SEQ patronage jump points to strong signs in economic recovery 

Published Sunday, 07 February, 2021 at 11:45 AM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey

South east Queensland has recorded the most trips on public transport in a single day since the first COVID measures were introduced in March last year, showing strong signs in the state’s economic recovery. 

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said more than 460,000 trips were taken on buses, trains, trams and ferries throughout the south east corner on Wednesday, February 3 – just 27 per cent below the same time last year. 

It comes after patronage fell by as much as 80 per cent in 2020 as Queenslanders stayed home and helped to manage the health impacts of the pandemic. 

“Unlike places in the US, Europe and UK, here in Queensland people are returning to the workplace and school because we’ve been strong and swift in our response to COVID-19,” Mr Bailey said. 

“The same strong response to COVID-19 that has enabled the Palaszczuk Government to deliver a $50 billion infrastructure guarantee, which in turn is creating jobs that Queenslanders are using public transport to get to. 

“We’ve ramped up cleaning of vehicles and stations, we’ve introduced cashless payment where possible and added more services during the pandemic to accommodate social distancing – and the continued rebound in patronage shows confidence in the measures we’re taking. 

Increased hygiene measures on public transport were introduced last year in response to COVID-19 and also included: 

  • Increased cleaning and sanitisation of vehicles, stations and touch points 
  • Hand sanitiser at all train stations and at major Busway stations 
  • Rear-door boarding on selected bus services where practical 
  • Scheduling larger vehicles on busier routes in peak periods. 

An additional 105 train services were also introduced and made permanent, while hundreds of additional bus services were added to the network. 

“We’ve since added a service capacity tracker on the TransLink website which gives commuters an idea on whether there are seats available on their bus, tram, train or ferry – or whether they might want to take the next service just a few minutes later.

Mr Bailey said with commuters returning to the network, the Palaszczuk Government would continue its investment in transport infrastructure including major projects like the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail, $550 million Sunshine Coast rail upgrade, $709 million Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3 and statewide smart ticketing system. 

“Before COVID hit, we were on-track for a third record year of public transport patronage, and we want to make sure that as more people get on board, we have the infrastructure in place to accommodate that growth while also creating those much needed jobs in industries like construction. 

“It’s why we’re investing a record $26.9 billion in roads and transport across the state over the next four years, supporting 23,600 jobs." 

Mr Bailey urged commuters to remember to play their part by doing things like keeping up social distancing where possible, to bring a mask to wear if social distancing wasn't possible, and regularly washing their hands or using hand sanitiser. 

“Public transport staff and operators have done an excellent job in keeping services running throughout the pandemic and making sure that it’s as COVID-safe as possible, but we need everyone to play their role.” 

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Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078