Advocate calls for reform to bus services in growth areas

MORE frequent buses in the growth hotspot of Ripley and an "urgent" fix for muddled services in Springfield Central are desperately needed, according to one public transport advocate.

Rail Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow believed the introduction of the first bus service to connect the nearby Greater Flagstone Priority Development Area to the wider public transport network, highlighted the need for more buses to be provided for booming areas.

The 535 service, just like the 531 service connecting Ripley to Springfield Central, will only run from Monday to Friday when it launches next month.

Mr Dow said it wasn't good enough these services weren't running on weekends and commuters had to deal with two- hour service gaps out of peak, believing buses every hour should be the very minimum expectation.

"We're increasingly a seven day a week society," he said.

"The annoying thing about the 531 is that it does connect at Yamanto with the 515 bus which is a seven day a week bus service which runs fairly frequently. At the other end there is the connection to the railway at Springfield Central which is a seven day a week operation as well.

"We think it's a missed opportunity. There's a lot of people who want to use public transport on weekends but at the moment they can't at Ripley. We think it will be a good initiative for the community and a sign of confidence they are going to be supported for public transport as Ripley develops and the demand increases (by adding more frequent services).

"The patronage for the first year wasn't stellar, it was only about 9000 since about February... we think it can be a lot higher than that if a little bit more attention is put into improving the service."

Mr Dow said there was an "urgent need" for a reform of the bus lines servicing Springfield Central, as people were deterred from using buses as missed connections piled up and the park and ride facility was always filled up.

Parking at Richlands station instead was becoming more difficult as it too had become "parked out".

The 522 service was noted as a particular problem, which Mr Dow understood to be the route with the most complaints in the western bus region.

"We're hopeful that there might be some bus improvements at Springfield Central next year," he said. "It's obviously been a problem since 2014. We're now approaching the end of 2019. We think it's way past the time that there needs to be some thought put into improving the feeder buses, particularly around Springfield Central.

"We're hopeful they'll do something with the 522 and perhaps look at modifications to improve other routes, or perhaps bring in new routes to make it easier for people to get to the station so they won't have to drive and deal with that pretty severe park and ride problem.

"Inner Brisbane has high frequency bus services seven days a week, we think it is not unreasonable for outer regions to have at least a low frequency bus service seven days a week."

A TransLink spokesperson said current demand on the 531 service "does not support" the introduction of weekend services but a review is currently being undertaken on the Springfield bus network, focused on Springfield Central, investigating potential changes to improve services.