Mayor calls for a fix to dismal public transport in Moreton Bay

Published 10 July 2024

Congested street in Morayfield with bus in the distance

City of Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery has called on the State to fund more public transport across the city suggesting increased services and bus rapid transport systems could be the solution.

The Hills District was named one of the worst for public transport in the Climate Council report released this week, Next Stop Suburbia: Making Shared Transport Work for Everyone in Aussie Cities.

“We know public transport in our City has not kept pace with demand, so it is refreshing to see this called out,” Mayor Flannery said. “The Climate Council identifies our Hills District as having the worst availability of frequent public transport and a suburb that deserves immediate attention.

“I’d welcome a serious look at the rest of City of Moreton Bay, where we know that only 3% of resident’s trips are made by rail and an even worse, 2% by bus.

“This is unsustainable with congestion choking roads and the City of Moreton already supporting rapid population growth on top of the State’s demands in their Shaping SEQ 2023 Regional Plan. “It is therefore concerning to us that the State’s current plans are devoid of any meaningful public transport planning.

“On the back of the 2023 Global Traffic Scorecard also released this month that identifies Brisbane’s traffic congestion as the 12th worst in the world out of more than 900 cities across 37 countries, we are calling on the State to plan ahead to ensure City of Moreton Bay does not go the same way.

“Provision of bus services and infrastructure to support a rapid bus transport system would connect key growth corridors with major employment, shopping centre and transport hubs including train stations to help connectivity.

“As the operator of public transport in Moreton Bay the State needs to factor this into planning for new roads - it’s just a non-negotiable - especially those roads connecting our growth areas such as Waraba.

“While Brisbane has State funding for the Brisbane Metro and bus network, and the Gold Coast has the light rail, City of Moreton Bay has received nothing for commuter transport to alleviate car use and ensure better connectivity between our city hubs.

“We commissioned a report to look at State investment in Moreton Bay and on a per capita basis, Moreton Bay is consistently one of the lowest funded South East Queensland councils.

“We’ve been told the demand is not there for our public transport, but that was measured years ago and with limited services, why would people bother. We need to create that demand with reliable public transport services in the first place, especially in the lead up to the Olympics 2032."

“Council is working hard to ensure active transport planning is prioritised for new growth areas, and improved where possible, but the State Government via Translink also have a role to play and they need to give us a chance.

Mayor Flannery said the City was ready for a possible influx of commuters parking at train stations with the introduction of the 50-cent fare trial in August.

“We appreciate this cost-of-living support for local families, that will cut regular travel costs on average from Petrie to the City by more than $8 each way and will no doubt increase patronage, with over 52,000 of our residents travelling into Brisbane to work each day by car.

“Residents should rest assured Council has plans in place for parking at rail stations when this initiative is introduced and will be monitoring the impact.

“Public transport is key to our polycentric city vision as we increase local employment opportunities and shorten resident’s journey to work. With numerous city hubs, we need to open up key routes that enable reliable services to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

“We are the third largest Council in Australia with an expected population of one million people in less than 30 years and right now the routes are years old without a reset, the frequency is dismal, and our rapid population growth has not taken into account.

“We need to make it easy for people to commute using public transport. This is the most environmentally and economically sustainable approach to ensure City of Moreton Bay’s liveability.