The state of our transport systems: We would rather drive because it’s cheaper 107



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The latest research from commuters and road users is painting a very dire picture for our nation’s transport systems. Queenslanders in particular feel that public transport is more expensive than driving to work, causing chaos on Brisbane roads. And they’re right. The cheapest fare in Brisbane, no matter if you’re on the bus or train for one stop, is $3.20 (peak, using a Go card).

This is echoed throughout Australia – when asked whether they agree with the statement, “I find it’s cheaper to drive than use public transport”, 72 per cent of Queenslanders said yes, as did 60 per cent of those from Tasmania, 57 per cent from Western Australia, 54 per cent from NSW, 53 per cent from Victoria and 50 per cent from South Australia.

And it doesn’t come down to a matter of choice for drivers, it feels like the only viable option in such tight times.

Canstar Blue spokesman Simon Downes said 3000 motorists were surveyed across Australia and, “Respondents in Queensland were by far the most convinced that driving is cheaper than using public transport, but Queenslanders do show a strong willingness to use it more, should costs reduce”. Do you agree?

Robert Dow, from public transport advocacy group Rail Back on Track, told Fairfax that this confirms what we know: “fares in south-east Queensland are certainly the most expensive in Australia for the majority of commutes and, in terms of world ranking, we’re up in the top three or four as well,” he said.

“If it’s got to the point where people think it’s much cheaper to drive, it’s a fairly worrying situation.

“Because what can happen, unless the government bites the bullet here and does something significant with the fare system to encourage people on it, we could start to see service cuts.

But it is Victorians who top the list for how much they spend on fuel – an average of $140 a month, which is more than SA ($134), NSW ($133), QLD ($127), Tasmania ($118) and WA ($110).

Although Victorians spend more money filling up, 30 per cent of Queenslanders admitted there have been days where they couldn’t pay for fuel, which is more than any other state.


It begs the question: will our governments subsidise public transport to get cars off the road? Or is it not a viable option?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. There is no public transport where we live; an issue that is forcing us to sell (under protest) and move into town.

  2. I’m only 12 minutes drive from Canberra CBD. Bus fares are pretty cheap, especially for seniors, but with only an hourly service and the last bus leaving the city at 9.50pm, not usually convenient. Hence, I mostly drive.

  3. Public Transport is not reliable, in many cases it does not take you where you need to go and your constantly have to change buses or trains. It also is never on time so if your going to work or to an appointment the chances are that you will be late. People will continue to drive , while these issues are not resolved

    3 REPLY
    • I don’t know where you live Leanna, but I catch the trains most days in Sydney. I can’t remember the last time one was late, they are clean and comfortable, stress-free and, on my journey to the CBD at least, much faster than driving. And I dread to think how much it would cost me to park all day in the CBD.

  4. they need to learn from other country’s on how to run transport, an idea have coal buses

    1 REPLY
    • need to learn a lot, most countries now travel at least 250kmh with their trains, if public transport improves there would be many people to leave their car at home

  5. Went into Brisbane City last Wednesday cost me $31 return from Richland’s. Wet day in top of that. 3 guards on Return train to Richlands. More rail staff on the Central platform than passengers. Crazy archaic money consuming system

    1 REPLY
    • there shouldn’t not be any guard, just one service man who controls tickets on demand, and walks trough with refreshment, and one engine driver who can run the train above 100kmh

  6. Sydney is great; you can travel all day on public transport as a senior for $2:50 and in Adelaide it’s free between 9 & 3 and all weekend.

    9 REPLY
    • Yes Pam it’s the same here in Perth but free all weekends and Public Holidays, Brisbane you can’t get a Seniors all day ticket that was in 2013 may have changed now.we pay here a parking fee to park at the train station $2 each day.

    • Melbourne is great too for public transport despite some people moaning, but then they would complain about anything

    • Even free public transport isn’t really convenient. If I want to visit my friend near Fremantle I have to take a bus from my house to the nearest station (or drive and park), change trains in Perth, then take a bus from Fremantle Station to her house. Then do it all in reverse to go home….and hope they all coincide with each other. It’s easier to drive!

    • It really depends on what you want to do. Use public transport all the time when in Sydney. When I am home I use the bus often.even going airport. It’s either convenience or cost. But with planning it is much cheaper on public transport

    • My partner had to get back up from Sydney to Newcastle after flying to Perth as he landed in Sydney. He got the train from the airport to Central then the country train to Bradmeadow where I picked him up as there was no transport to Karuah. Cost was very reasonable.
      I HATE Sydney Airport as it is MANIC so I would not drive down to get him and once you are on the train not so bad.

  7. Everywhere we have gone in our country fares have been so much cheaper than here in Brisbane, It is much cheaper to drive and pay parking if I,take grandkids out. We had a grandson with us a few weeks ago and it would have cost us .50 dollars a week to get him to his school by train and bus.that was student fares.

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