Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times.
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times.

Extra bus and train services announced

THE STATE Government will introduce extra bus and train services over the next month in an attempt to support social distancing measures on local transport.

The latest phase of the Palaszczuk Government's COVID-19 Safe Public Transport Plan will put an extra 960 buses and 105 trains into service between Monday and Friday, from 10 August, across the South East.

Existing 30 minute gaps between train services will be filled to provide services every 15 minutes on the Beenleigh, Caboolture, Cleveland, Ipswich, Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe and Springfield lines

Hand sanitiser will also be provided to commuters at busy train and bus stations under the plan.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said public transport patronage was down about 50 per cent compared to the same time last year, but numbers were expected to climb as university classes resumed and CBD offices reopened.

"We have no community transmission here and active cases are in single digits, so our buses, trains, trams and ferries are safe," Mr Bailey said.

"We don't expect those numbers to immediately climb back to where they were before COVID-19 arrived but we still want to spread passengers out as much as we can, and these extra services will help do that.

Queensland Rail train in the Ipswich CBD. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Queensland Rail train in the Ipswich CBD. Picture: Cordell Richardson

"This boost to morning and afternoon peak services will add almost 58,000 extra seats on buses and trains.

"The plan is to roll out the extra buses until the end of the school year and then assess patronage levels.

"If the demand is there, we will consider if these bus services should become permanent for the longer term.

"The good news for train commuters is the 21 weekly services we're adding will become permanent additions to the timetable across seven lines."

Mr Bailey said the latest phase of the COVID-19 Safe Public Transport Plan aimed to give commuters more options and greater peace of mind on public transport.

He said temporary hand sanitiser stations located at entry and exit points would be progressively rolled out at busy bus stops and all 152 train stations in south east Queensland from 10 August.

"We're also continuing rear boarding on buses where possible and keeping payments cashless in SEQ to minimise contact between passengers and drivers.

"Commuters have done an excellent job following the health advice, using common sense and social distancing where practical, and we need everyone to keep it up.

"As more passengers return to public transport, we're asking everyone to leave a gap, keep it clean by following health advice and adjust your travel to avoid travelling in peak periods if possible."