a 5km train service, BrizCommuter decided to only compare Brisbane with bus fares in these two cities. In most cities bus fares are either the same as train fares or less. There are a few examples where buses are more expensive than trains, such as Los Angeles and NYC express buses, but these generally serve outer-suburban areas and are thus still generally cheaper than Brisbane's zonal fares.

Fares in this comparison are for 2km, 5km and 10km journeys using the cheapest available peak single fare. Again, multi-trip tickets are counted, but weekly or season tickets are not. Fares and exchange rates are as of 2nd January 2012.

2km - $3.05
5km - $3.58
10km - $4.24

2km - $2.05
5km - $2.05
10km - $2.05

2km - $4.42
5km - $4.42
10km - $4.42 (just within next zone border where price doubles!)

London has considerably cheaper bus fares than Brisbane. In fact a 10km journey is more than double the price in Brisbane than in London! If you only use buses in London you cannot spend more than $6.37 in one day as the fares are capped. This is cheaper than a 2 zone return journey in Brisbane - ouch! (BrizCommuter apologises for excessive exclamation mark use). Despite the relatively low cost of travel, London has an excellent high frequency bus network, with most bus routes served at least every 15 mins (and in some cases every 2 minutes). Journey times however aren't great due to London's notoriously slow traffic.

Oslo has the same fare structure for buses as for trains. Thus it is still more expensive than Brisbane, although Oslo has cheaper season ticket options that are unavailable in Brisbane. In fact, taking ten journeys with a 7-day ticket in Oslo results in a fare per journey of $3.59, only 1c higher than a 2 zone single peak journey in Brisbane. A quick look on Oslo's real time bus information system shows that buses appear to be very frequent even in suburban housing estates approximately 10km from the CBD. Similar suburban locations in Brisbane away from arterial roads may not even get an hourly daytime bus. However, if you live near a busway or major arterial road served by multiple or high frequency bus routes, then the bus service in Brisbane can sometimes be very good. Brisbane's poor urban planning does not help with the provision of efficient bus routes in suburbia.

It can be concluded that Brisbane is likely to have the world's second most expensive bus system to use after Oslo. For 9-5 workers travelling in three zone (e.g CBD to Chermside or Griffith University) Brisbane may even have the world's most expensive bus system. Can you now understand why the CityGlider is wearing crash helmet?

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