Saturday, January 23, 2016

Brisbane City Council - incompetence experts?

Brisbane City Council's (BCC) bus network (run by subsidiary Brisbane Transport) is infamous for being one of the worst designed and most inefficient in western civilisation. Why?
  • Multiple bus routes with minor variations of different stopping patterns on the same transport corridors, often with confusingly different stops through the CBD (see screen shot below).
  • Too many bus routes (many infrequent, and mainly carrying air) serving the CBD, causing Busway congestion.
  • Many transport corridors and suburbs lacking high frequency bus services (e.g. Old Northern Road, Centenary Suburbs).
  • Bus routes compete with train services, and rarely connect or feed train services (or even other bus services).
  • Severe overcrowding on some routes, often not resolved for years.
  • Too many routes, too confusing, lack of decent bus route information. 
  • Some bus routes still the same as the tram routes they replaced (just less frequent).
  • Too expensive - due to the high inefficiency.

TransLink redesigned the bus network in 2013, which was a huge step in making the bus network more efficient, with more high frequency coverage, and easier to use. Unfortunately BCC were obstructive, and TransLink's changes did not progress. Thus BCC just cut some bus routes instead. Whilst other cities such as Hobart, Auckland, and Houston have recently had successful bus network redesigns, Brisbane is still a languishing inefficient mess. This is due to LNP "Team Quirk" being in denial that the bus network is broken. 

With a council election looming, there are a few "vote grabbing" changes to the bus network. However, just when you didn't think Brisbane's bus network could get worse, four more shining examples of incompetence have been announced:
  • Routes P426, 431, 466, P455, P456 to be routes via Legacy Way tunnel - faster journey times to work - tick, access to Herston and QUT Kelvin Grove busway stations for work or uni - tick. So whats the problem? What the same journeys home in the evening? Due to incompetence of BCC and successive ALP and LNP governments, no link was created between Legacy Way and Inner Northern Busway. Thus this useful re-routing of these bus routes only occurs in the inbound direction, adding even more confusion to BCC's bus network. On the way home, its back to getting stuck in traffic on Milton Road, with no stops at QUT or Herston. 
  • Route P332 - has been extended to run from it's current Chermside to CBD route to run from Zillmere to UQ. This is due to some route 330 and 66 buses being overcrowded. This a rather bizarre decision that has create a very long and thus likely to be unreliable bus route. Why not just make the 330 and 66 more frequent? Or extend and divert the currently semi-useless route 77 to UQ? Or even create high-frequency rail feeder bus routes for Zillmere and Bracken Ridge? The routing of the P332 through the CBD means that it takes nearly 10 minutes longer to get from RBWH to UQ than the route 66 it is meant to relieve! 
  • Route 475 - is being increased from hourly to half-hourly. Funnily enough, BCC reduced it from half-hourly to hourly in 2013. Doh!
  • Route 238 - trial "bandaid" route 238 which is a rail and CityCat feeder bus service serving Hawthorne, Bulimba, Morningside, and Cannon Hill is step on the right direction and designed to reduce congestion on Wynnum Rd. However its restriction to a short 68(ish) minute part of the am and pm peak hours makes it pretty useless for many potential users. Get out of work late, you might find yourself stranded in Hawthorne! 
Whilst we are yet to hear from (the LNP) Team Quirk for council election policies, you can bet that bus reform probably will not be one of them. The ALP are also flashing around and ill though out tram system. What Brisbane urgently requires is:
1) Bus network reform - at no extra cost, Brisbane can have a much easier to use bus network, with better high-frequency coverage.
2) Support for Cross River Rail - for more CBD station coverage, and increased capacity on many Queensland Rail lines.


  1. Hi Briz,
    None of those four points seem to be negative. Yes, could be done better but fixing the 77 would only help for those actually going to UQ. One thing is concerning though - is enough being done to educate the commuters that they can use the P331 service as well as the 330?

    A lot of things are being missed but why whinge about positive moves? The most criminal thing being missed is fixing up the Melbourne St portal intersection which sees West End bound buses holding up South Bank bound and vice versa.

    Be nice if they could draw a link with saving costs on the buses by speeding them up (such as with bus lanes) and reducing the fares. I think that is somewhat unlikely though.

  2. If there is to be no review, at least they could turn a heap of hourly routes in to half-hourly at worst. IE 346,353,357,359,310,325,335. Leaving them hourly and giving another route BUZ/15mins is shocking.

  3. Perhaps you rail people need to understand a bit more about buses! Adding the 332 will take pressure off loadings early in the trip for people taking the trip between Zillmere and Chermside. Feeding rail services?? To go where? Maybe rail should feed bus services! The 66 already runs at a 10 minute frequency and the 332 will also take pressure off all the highly successful UQ services (from a patronage point of view) utilising the Green (Dutton Park) Bridge. Perhaps you should look at patronage figures for these services to see what great planning achieves without having to transfer from one full bus to a full train or another full bus as proposed by the Translink review.

  4. Hi Tractor, sorry Mr Quirk - the 66 actually runs every 5 mins in peak during uni time, though guess what, bus routes can run more frequently than that, or even have higher capacity buses with all door loading. Unfortunately, authorities in Brisbane seem to have a fear of these options. More routes = more confusion, and less efficiency.

  5. I really don't think we're going to see much improvement here in Brisbane unless they execute a solution which overhauls the entire system!


All comments are reviewed before being published, and it may take a few days for comments to appear. If comments do not add to the conversation, or are just plain stupid, they will not be published.