Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Hospital Transport Meltdown

Lady Cilento Children's Hospital - Car Park Full!
In November 2014, the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital opened. This replaced the adjacent Mater Children's Hospital and Royal Children's Hospital in Herston. One of the supposed advantages of it's location near Brisbane's South Bank was that it is close to "world class" (sic) public transport systems. Mater Hill busway station is almost opposite, and South bank train station is a 5 to 10 minute walk. Driving to the hospital's location is horrendous, the Mater Health Services (note: not Queensland Health) run parking is disgustingly expensive, but yet the hospital's car park is often full before 9am, causing massive problems for staff and patients alike.

So if driving and parking is so bad, why are staff and patients continuing to avoid public transport?
  • Public transport for parents, patients, and visitors is too expensive - a 4 zone return fare (peak inbound, off-peak outbound) for Mum, Dad, and little Jonny with his broken arm is $23.57, more expensive than Mater Health Services' extortionate parking fees ($22 for 2 to 3 hours). 
  • Public transport for staff is too expensive - a 3 zone return fare (peak inbound and outbound) is at $9.32, more expensive than staff parking ($9/day)!
  • Even during the peak, the majority of Brisbane's population is not served by high frequency public transport. This was not helped by Brisbane City Council's rejection of TransLink's bus network review which would have improved this situation considerably. 
  • For anyone working outside of 8am to 5pm shifts, even less of Brisbane is served by half-decent public transport. Thus most hospital shift workers with early starts, late finishes, and weekend shifts have infrequent or non-existent public transport options. Queensland Rail's recent tendency to close trains lines in the evening for track repairs doesn't help either. 
  • ...and finally, who wants to bring sick kids to hospital on public transport. 
Given the above, it is no surprise that unless Brisbane's public transport system is made cheaper, and has more of the population covered by high-frequency services, than staff, parents, and visitors will continue to drive to hospital instead of using public transport. It also looks like Mater Health Services will continue to profiteer from public patients misfortunes. 

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