BUSES, TRAINS AND ONE BITTER BATTLE

Written on the 29 January 2015 by Laura Daquino

BUSES, TRAINS AND ONE BITTER BATTLE

THE LNP'S "public transport revolution" package has left the industry divided - within it a commitment to creating thousands of jobs - but the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the plan is a death trap for many Queensland companies.  

The QBIC has been left fuming following the LNP's proposal to launch a new bus tender process and zone in on rail infrastructure, claiming this will see many Queensland bus companies go out of business as interstate counterparts have the ability to initially run at a loss to meet the Government's new criteria.

Executive director of the QBIC, David Tape, has called for more frequent bus schedules and investment in bus infrastructure, drawing on figures that buses account for more than 67 per cent of public transport in south east Queensland and more than 93 per cent in regional Queensland.

He perceives this as more likely to occur under a Labor government considering the party's endorsement of the QBIC's transport blueprint 'Moving People Queensland' and a letter of commitment from Labor deputy leader Tim Mulherin (pictured) to scrap the tender process and establish a new independent statutory authority to guide the State's infrastructure program if elected.

"Every bus on the road is estimated to save 50 cars, and if we focus on better bus infrastructure and more services, we won't need to keep building as many roads," says Tape.

"We welcome Labor's commitment as it will provide for certainty of contracts and a continuation of business for small and medium bus operators in Queensland.

"Finally there is some hope to retain Queensland business and Queensland jobs."

This comes after Premier Campbell Newman's statement that the LNP's public transport package will lead to "a public transport revolution for south-east Queensland that will create thousands of new jobs" across construction and transport operations.

Key elements of the LNP's plan include providing $1 billion to deliver the BaT tunnel, an underground bus and train tunnel in Brisbane CBD that will deliver 48 extra trains and 160 buses; adding an extra 5000 car spaces near train stations and bus hubs over the next six years; and supporting Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail.

Speaking on the Light Rail, Newman criticised Labor's management of Stage 1 while claiming the LNP would deliver the project "at the best price for taxpayers".

The LNP says its project would remove 2.3 million car trips a year off the road network by 2028. 

"While Labor left a $300 million black hole after bungling the planning of Stage 1, we will do the proper planning to ensure Stage 2 delivers better services for passengers on the Gold Coast at the best price for taxpayers," says Newman.

Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce (GCCCC) President Peter Yared has applauded the LNP on its commitment to deliver Stage 2 of the light rail and says it is an essential addition for the future economic growth and development of the city.

"Our next task is to ensure this important project is fast tracked," he says.

"It is essential that the extension is delivered before the 2018 Commonwealth Games - to both support the event and remain a legacy of the games itself.

"In addition, the first stage of the light rail created bad stigma in regards to the impact it had on small business, however looking to the second stage that will run up to Helensvale, I do not believe it will not come close to affecting as many businesses because it is travelling through residential areas and bushland.

"Although, for the few businesses along the route, the GCCCC will engage with key stakeholders in an attempt to achieve better management, planning and compensation for business owners that will be directly affected by the construction phase of the initiative."

 


Author: Laura Daquino Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn

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