Bribie Island and surrounds badly need a revamp of its bus transport routes and timetable. This is self-evident due to the number of empty buses seen travelling around our roads. It is also obvious to bus users who can’t get where they want to go easily in a reasonable time frame and therefore drive.
It’s a vicious circle; if the service isn’t effective people don’t use it and if people don’t use it then it can’t pay for itself or improvements to the service. This is where the state Department of Transport has forgotten us as we haven’t got technologies used in many other areas to improve bus and transport services and integrate taxis into the transport system.
Here are two case studies that could be applied here:
Study 1: Demand Responsive Transport: (excerpt from Translink’s website)
Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is a flexible shared transport option used in the Logan City area, designed to bring together people who live near one another and want to travel at the same time in places or at times when buses and trains aren't available.
With DRT you can pre-book a vehicle to pick you up near your home and take you to selected local shopping and community facilities and transport hubs such as your local bus or train station.
How does it work?
DRT is simple:
We find other people in your area who want to travel at around the same time
We pick you all up near your homes
You pay a standard low fare no matter how far you travel
We drop you all off at your chosen destination, in time to catch your bus or train or make your appointment.
By matching vehicles and travel timetables with actual demand, DRT offers a more efficient way to provide transport for people living in areas that may be lacking public transport services.
Where can I use DRT?
Rochedale South and Underwood
Eagleby, Carbrook, Cornubia, Loganholme, Shailer Park and Tanah Merah
Boronia Heights, Chambers Flat, Hillcrest, Logan Reserve, Munruben, Park Ridge and Park Ridge South
Where can I go with DRT?
You can use DRT to travel to your local bus and train stations, to connect with other TransLink services, and selected local facilities, such as shopping centres, medical centres and libraries.
Study 2: Kan-go: (excerpt from Translink’s website and ‘Bus News’ webpage)
The Kan-go service is a partially demand-responsive service (roam zone) and a partially fixed-route service operating in Toowoomba and Hervey Bay.
The Toowoomba fixed route is between the Range Shopping Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital and Toowoomba City (Grand Central), and operates the same as any other bus service with designated stops and passengers can get on or off at any of these stops.
The roam zone allows passengers to be picked up at variable locations and dropped along the fixed route, or alternatively, picked up along the fixed route and dropped at variable locations. (Note it doesn’t allow for pick up and drop off in the roam zone).
In 2008 Hervey Bay's innovative Kan Go flexible bus service breezed through its 12-month trial and has been continued.
After his visit to Hervey Bay in 2008, the then Transport Minister announced "smart bus" had boosted patronage on its route by 45 percent in its first year.
"Kan Go is a wonderful new service for Hervey Bay, and the local community has embraced it, so it will be continued," he says.
"And the smart bus is set to get even smarter, with an investigation underway to enable people to book the bus by SMS or on the web. We hope to have those systems in place later this year, but for now people still need to ring to make a booking.
"Kan Go has been especially popular among older passengers because of the flexibility it has to pick them up and deliver them to their own homes," he said.
Kan Go uses state-of-the-art technology developed in Queensland to direct the driver by GPS to pre-booked pick up sites, such as private homes.
It provides 11 weekday and Saturday return trips between Point Vernon and Centro via Pialba and the City Loop.
For 25 percent of its route – around the City Loop – it is a normal fixed route bus, but once it leaves the city it becomes a flexible service that can take people to their homes. A computer determines the best route from bookings made by passengers and delivers that information to the driver while the bus is on its way. It's popular because this bus comes to the people, rather than the other way around. It's a real boon to people who have mobility problems.
Kan Go has also brought a bus service to new housing estates that previously had no service. It serves an average 64 passengers each day, with up to 90 on Thursdays and Fridays, compared with only 40 daily for the fixed route service it replaced. In a passenger survey, 81 percent of respondents said they preferred Kan Go to the fixed route service it replaced.
So if Toowoomba, Hervey Bay and Logan City have been worthy of this service for the last 13 years why hasn’t it been rolled out here? Local residents are reporting that they are taking one hour twenty minutes to get to U3A from Ningi while other buses are circling the island empty. U3A has 3000 participants and would be perfect for a demand-driven service as classes start and finish around the same times.
This is a state government responsibility which they are paying little attention to. Must we always have to ask to be included in programs that have been standard elsewhere for a decade?