by Toby Crockford
More than 900 bus services will be back on the road in south-east Queensland as patronage numbers are set to recover from the COVID-19 slump next month.
An extra 960 bus services and 105 train services, part of the state’s COVID-19 safe public transport plan, will create an extra 28,875 seats on trains and 28,800 seats on buses every week, starting on August 10.
There will be an extra 11 morning train services and 10 extra afternoon train services around the CBD. (File image)
There will be an extra 11 morning train services and 10 extra afternoon train services around the CBD. (File image)CREDIT:ROBERT SHAKESPEARE
According to Transport Minister Mark Bailey's office, there will be an extra 11 morning train services and 10 extra afternoon train services around the CBD.
Existing 30-minute gaps between trains will be cut to every 15 minutes on the Beenleigh, Caboolture, Cleveland, Ipswich, Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe and Springfield lines.
There will also be an extra 85 morning buses and 107 extra afternoon services around the CBD.
The extra trains will run on seven of the region's 12 lines, with commuter who use the Airport, Doomben, Ferny Grove, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast lines to miss out.
The additional services will be scheduled just outside peak times in the morning and afternoon, with the hope of spreading out passenger loads and helping commuters maintain social distancing.
Mr Bailey said public transport patronage had halved compared with the same time last year, but was expected to recover as university classes resumed and CBD offices reopened.
"Even with people making changes to their daily commute, we’re still seeing about 330,000 daily passenger trips on the network, as of last week," he said.
"We don’t expect those [patronage] 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.
"The plan is to roll out the extra buses until the end of the school year and then assess patronage levels."
Mr Bailey added that temporary hand sanitiser stations would be progressively rolled out at busy bus stops and all 152 train stations in the south-east region from August 10.
Rail Back on Track advocacy group spokesman Robert Dow said the announcement would help move commuters out of those peak travel times and into the "shoulder" timeslots either side.
"Generally at the moment there are enough services during the peak times in most cases, except where they [Queensland Rail] have identified an issue and fixed them with extra buses," he said.
"With trains, the problem has always been to move people out of the peak times, there has to be services there to use in the shoulder peak commute times.
"This [announcement] provides a few more travel options, we appreciate the extra services and believe it will give confidence to those travellers to get out of the peak periods.
"The only other thing is people should consider the option of wearing a mask on public transport - it is a common courtesy and particularly helps when you can't control social distancing."
A Queensland Rail spokesperson wrote on Twitter, in response to a complaint that there were no extra services for the Gold Coast, the extra services were rolled out where "operationally possible".
"Train availability and freight path requirements mean that additional services are not feasible for all lines, including the Gold Coast line," the post said.
The post about “Extra 1000 bus, train services to spread out commuters in COVID-19 recovery'" first appeared on the Brisbane Times website.
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