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I will be the first to admit that I am not the greatest of public transport people, but living with someone who does not have a license is quite an exhausting exercise for those who need help them commute. I have seen public transport in many cities, in many countries, in the world and I really think that Brisbane is by far one of the worst when it comes to effective public transport. Yes, the trains and buses are neat, clean and uncluttered and there lies my problem. On the few occasions that I do travel with him, there is comfort. There is a feeling of unclutteredness and that, is because no one seems to be using them! Or if they do, they are only at peak time! This is well and good but, during those in between times, there is practically only us on the things.
The State and Local Government are begging us to leave our cars at home. But, do these government officials actually use public transport and if they do, are they in 9-5 jobs? Not everyone has that benefit. We have a city developed over a river that is curved by nature and if we could go as they say, 'as the crow flies' it would be easy as. They have built tunnels, gateways, and the like for the motor vehicles but, very few bypasses for anything that resembles public transport. We have a ferry cat system that is great but do we see a park and ride anywhere within closeness to most of them?
We have buses that run everywhere but in a straight direction. We had a tram system before my time but for some reason that was axed. We have built cute bridges for the foot commuter but they appear to be there for the tourists and those already in the city confines. They are great if you want a walk for lunch and get away from the city bustle and join the ibis on Southbank etc. We have built two gateway bridges to connect sides of the river for vehicles, we have built two bridges for those on the peninsula. Town planners have designed disability bridges to our inner city railway stations but, sometimes, you look at the structure and think, if they straightened from their convoluted inclines they could actually begin at the front gate of the elderly and the disabled in the suburbs. I know this is because the incline cannot be more than 19 degrees but there surely has to be a better way. Maybe a few stair climbing chairs could be the answer, or a lift for those in wheel chairs, but for now you almost need a winch and a power source.
The next bridges that should have precedence over all others are some rail bridges! Hasn't anyone heard of clip ons - surely they played with lego or mechano or haven't they looked at other places in the world for ideas? A short flight to New Zealand and they can see the benefits of what is locally called the Nippon clip-ons. We needv to build rail links that stop congestion, that are easy to use and actually go from Point A to Point B in the least amount of time. Instead we build one that goes half way (as it seems) around Australia just to get to the north or south side. I realise that I am just a interior designer but I wonder sometimes, if I designed their house with such a long way to the bar fridge, would I be employed. And if I took so long to design something that was not user friendly would they hang me out to dry like those commuters that use our public transport systems.
Why not have 24 hour public transport? Why not add clip ons to existing bridges? Why not add more park and ride stations?
I ask for your opinions on this matter. How can we make our system better?
My ideas for an easier system would be build bridges that attach to existing bridges for a rail system that is really world class. Build car parks for our existing water ferry system. Cut out some of the bus services that exist - put them in a straight line to other areas and build some car parks for drop off areas. Look at the timetables for trains and buses and for those with very few passengers stretch the timetable to longer periods so that people can use 24/7. Surely running transport with high numbers is better than running empty for the sake of looking as if we have a public system. Put more direct north south, east and west commutes. I have had people ask if our Central Station is actually Central Station!! In their cities their Central Stations are busy always. If we have to put the trams back in the inner suburbs, let us look at that. Throw out the buses to a drop off point and use the inner city model that seems to work well in Melbourne.
Ok, the discussion is open give us your thoughts and if some government officials are reading in the comfort of their chauffeur driven cars maybe you could drop a email as to what could be or not done for the common folk. It is ironic that Brisbane likes to bask in its emerging cosmopolitan image and spruik about its livability. But, if it is trying to compare itself with the real cities in the world with their amazing public transport systems, it falls well short. You may say Brisbane's public transport woes are not confined to this city, so give us your ideas. Ideas that may help other cities suffering from the same problems, so we can all live in these huge metropolis and still get around effectively without having to drive ourselves every single time. There is a solution - somebody just has to have the intestinal fortitude to do it!