Brisbane bus fares would be cut in half and certain services after midnight would be free under a new proposal from the Labor opposition ahead of the looming council election.
- The Labor opposition at Brisbane City Council has proposed to halve the cost of bus fares
- The Greens have also unveiled a proposal to lower speed limits in the CBD to 30kph
- Brisbane City Council voters will head to the polls on March 16 to elect their lord mayor and councillors
Labor’s lord mayoral candidate Tracey Price has announced a raft of new transport policies, including a $1 billion investment in road infrastructure over the next year.
In a move that Labor says could save commuters about $1,000 per year, zone one and zone two bus fares, which include all of Brisbane, would be reduced by 50 per cent over the next four years.
The policy would cost $110 million per year to implement and the half-price discount would apply to all fare types, including concession tickets.
Under Labor’s proposal, fare boxes on Nightlink buses from the CBD and Fortitude Valley would be switched off between midnight and 5am in a bid to make night-time travel safer and more affordable.
Ms Price is also pledging to establish a suburban congestion task force which would be given 100 days to identify projects that address road safety and congestion.
The party says it would spend more than $1 billion on road infrastructure over the next year if it wins the election.
Labor says the money has already been set aside in the forward estimates of the council budget.
It has also committed to finishing off the existing Brisbane Metro project.
“With rising cost of living challenges, residents also want to be able to save money, as well as time,” Ms Price said.
“Our plan is ambitious, but also realistic. It’s about getting back to the basics and really thinking about what the city needs as our population grows.
“People should be able to get around the city safely and affordably.”
LNP transport civic cabinet chair Ryan Murphy suggested Labor’s plan meant there could be no future expansions on the Brisbane Metro beyond the existing lines which are due to open in 2024.
He also hit out at Labor’s proposal to halve the price of bus fares.
“We don’t agree that it’s Brisbane ratepayers’ job to subsidise the state government on fares,” Mr Murphy said.
“It will mean Brisbane ratepayers will be shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars every year for residents in other council areas … to drive into Brisbane, and to catch Brisbane buses and crowd Brisbane buses because fares will be much cheaper in Brisbane than they will in the rest of South East Queensland.”
Brisbane voters will head to the polls on March 16 to determine their lord mayor for the next four years, as well as the make-up of the 26-seat council chamber.
Brisbane City Council is Australia’s largest local government with a population of about 1.3 million residents.
The incumbent LNP Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is running for re-election.
Greens announce new speed limit plan
The Greens have also unveiled a new policy today to reduce speed limits to 30 kilometres per hour across much of the CBD between Adelaide Street, North Quay, Alice Street, Eagle Street, and Creek Street.
The speed limit is currently set at 40kph in the CBD.
The party is also pushing for a “green spine” to be introduced within the city centre, with Albert Street closed to cars from Turbot Street through to Alice Street near the Botanic Gardens.
Cars would still be allowed to pass through Albert Street on Elizabeth, Charlotte, Mary, Margaret, and Alice Streets.
Greens lord mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan suggested slower speed limits would create a “safer and more pleasant environment” for pedestrians and cyclists.
“It’s not efficient nor is it sustainable to have high volumes of cars roaring right through the middle of the city,” Mr Sriranganathan said.
“I would say that … most motorists in the city usually can’t get above 30kph anyway during peak periods. There are so many lights, and so many intersections, and so much congestion.
“Honestly, lowering the speed limit to 30kph — probably most motorists would barely notice it.”
According to Brisbane City Council’s website, proposed speed limit changes can only go ahead after a review and endorsement by a speed management committee.
The committee is made up of representatives from the council, the Queensland Police Service, and the state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads.