Saturday, March 4, 2017

Quirky Metro - Common Sense Prevails!

Artists impression
BrizCommuter and Rail Back on Track have been very vocal in being against Brisbane City Council's ludicrous Brisbane Metro Subway System proposal, which was an ill-thought out election promise. In a pleasantly surprising move, Brisbane City Council have seen the light, and dumped the disruptive idea of converting the inner busway into a rubber-tyred metro system. Yes, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, and Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner have finally seem some common sense! Before we move into the replacement plan for the Brisbane Metro - what was wrong with the original plan?
  • Busway congestion could have been resolved by an almost $0 bus network reform, instead of spending $1.5b+ (more realistically $3b) on a totally unnecessary Metro system. 
  • It would have increased journey times, as passengers would have to change from bus to metro at Wooloongabba and Herston to access Brisbane's CBD.
  • It went against Graham Quirk's excuse for lack of bus network reform of providing one seat journeys. 
  • It had lower capacity than the existing busway.
  • It did not serve RBWH, PA Hospital, and UQ, three major trip generators on the busway network. In fact it annoyingly stops just one stop short of both RBWH and PA Hospitals.
  • Important parts of the design, such as the interchange design  had not been properly considered.
  • It did not provide any new journey opportunities, unlike the urgently required Cross River Rail CRR). 
  • It provided political distraction from the urgently required CRR.
  • It did not solve Brisbane's rail capacity issues, unlike CRR.
So what is in the far more sensible Brisbane Metro Mk2, which is now a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. 
  • Brisbane Metro will use bi-artic (long bendy) buses instead of rubber-tyred metro, massively reducing the cost of the changes to infrastructure (now $1b), and allowing both the "Metro" and existing high frequency bus routes to continue using the busway. 
  • Two high frequency bus routes with bi-artic buses - Eight Mile Plains to Roma Street (current route 111), and UQ to RBWH (current route 66) every 3 minutes. 
  • Serves large trip generators outside of Brisbane's CBD including RBWH, PA Hospital, Mater and Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, UQ, QUT Kelvin Grove, and Garden City Shopping Centre. 
  • Claimed capacity of 22,000 passengers per hour - higher than existing busway (note: BrizCommuter is yet to verify this claim).   
  • Fleet of 60 bi-artic buses - hybrid or battery powered electric.
  • New underground bus station at Cultural Centre to avoid congestion.  
  • Victoria Bridge will be green - buses, bikes, and pedestrians only.
  • Brisbane Metro will free up existing buses for feeder services and better coverage.
  • Integrates well with CRR, as interchange will be provided at Roma Street and Boggo Road.
  • Complements CRR, rather than being a rival project. 
  • Considerably less impact during construction. 
Bi-artic electric bus   Source: Busworld
Some of BrizCommuter's thoughts on this:
  • BrizCommuter hopes that this brings about sensible bus network reform, with mainly high frequency trunk routes serving the CBD, and "local" routes acting as a feeder to the high frequency network. 
  • Most of the exiting BUZ routes still need to serve the busway, in particular the routes to Chermside and Carindale. 
  • BrizCommuter hopes to see more high frequency bus routes, serving more of Brisbane including Northern Suburbs, Centenary Suburbs, and the Prince Charles Hospital. 
  • BrizCommuter hopes that politicians won't play silly buggers with bus reform like last time. Yes, some people will loose out, but the majority of passengers across Brisbane should be better off. 
  • As the state government owns the busway infrastructure, BrizCommuter hopes that they are fully supportive of the changes around Cultural Centre.
  • Will Brisbane City Council put some of the savings from Brisbane Metro towards Cross River Rail?
  • As these buses will have all-door boarding, how will go card touch on/off work? Onboard or on platform?
BrizCommuter is happily stunned that Brisbane politicians have finally made a sensible decision. 


  1. I was so happy at hearing of Brisbane metro being proposed. Then I read that it is just a longer bus?!? Wtf!

    We should take examples from Melbourne and learn from it. We will never become an international city with just buses as primary public transport.

    Buses fail now because
    A) everybody wants to be paid insane amounts and labour keeps going up.
    B) fuel/gas prices go up
    C) capacity.

    This plan solves C but only short term. A little of A and B.

    Nothing beats dedicated trains and its the best way for a growing city. This will still have traffic congestion sharing with normal buses.

    This stinks of Turnbull rolling out FTTN instead of FTTP because he thinks short term and wants to get it done quicker and cheaper but fails to realise that long term its going to be more expensive and will need to be upgraded.

  2. In the case of Brisbane, the new Bus Rapid Transit version of the Brisbane Metro is sensible. To convert the whole busway to Light Rail or Metro would be massively disruptive, very expensive, and provide little capacity increase compared to new plans. The new plan also allows for the bi-arctics and normal buses to run on the same infrastructure. Electric charging and battery technology may eliminate the need for diesel or gas power.

    Of course, Brisbane also needs Cross River Rail so as to allow increases in rail capacity on some lines, construction of the Beaudesert/Flagstone Line, and serve more of Brisbane's central area.

    1. Case in point the Gold Coast "light rail" (read tram) which I heard was the most expensive public transport per KM in the world when built. On top of that many businesses along the route closed during construction. Instead of building complete sub-sections they constructed the entire length of phase 1 at once, leading to massively congested Gold Coast Highway (essentially inaccessible) for a very prolonged period. Many businesses are gone for good and the Gold Coast is just recovering now. I would suggest that BrizCommuter is right, that it is not only sensible, but far more cost effective and less disruptive.

  3. Interestingly the BCC was refusing to call them busses. They actually said they are not busses but long multi articulated wheeled vehicles. Maybe they don't know what an omnibus (bus) is? They also said that although similar vehicles operated around the world, they would likely be custom made.

    So... I can see a needlessly bespoke high cost new named vehicle. I hope I'm wrong because this could be a cheap yet very effective system.

    1. They are most definitely buses - just long, bendy ones.

  4. is it normal for Virginia depot to lie about a service that left 5 mins early (and say it left exactly on time, when I was there 3-4mins early and saw it a block away ?

  5. Given that it was due to depart at 8:05pm, I arrived about 8:02-8:03, had time to walk to central station, call translink (and sit through their 'options' crap) speak with a person who somehow couldnt help me, had to hang up having given them ALL the details of early departing bus, and because it was 8:11pm by then and I had to get the 8:13 train, they somehow didnt investigate this when I called a few days later. you'd imagine that even though i didn't leave my name/number they'd be investigating this anyway.

  6. If you've got any savings there mr Quirk, then it's definitely worth ploughing some savings for Queensland's much needed piece of underground rail infrastructure through the CBD!


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