Climate Council Report Reveals Brisbane’s Public Transport Accessibility Issues

A new report by the Climate Council has analysed public transport systems in Australia’s major cities, with findings indicating that Brisbane faces significant challenges in providing widespread access to frequent services.

Read: Wacol-Built Electric, HVO Trucks Spearhead QFES’s Green Transport Push

The report, Next Stop Suburbia: Making Shared Transport Work for Everyone in Aussie Cities, reveals a stark reality for suburban dwellers, particularly those in areas like Riverhills.

Riverhills, located approximately 19 kilometres southwest of Brisbane’s CBD, has been specifically named as one of the areas with the poorest access to public transport. This revelation comes as part of a broader finding that about two-thirds of residents in the greater Brisbane region lack access to frequent, all-day public transport services.

A bus stop at Horizon Drive at Riverhills (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The situation in Riverhills exemplifies a wider problem across Brisbane and other Australian capitals. According to the report, a staggering 66.4 percent of Brisbane residents miss out on all-day, frequent services.

This figure is the highest among major Australian cities, followed by Perth (59.5 percent), Adelaide (52.4 percent), Melbourne (47.5 percent), and Sydney (32.8 percent).

For Riverhills residents, this lack of reliable public transport translates to increased dependence on private vehicles, contributing to higher living costs and increased pollution.

Climate Council
Photo credit: Google Street View

According to the report, the majority of Brisbane residents living beyond an 8-kilometre radius from the city centre experience a significant decline in access to reliable and frequent public transport options.

Climate Council councillor Greg Bourne highlighted that the infrequency of services is a major deterrent for potential public transport users. The organisation advocates for services to run at least every 15 minutes between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m, and to be within 800 metres of every home in Australia’s capital cities – a far cry from the current situation in some suburbs.

Read: RACQ Report Reveals Centenary Motorway Slower than School Zone Speeds During Peak Hours

In response to these findings, Queensland’s Transport Minister Bart Mellish defended the state government’s record, claiming unprecedented investment in public and active transport. He promised ongoing collaboration with Brisbane City Council to enhance bus services, particularly for those living far from ferry stops or train stations.

The Climate Council’s report serves as a stark reminder of the work that lies ahead in creating equitable, accessible public transport systems that truly serve all urban dwellers, not just those close to the CBD.

Published 12-July-2024

Mt Ommaney’s Wealth to Blame for Public Transport Woes?

Richer suburbs tend to have weaker public transport and Mount Ommaney is a perfect example.

Public transport experts have established that suburbs perceived to be richer tend to have insufficient public transport systems. Robert Dow, administrator for lobby group Rail Back On Track, told Domain Group that mass transit is weaker in richer suburbs because a huge number of residents own cars.

“I think they said: These people are rich, they’ve got cars, why should we be giving them public transport,” Mr Dow told Domain.

This holds true for suburbs like Mount Ommaney, which is among the inner to middle ring suburbs suffering from the worst access to public transport to CBD. Other inner and middle ring suburbs that ranked lowest include Bulimba, Yeronga, McDowall, Riverhills, Middle Park and Albany Creek.

According to data from TransLink Journey Planner, it takes 45 minutes to travel a distance of around 12.7 km from Mount Ommaney to Brisbane CBD.

Read: With Travel Time from Bulimba to CBD Ranked Among the Worst, Locals Revive Calls for Bridges to Teneriffe and Hamilton

Public Transport Not a Real Estate Factor

A common factor among the seven suburbs with unsatisfactory mass transit is the high cost of houses. Mt Ommaney has a median price of $800,500, while Bulimba median price is at just a little over $1 million. Mr Dow also pointed out that these suburbs do not have good access to trains and their bus networks are poorly structured.

Despite the lack of public transport, real estate agents say that residents and buyers are generally not bothered. Real estate in these areas is still in high demand even without the public transport.

Many people in wealthier suburbs own cars, so their main concern is focused on roads and infrastructure for private vehicles.

Mr Dow believes that public transport connectivity needs to be improved in the inner and middle ring suburbs. He believes that a stronger mass transit network is needed to future-proof these suburbs in case of demographic changes. “We think every demographic group needs public transport,” he said.