Monday, September 10, 2012

SEQ Bus Network Review - Public Consultation Fail

The SEQ Bus Network Review is now in the first stage of public consultation, having just finished bus operator consultation. A survey to complete is on TransLink's website (until Sept 23rd) - link below:

There is little question that SE Queensland, and in particular Brisbane requires a total re-design of it's bus network. Reasons and potential solutions include (in no particular order):
  • Multiple legacy bus routes, including some dating back to tramway abolition in the 1960s - total review of bus routes. 
  • CBD bus stop confusion - aggregate CBD stop locations for each transport corridor.
  • Limited SE Busway vehicle capacity (particularly through Cultural Centre) - move to trunk and feeder network design.
  • Overcrowding - concentrate improvements to where demand outstrips supply and there is considerable latent demand.
  • Low patronage routes - one for the transport experts, as decent population coverage is still required. Consider using more fuel efficient mini/midi-buses. 
  • Brisbane Transport (owned by Brisbane City Council) inefficiency - privatise Brisbane Transport?

BrizCommuter has serious concerns that instead of the required total bus network re-design, we may just see a half-baked and short-sighted review of bus routes. Reasons for this thinking include:
  • Lack of funding and resources for large change processes at TransLink after job slashing by the LNP government.
  • Lack of decent train frequency (due to poor infrastructure, lack of funding, QR inefficiency and operational laziness) to allow rail network to act as part of the trunk network. 
  • High fares that are making public transport extremely unattractive are not being taken into account as one of the causes of low patronage. 
  • Lack of consultation with non and ex-public transport users.
  • Poor consultation with existing bus users - see below.

So how does the survey fare? Sadly, as to be expected from TransLink, it is an epic fail. The survey only asks about "your most used bus route" instead of all buses used. Most questions provide information that TransLink can obtain from go-card data anyway. Whilst there is a free text box at the end for comments, the survey is next to useless to allow TransLink to learn about how and why people use or don't use particular bus routes. Questions on the acceptability of bus route frequency, service hours, journey time, and alternative transport modes are completely missing. It appears to be a very shoddy attempt at making it look like TransLink are consulting public transport users. BrizCommuter is very concerned about where this review is heading!

For anyone who wants further reading on how to re-design a bus network by an expert - the blog linked below is an interesting read:


  1. Big things on the way for Auckland:

    Will we see a similar level of concern for non-CBD travel in the SEQ shale-up?

  2. Time for the traveling (and voting) public to turn up the heat on the state government for a complete overhaul the system. The busways work reasonably well until you hit the third-world set-up at the cultural centre. An absolute disgrace.

    Lots of meandering "City via Blackall" routes which are good for nothing except maintaining full employment for the bus drivers.

    The isolated northern busway segment under Lutwyche seems set to remain an extremely expensive white elephant for many years to come. The money could have been better used to remedy the appalling chaos at the Cultural Centre.

    Standard of customer service by the bus drivers in Brisbane is generally very good, both from BT and the private outfits. However, the fares are very high for the shorter journeys and go-card will rob you at every available opportunity if you don't take care when touching off.

  3. Do you know what the actual engagement and consultation processes were, there is limited resources stating exactly what they were?


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