Trapeze response to Queensland’s 50c public transport fares

Published May 29, 2024 in News

Public transport made the news in Queensland this week, when Premier Steven Miles announced a 50-cent flat rate for bus, light rail, train, and ferry trips for six months from 5 August 2024.

Efficient, equitable, and intelligent multimodal public transport networks are the future of travel in Queensland’s rapidly growing cities, so Trapeze welcomes initiatives to encourage ridership. We join Premier Miles in hoping this 50-cent pricing policy makes more Queenslanders jump on a bus or catch the train and sees more families exploring their cities or regions at the weekend.

In Queensland, two thirds of journeys to work are by car, as well as most trips to school, the gym, or the shops. Public transport ridership is key to easing the state’s road congestion problem. Infrastructure such as Brisbane’s busway network and future Metro connections will play a major role in converting drivers into passengers if more residents are persuaded to use the bus regularly. Similarly, just one six-carriage train on Queensland Rail’s network can keep as many as 625 vehicles off the road.

Fare reductions are certainly welcome news for current passengers, although the incentive created by flat rate pricing is much greater on long commutes than local trips. Reduced fares might even be interpreted as devaluing public transport, in our society where value is something worth paying for.

At Trapeze, we want public transport to be the mode of preference for Queenslanders, rather than the lowest common denominator which is chosen through necessity. A fare reduction might drive temporary ‘sugar hit’ ridership increases, but what happens when it expires? It risks creating negative sentiment – and a net reduction in passenger numbers – unless the sentiment of these new, value-driven riders is influenced by providing them with excellent passenger experience.

In the longer term, does this fare cut also reduce funding for improvements the network needs with Brisbane 2032 on the horizon? Pricing is one piece of the ridership puzzle, but service quality is the main barrier to increased public transport uptake across the state. Lower fares will be much more effective when combined with technology solutions that enhance the passenger experience. Headway services, real-time service arrival information, journey optimisation, connected multimodal services, and integration with community transport services and personal transport devices like e-bikes for the first and last mile are just a few of the outcomes that can be delivered at scale with technology that is readily available today.

Premier Miles said one of the marketing campaign messages will be ‘use it or lose it’, as the pricing trial will be reviewed after six months. We hope many more Queenslanders do give their public transport options a try, and that funding also exists to deliver further improvements across the network.

Want to continue the conversation about public transport pricing, ridership, and passenger experience? Get in touch today!

Mode of Transport

Bus, Trams/Light Rail, Ferry, Rail, Public Transport Authorities


Intelligent Transport Systems, Bus Planning and Scheduling (Austrics), Driving Advice System (DAS), Bus Enterprise Resource Planning (TIMS), Workforce Management, Community Transport

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