105 train services will be added to the South East Queensland (SEQ) public transport network on weekdays from August 10, to support safe travel.
The train services are in addition to almost 1,000 extra bus services as the state welcomes commuters back to public transport.
“We have no community transmission here and active cases are in single digits, so our buses, trains, trams and ferries are safe,” said Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
Patronage is down on the network by about 50 per cent compared to the same time last year, however the state is expecting an increase with universities reopening and office workers returning to the CBD. Currently about 330,000 trips are made a day on the public transport network.
“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,” said Bailey.
“This boost to morning and afternoon peak services will add almost 58,000 extra seats on buses and trains.”
While the increase in bus services are a trial, the extra train services will be permanent across seven lines. Services will run every 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon on the Beenleigh, Caboolture, Cleveland, Ipswich, Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe, and Springfrield lines.
Queensland is still encouraging passengers to spread their commute where possible outside of the peaks and as part of its COVID-19 Safe Public Transport Plan is installing hand sanitiser stations at all train stations.
The Queensland government has been encouraging passengers to use active transport and public transport as part of the “Reboot your commute” campaign, however Robert Dow from RAIL Back on Track said that active and public transport in South East Queensland remained low by international standards.
“RAIL Back On Track calls on the major political parties and the RACQ to stop proposing ‘congestion busting’ urban freeway projects in the upcoming Queensland election and instead announce major significant public transport and supporting active transport investment,” said Dow.
Dow listed 16 initiatives across SEQ, including some such as the Beerburrum to Nambour and Salisbury to Beaudesert commuter rail upgrades which have been languishing for 10 years or more.