Robert Dow talks about how public transport will look in a Future Ipswich.
Robert Dow talks about how public transport will look in a Future Ipswich.

Autonomous buses part of Ipswich's urgent transport fix

A FATHER desperate to spend more time with his young family has joined forces with a passionate transport advocate to demand better infrastructure for Ipswich's commuting residents.

Drivers already spend about a week in traffic each year travelling to and from work in Brisbane, RACQ analysis shows.

The ribbon of roads snaking across the region will be clogged with cars by 2030.

With several of the city's roads already over-capacity, something must be done to facilitate the 553,000 people who will call the region home in a little more than one decade.

Rail Back on Track group spokesman Robert Dow and young dad Daniel Peterson want something done to plan and improve commuting.

Mr Dow believes people stay away from public transport due to poor affordability, coverage, accessibility and frequency.

"Poor frequency a real disincentive," he said.

"Imagine if you're home with a car and you can only leave every hour?

"I think that's one of the real problems with the public transport system, the frequency is not good enough."

Mr Dow said Translink and Ipswich City Council could create a smaller, "almost on demand" bus service.

"They need the big route buses but they also need mid-sized buses to get people from the suburbs to the station and places of interest," he said.

"It will get people out of cars."

Each day Mr Peterson gets in his car at Springfield Lakes for the drive into Brisbane.

In only a few years the plumber noticed the growing number of motorists around him.

"The Western Freeway and Ipswich Rd is very busy," he said.

"The Centenary Highway in the afternoon trying to get out of the city is crazy."

It takes Mr Peterson about 45 minutes to get home.

"Obviously you have some nightmare runs too," he laughed.

When a bus crashed on the Western Freeway near Moggill Rd last month it took the father of two three hours to get home.

"One accident on the motorway and it shuts down," he said.

"A decent accident on Ipswich Rd will slow everything.

"It takes time away from the family.

"It makes it hard to get home for netball and little athletics and those sort of things."

Mr Peterson has a simple message for politicians failing to fix the bottlenecks on his way to and from work.

"Just do it," he said.

"Take some responsibility.

"Don't govern for four years, govern for the future."

Mr Peterson wants to use public transport but said the Springfield train did not leave early enough to get him into the city before his shift starts.

"If you start at 6am or earlier the public transport from Springfield isn't an option," he said.

Mr Dow believes a more community-friendly transport option can be created in new suburbs.

"It's a secondary local transport between ride share and route buses," he said.

"Station buses we call it."

Dozens of buses crawling around tight suburb streets every 15 minutes will get people out of cars, Mr Dow says.

"I see those vehicles being electric buses and maybe, in time, autonomous," he said.

"I've always felt Springfield would be a very good area to introduce local community buses."

While the buses would be a short-term fix, the larger transport infrastructure projects must be started now.

Mr Dow knows the diggers urgently need to roll-on to begin the extension of the Springfield rail line to Ripley.

"The extension of the railway through to Ripley and eventually to Ipswich is a part of the overall public transport picture," he said.

The council has asked for $750,000 for a project business case from the State and Federal Governments.

The state has not responded to the cash call but previously said its priority was Cross River Rail.

Better paths and an ability for people to access public transport is an improvement Mr Dow also says must be made.

"We need to make sure footpaths and things are set up so people can use mobility devices and scooters can access the network," he said.

Mr Dow said all levels of government needed to change tac when it came to public transport.

"What has been the traditional approach is build it and do transport last," he said.

"They need to factor in what they're going to do and create real public transport options, not add it as an afterthought. "It's not good enough."