19 Feb 2020

Brisbane's buses braced for student boom as semester starts

Brisbane's university students are being urged to use public transport in the coming semester, even as month-by-month figures show just how crowded some of the key university buses can be.

Head of TransLink Matthew Longland said full-time university students should ensure they have the student concession approved on their adult Go Cards allowing them to travel on a 50 per cent discount.

"Students took more than 30 million trips last year on more than 156,000 tertiary concession-approved Go Cards," he said.

Mr Longland said a two-year trial of more services to and from the University of Queensland, which hosts more than 53,000 students alone, had reported a 50 per cent reduction on full standing loads on route 412.

A 'full standing load' means a bus cannot take any more passengers and may have to skip stops.

The trial, which Transport Minister Mark Bailey announced in August last year, added 30 additional services on route 402 to tackle overcrowding on the buses travelling between Toowong and UQ Chancellors Place.

"This has improved service frequency of the 402 and 412 between Toowong and UQ Chancellors Place during peak times to a service every three minutes, and increased daily capacity by 1890 passengers between Toowong and UQ Chancellors Place," Mr Longland said.

Data from Brisbane City Council, which operates the buses under agreement with TransLink, shows how university bus routes, including route 66 between UQ Lakes and the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital in Bowen Hills, spike to multiple full standing loads during semesters.

In October last year, route 66 reported 204 full standing load trips; in November that dropped to 75 full standing load trips, and in December just 23.

Route 66 consistently comes in at number one of the top 10 bus routes for full standing loads during the year.

"Bus route 66 is one of our highest patronised services and a key route for students - running every five minutes on weekdays during peak times to UQ at St Lucia and QUT at Kelvin Grove, with a number of other services providing connections to universities across the state," Mr Longland said.

In October, route 412 - the Queensland Uni Cityxpress - reported 105 full standing trips, dropping to 73 in November and 19 in December.

Council's Blue CityGlider, the route 60 between West End Ferry and Teneriffe, leapt to the top of the most packed-out routes in November and December last year with 83 and 52 full standing loads respectively.

Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said the council's planned $944 million Brisbane Metro would service both UQ and QUT with services every three minutes in peak hour.

"Council is also expanding the capacity on the popular Blue CityGlider, Route 60, and has funded 18 new high-capacity buses that will accommodate a further 40 passengers on each service of this popular route," he said.

"The first vehicle is expected to go into service in May and the remaining 17 to be rolled out throughout the year."

SOURCE ; https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/brisbane-s-buses-brace-for-student-boom-as-semester-starts-20200217-p541gx.html

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