Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Chermside - with empty car parking spaces!  Image: Nearmap
Since Westfield announced that they would start charging for use of their Chermside car park for more than three hours, a transport meltdown was seemingly inevitable. Westfield Chermside shopping centre's car park is/was used by hundreds of public transport users daily from Northern suburbs, who have little alternative but to use it as a park and ride, and then catch the multitude of frequent bus services into the CBD and Herston Hospital Campus (RBWH and RCH). This avoided paying extortionate costs for parking in these inner-city locations. However, as typical commuters parking at Chermside will now be slugged with a $20 parking fee, many of these commuters have had to find ways of getting around the parking fee. Continued use of Chermside's car park could increase the cost of commuting by $100 a week! This has not surprisingly resulted in suburban streets around Chermside becoming choc-a-block with cars early in the morning, with media reports of some homeowners being trapped in their driveways, and a nearby club having to hire security guards to keep commuters out. For those who cannot get parking, there have also been reports of Gympie/Lutwyche road being busier than usual in the am peak as more commuters are forced to drive to their destination instead. BrizCommuter has also heard reports of RBWH and RCH hospital car parks filling up earlier than usual, preventing out patients from being able to park in time for their appointments.

One of BrizCommuters work colleagues has had a torrid few days since "Chermsideaggedon". On the first attempt, she tried to park in the streets around Chermside, only to find out that so had everyone else. After wasting 30 minutes trying to find somewhere to park within walking distance of Chermside Bus Station, she gave up, and drove to Herston, only to find car parks there were also full. Eventually she found a location in a back street, 15 minutes walk from work where she arrived to work 80 minutes late! Attempt two involved using infrequent public transport from near to her Northern suburbs home. Unfortunately the bus allegedly failed to turn up, so she had to wait an hour for the next bus to Chermside. The bus from Chermside then became stuck in worse traffic than usual, resulting a slightly improved arrival at work only 75 minutes late.

So who is to blame? Many have justifiably accused Westfield of corporate greed by adding parking charges. It is well known that aside from the run up the Christmas, the car park at Chermside is rarely full during the Monday to Friday commuting week. So what is Westfield's problem with commuters? BrizCommuter is also pretty sure that Westfield would not have contributed to the entire cost of the extensive Chermside bus interchange next to the shopping centre! On the other hand, are Brisbane City Council, and the Queensland Government rather naive in expecting private companies to provide commuter park and ride facilities on their properties for free?  Also, the existing bus network fails to provide an attractive feeder network to the core high frequency routes, forcing commuters to drive to park and ride facilities.

So what can be done? Can politicians force Westfield to reverse their corporate greed? BrizCommuter thinks this is unlikely. Will people power do the same? BrizCommuter doubts this due to the typical Australian apathy? Will TransLink suddenly introduce a raft of frequent feeder buses, and alternative park and ride locations. Not likely, and certainly not in the short term. It seems that Northern Suburbs commuters and residents around Chermside have been well and truly screwed by a combination of Westfield, and poor political planning.


  1. I don't understand what the big problem with this is...where exactly on the Northside are people having problems commuting from?? What about driving to one of the train stations (Carseldine, Zillmere, Geebung etc)? Alternatively, the 330 is a fairly high frequency service during peak, and then you have the 345 BUZ, plus a multitude of other peak-only services. Seems like people are kicking up a stink because they are too lazy to do some investigation into alternative routes, or can't be bothered taking a little walk to their nearest bus stop. I just think it's a bit unfair to be blaming Translink, BCC or the Qld Govt in this instance.

    1. Peple who want take 330 and 345 can't find the parking spaces, and therefore they can't catch the bus. The problem here is BCC spent lots of money on busway which benefits Westfield, but now Westfield decide to charge for the parking makes the BCC like a fool.

  2. My particular concern is for the employees at the stores in Westfield. I've heard that there is an employee parking area, but what if their shift starts in the afternoon and there's not enough parking? I'm hoping that their employers and/or Westfield will compensate them for it.

  3. Chris Mayhew - BrizCommuter thinks that you don't quite understand the situation many commuters are in.
    1) Driving the Northside train stations is not the best option for those travelling to destinations on the Inner Northern Busway such as RBWH, RCH, and QUT Kelvin Grove.
    2) Many Northside commuters do not live near a frequent connecting bus route, nor a frequent direct to city bus route.
    3) If they drive to an alternative location, they would still likely be parking in a residential area (just moving the problem on), and would have less frequent buses than travelling from Chermside - longer journey times.

  4. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that there is a significant lack of feeder buses to the main trunk lines, and this is something that Translink needs to address with priority. However, for the time being, driving to a residential area near a frequent bus route is not that big of an issue. Chermside could only hold so many cars anyway...and yes it's more convenient to travel from there, but there are other temporary solutions.

  5. Re: INB destinations. More frequent 393s to/from Bowen Hills would be a solution to that particular problem!

  6. Train car parks fill early
    need multi story car parks instead of existing one levwl


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