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Monday, August 4, 2014

Are we there yet? GC 2018 Commonwealth Games transport.

Is SEQ headed #offtherails in four years? This piece explains how a Public Transport disaster during the Commonwealth Games in 2018 can be averted, along with some future solutions as part of a greater legacy.

In 2012, this site had a remarkably successful piece, on how difficult the task will be on awarding host broadcasting rights for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, in 2018. And it got me thinking for the best part of two years: What else is needed? Obviously, as we are officially on the road to 2018 as of today’s handover ceremony: surely, it’s time to start thinking about how we are literally going to get there…

Accommodation supply:
The first major look has to be, simply: how much accommodation, will be needed: especially in the higher tier, 4/5 star accommodation. To really look at this: we have to look back to Expo 88 25 years ago. Brisbane and the Gold Coast combined, in 1988 had six 4/5 star hotels: The Sheraton above Central Station, the Hilton in the Wintergarden in Brisbane, and Jupiters Casino in Broadbeach, Gold Coast International and the Ramada in Surfers Paradise as well as the Sheraton Mirage at Main Beach. As we look to today: Brisbane has twice as much hotel space as it had during Expo (including large amounts of 5 star accommodation within 2km of the CBD, some major new accommodation being planned (the new RNA Showgrounds hotel being a prime example): as well as some large scale refurbishments e.g Lennons Queen St’s transformation into NEXT Hotel Brisbane, as well as the Sebel King George Square’s recent refurbishment as Pullman King George Square): which will be tested later this year, and the Gold Coast has alone, seven five star hotels, within 20km of the Commonwealth Games venues. The big factor is that Brisbane will need to pick up the slack, for the Gold Coast if it runs out of space, when it comes to accommodating the elite: as well as providing the needs for accommodation for people who are going to the shooting/cycling at Chandler, which brings us to the first key point: transport into SEQ.

Air Supply: How are the visitors actually going to arrive.
It’s obvious, that the Gold Coast will not have the capacity, at Coolangatta Airport, to handle roughly 8,000+ athletes, officials, media etc. passing through, at a rapid pace: due to the lack of aerobridges, but Brisbane Airport can also pick up this, due to it’s higher capacity, not just for arrivals (including facilities for A380 aircraft.) but for destinations: including direct access to New Zealand, and being at least a stopover away, from the UK, India and most other Commonwealth nations. The same will have to be said for domestic air travel to Queensland. There will need to be implemented by 2018, increased coast to coast capacity, mainly serving the Gold Coast, as it will not just be needed for domestic travellers from WA to the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games, but for the African contingents: which will likely come in via Perth, before crossing the country to get to Queensland. It may also mean increasing the number of airlines, servicing coast to coast from Coolangatta: as Jetstar currently is the only carrier offering Gold Coast-Perth, which would be a win for consumers. The Sunshine Coast Airport, will need to also take some of the slack, if Brisbane is congested, during the Commonwealth Games, possibly even taking some long-haul flights. Now, how is SEQ’s public transport system going to cope with the crush, during the Commonwealth Games…

The Event Strategy:
We need to look at two key events in the last thirty years, that formed the critical part of Brisbane’s event transport strategy. The Commonwealth Games in 1982, is the first critical juncture. Brisbane’s rail network wasn’t fully electrified, in 1982 (with only the Ipswich, Ferny Grove and Shorncliffe lines fully electrified: the Beenleigh line was only electrified to Kingston, along with one track on the Tennyson corridor: to allow trains to run from Sunnybank-Ipswich): yet it pulled a stellar job, alongside the BCC shuttles to QEII and Chandler. The second key event was World Expo 88: where the full electrification of the suburban network was finished, two months before the event with the Doomben line, and the opening of the first interurban electric line to Nambour, with a fully realised fleet of over ninety electric trains. Estimates were, that 50% of all Expo 88 visitors would be using the Brisbane rail network: through South Brisbane Expo and Vulture St Expo stations, along with a fairly strong coach backbone, from the Gold Coast, and surrounding areas, as well as two ferries from the Gold Coast to Brisbane, one highspeed catamaran, and one hovercraft. The big practical question will be, how will the people staying on the coast get to Brisbane (esp. as two sports are at Brisbane venues, track cycling and shooting: both reusing (and in the case of track cycling, renewing, with a new indoor velodrome) 1982 venues), and how people in Brisbane will be able to get to the Coast to their venues. The first key project that needs to be shovel ready now: is a project which would deliver light rail to Parkwood, to connect with the Gold Coast interurban railway line. But this project has a hitch. Improved rail services to the Gold Coast, such as infill stations south of Helensvale can’t proceed, without the duplication of the Coomera-Helensvale section of line, which includes a bridge over the Coomera River, (that should have been duplicated when the Coomera-Ormeau and the Helensvale-Robina sections of line were duplicated last decade). A good idea to overcome this is to have the GC council, QLD and federal governments, whatever the stripe, and the operator of the light rail, GoldLinq, to come together and deliver this vital project, involving combining connecting G:link light rail at a Parkwood heavy rail station (with provision to extend to Westfield Helensvale (via the “Eastern Corridor” alignment), and the theme parks at Oxenford) and duplicated heavy rail between Helensvale and Coomera (linking two venues: one at Coomera, and one at Movie World at Oxenford, which would also be fed by a bus shuttle from Helensvale.) and most importantly, open up the way for a enhanced Gold Coast line, during the Commonwealth Games.

The Enhanced Gold Coast Line:
During the Commonwealth Games, instead of the current frequency of 30mins from Brisbane and the airport to the GC, there will need to be baseline 15min frequency on the Gold Coast line. But it comes with a major change: Beenleigh all-stoppers, would continue on to Varsity Lakes during the Games, while Gold Coast services will stop with a different express pattern, from the CBD, with lengthy stops at Park Rd, and Kuraby stations. An encouragement to switch to PT during the Games will be that most northside lines (Kippa-Ring, Caboolture and Shorncliffe) will have a couple of express services to Varsity Lakes during morning peak, and also departing late at night. So, as much rollingstock can be used as possible, no Doomben trains would run during the Games, to free up Eagle Junction for transfers between Caboolture/Shorncliffe/Kippa-Ring lines to Games services as well as all Sunshine Coast services (including Gympie North) stopping at Eagle Junction. The theoretical operating pattern for that period in 2018, would be as follows:
Caboolture-Ipswich (changing for Games services at Eagle Junction, city stations and connecting with Ferny Grove via Park Rd from Corinda)
Kippa-Ring-Springfield Central (changing for Games services at Eagle Junction, city stations and connecting with Ferny Grove via Park Rd from Corinda)
Shorncliffe-Cleveland (changing for Games services at Eagle Junction, city stations, South Brisbane, South Bank and Park Rd stations)
Airport-Varsity Lakes (express from Eagle Junction to Bowen Hills (which should be reinstated with Kippa-Ring opening, and extension of 15min corridor to Petrie) and Park Rd to Beenleigh only stopping at Kuraby (instead of Altandi) and Loganlea)
Ferny Grove-Coopers Plains (timing adjusted, with the terminus being Corinda)
Ferny Grove-Beenleigh (timing adjusted, running all stations to Varsity Lakes)
Doomben line (closed during the Games, replaced by railbus to Eagle Junction)
Gympie North/Nambour-Roma St (changing for Games services at Eagle Junction and city stations)
During the Commonwealth Games, to make the service more legible, Ferny Grove and Beenleigh services would switch colours with Ipswich-Caboolture changing from red to green and vice versa (with the Airport-Varsity Lakes line retaining it’s gold colour). The enhanced service would be promoted as the “Green and Gold Line”, in reference to Australia’s traditional sporting colours, green and gold. Another factor that can come into play, is the concept of resurrecting a ferry link, from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, possibly either linking from Brisbane’s CBD to Broadwater Parklands at Southport (the most logical option), or Carrara Stadium-Brisbane CBD via. Cleveland (to connect to Chandler/Belmont venues)  and Broadwater Parklands.

Expanding G:link:
The major factor that needs to be looked at now, is extending the light rail system past Broadbeach. The first thing I expect, is that the public opinion on light rail will change dramatically, the longer the system is open to commuters. Thus the question that will be looked at now, is not if it will expand south, but when. The simplest move, is to extend the line along the Gold Coast Highway to Burleigh Heads (which will likely be completed faster than stage one, and stages past Burleigh Heads, due to the route not requiring large bridges (like Sundale, where a new bridge was required) but still requiring utility relocations), and fast track construction, so the extension can be finished as close as possible to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, opening up another mode of transport to accommodation providers south of Broadbeach. Extensions south, and west to destinations other than Parkwood, will need to be heavily looking at having detailed plans ready after 2018, particularly extensions to Coolangatta: which would require two major bridges (Tallebudgera and Currumbin creeks), and feasibility on extending to Tweed Heads South/Banora Point/Kingscliff in conjunction with the NSW government.

Cross-Border Transport:
There is another factor that comes into play: Surfside’s NSW network, which runs from Tweed Heads to Kingscliff, Pottsville and Murwillumbah, which currently uses a different fare system to Surfside’s QLD routes. There needs to be a move, prior to 2018, between Transport For NSW and QLD’s Translink to allow Surfside’s NSW network to convert to accepting Go Card for fleet operation simplification purposes (also allowing direct services from Tweed Heads locations other than the town centre, to various Gold Coast destinations, as well as drastically cheaper fares (while retaining the NSW network’s access to certain concessions), instead of NSW’s Opal standard, nor the expensive costs of catering for both Go Card and Opal. A closer partnership would also open up new doors for transport: including looking at reserving a corridor for a standard gauge extension from Murwillumbah: which won’t be needed for 2018, that would allow NSW TrainLink services, and potentially high speed rail to service the Gold Coast directly in the future along a modernized Murwillumbah corridor: after all, the Gold Coast is Australia’s largest city not served directly by standard gauge rail. However, a interim solution (but still will need the restoration of the line) can be found, by returning XPT service to Murwillumbah, along with coordinated coach connections to Surfers Paradise (via Broadbeach light rail terminus), Brisbane as well as Queensland Rail’s heavy rail terminus or Robina.

Renumbering Queensland, Alphanumeric Routes:
Wayfinding in Queensland will also need to change by 2018 to match the southern states, as Queensland is the only state on the eastern seaboard still using the state/national route system, albeit alongside a limited alphanumeric offer. However, the craziness of transport planners in Queensland has seen the duplication of route numbers both old and new: with duplicate A3, A5 and A7 routes (in both Brisbane and regional areas) for example in the alphanumeric network, as well as in the existing state route system (with unconnected routes, hundreds of km apart). The time has come to completely redo the route system in this state and it has to have two key factors:
1: Preventing duplication, with the greater rollout of the A/B routing system: with the A system containing 100 routes (with the “1” series (e.g. A11, A21 etc.) mostly being exclusive to bypassed sections of M/A1, with the Gold Coast Hwy becoming A11 extending from South Tweed Heads to Helensvale, A100, reserved for Gympie Rd between Bald Hills and Petrie, as well as Anzac Avenue between Petrie and Redcliffe, A21 being Steve Irwin Way, A31 being the route from Eumundi-Nambour, A41 reserved for Gympie, A51 reserved for Rockhampton, A61 reserved for Mackay and A81 reserved for Townsville.) as well as the current single digit A routes outside SEQ returning to their former numbers: (A3 regional from Yarraman north becoming A17, and southern end becomes A42, A4 and northern A2 becoming A66, A5 becoming A39, southern A2 to Charleville becomes A54, A6 becoming A78) and national route 13, becoming A91, extending the Summerland Way route to Brisbane via the Mt Lindsey Hwy. While, there would be room for 1000 B routes (replacing the entire state route system outside SEQ, and limited routes added in SEQ), with B71 (until Charleville, where it’d become A71) and B55 reserved for continuations of their NSW routes, instead of the current bump up to A71 and A55 when crossing into QLD, while introducing three digit route numbering with a prefix based on location (No prefix (B1-B99): Brisbane, B1XX: Gold Coast, B2XX: Sunshine Coast, B3XX: Wide Bay/Bundaberg, B4XX: Capricornia, B5XX: Mackay/Townsville B6XX: Cairns/Cape York and B700-B999 Outback).  Also, three new M routes would be added: M8 Sunshine Motorway (M9 reserved for future Kawana-Beerwah motorway corridor) and M10 Southport Link Motorway (formerly Smith St Mwy).
2: Promote the change to full alphanumeric routes heavily, as well done as NSW did in 2013, and stagger the roll out, with priority given to the SE corner, as well as currently duplicated state routes.

Cross-town links: Brisbane, and Gold Coast.
Brisbane’s cross-town solution, to serve Belmont and Chandler Velodrome from the Green/Gold line, involves the redirection of some resources, along with the development of a “operator” which would offer these services, via a BOT arrangement between Brisbane City Council (or any privatised operator), and the QLD Government, that simply would build new buses (to replace the first low floor BCC buses built in the late 1990s-early 2000’s), operate them during the Games, and transfer to the operator after the end of the 2018 games. The potential services would run in two strands:
Line A: UQ-Belmont/Chandler express via Boggo Rd Busway and Langlands Park: meeting every G/G line train at Boggo Rd/Park Rd.
Line B: Kuraby-Belmont/Chandler express via Garden City interchange and Carindale interchange, meeting every G/G line train at Kuraby.
These new buses would be designed with real-time information, much more advanced than today: including train departure information, and would be designed to be the model bus for other Translink operators.

Meanwhile, the Gold Coast’s cross-town solution is more intricate. Building on the high frequency network from the recent Translink bus review, and changes with the arrival of GC Light Rail, there is indeed a need to connect venues, not just with each other: but to the light rail or heavy rail networks. Some solutions are easy: Broadwater Parklands at Southport, would only need a temporary bus interchange, as it is close to the light rail: and Broadbeach can have a loop linking it’s two venues: but other venues need to be linked up. The most critical of these links is a connection from Robina Station (and nearby stadium) to Broadbeach Light Rail terminus via Cararra Stadium.
Others include:
- Southport-Movie World via Gold Coast Hockey Centre, Runaway Bay Sports Centre, Harbour Town and Helensvale station.
- Modified theme park services, to act as high capacity feeders from the southern end of the Gold Coast: with TX1 modified to run express to Coomera venue, via theme parks, light rail terminus and Cararra Stadium, TX2 modified to run from Elanora (so a direct connection is there for road race cycling events), and routed via Cararra Stadium to Coomera venue and TX5 running a shuttle between Westfield Helensvale and Coomera venue via Movie World venue.
- Hinze Dam venue, would need to be 40% public transport reliant.
- the acquisition of a solely double decker fleet for the theme park services by 2018, in preparation for their Games role, along with examining the feasibility of implementing a deeper real-time system for buses, including adding train and light rail departure information.
Another key role will be the streamlining of the current Gold Coast hotel/airport shuttles, with a move to see it integrated with the Airtrain Connect system (that links hotels to the Gold Coast rail line, with connections to Brisbane Airport) under one brand. Progress also needs to be made, towards removing Surfside-specific, and Airtrain/Surfside-specific ticketing, now, to encourage wider integrated usage of the system, with the expansion of the SEEQ card, to include options for domestic and some overseas visitors (such as concession and senior ticketing, with Airtrain ticketing to eventually reflect the network: with concession ticketing, and a reformed Airtrain fare structure to match: such as charging station access fees, instead of insane amounts of money ($26 from zone 6 to Brisbane Domestic Airport one way for a adult (compared to $18 from Parramatta to Sydney Domestic Airport for a adult, a similar distance, but has to change in the CBD, as opposed to a suburban station): let alone from the airport to the Gold Coast ($33.60 from Nerang to Brisbane Domestic for a adult (compared to $21.20 for a adult from either Dapto, Ourimbah, Faulconbridge or Bargo stations to Sydney Domestic, involving various changes) as well as looking at other potential solutions.

The face of the network:
It is a known fact that there will be a volunteer army, recruited to assist at the venues. However, there needs to also be a separate group working, alongside Translink, to assist in smooth running of the transport network, for the visitors that will be coming to Queensland. There is another group of people, that will also be working for the benefit and comfort of passengers, on the light rail system. I’m predicting that very quickly, Gold Coast residents won’t refer to the G:Link CSO’s (Customer Service Officers) as CSO’s. They will likely simply refer to them as “conductor” by 2018, much like Melbourne (where they are still referred to as “the soul of the tram network” and although the city switched to driver-only trams in 1998, with steep opposition: there are many commuters in that city who want a conductor return), Adelaide and Sydney have for many years. There needs to be a major education campaign throughout SEQ about the term “conductor” (after all, this will be the first tram line to open in SEQ since Brisbane’s network shut in 1969), and light rail in general. But it won’t just be light rail that can benefit from more human interaction: Brisbane’s City Gliders, can also benefit from CBD/Valley stops as well as termini being manned by ticket sellers, to increase patronage on these specific prepaid services. Same goes with implementing the CBD bus stop reorganization that the recent Translink bus review suggested: once again, with a ticket seller facility, alongside fare machines.

Ramping up Real Time information:
Transport information in SEQ has come a long way from the need to have a timetable handy, at all times. The first major evolution for the rail network was the implementation of limited LCD timetable information on platforms, at innercity stations in the late eighties, usually only featuring the next train: around the same time Brisbane first gained onboard announcements on trains, via a VA (voice announcement, as opposed to drivers announcing stops) system. The second major evolution, was the arrival of second generation LCD signs outside the CBD, and the first generation of video timetables (via CRT screens): which not just went to the CBD stations, but to the newer outposts of the network: with the original terminus for the Gold Coast Line, Robina being equipped with video screens, in the mid 1990’s, and finally the expansion of timetable information in the 2000’s, to refurbished stations with third generation LCD signage, and the installation of flatscreen timetable information on platforms: replacing the CRTs, beginning with the refurbished Fortitude Valley station, in 2008, eventually extending to other stations, including replacing 2nd generation LCD signage at some stations. However, the time has now come, to seriously look at ramping up the information travellers see not just, on the platform, but in their hand. The concept I am talking about is a rail version of Trip Tracker (currently in use for Clarks Logan City, and the BCC’s Blue CityGlider): called, Train Tracker. Train Tracker, is a evolution, of the current system for rail, that will revolutionise the information we get. It would begin with the use of existing LCD screens, with more detail: adding details not just for 3 car trains, but for WiFi and toilets too (as well as adding features for the Traveltrain network with similar details, e.g. sleepers, food etc.).  Train Tracker’s second use has already been seen as part of the G:link launch, information of bus services that use nearby stops to the station. For QR use, it would be expanded, to include real-time information on bus departures at exit points to stations that have nearby stops/interchanges. The second phase of rollout would be the addition of free wifi, on all inner city platforms (Exhibition, Central, Bowen Hills, South Bank, South Brisbane, Fortitude Valley, Roma St, Toowong, Auchenflower and Milton) and at major junctions and termini (Ipswich, Sandgate, Cleveland, Beenleigh, Petrie, Eagle Junction, Darra, as well as all stations on the Gold Coast Line past Beenleigh, all Springfield Line stations past Darra, all Kippa-Ring Line stations past Petrie as well as all Sunshine Coast Line stations past Caboolture) to allow for Train Tracker checking on the go. The third phase of rollout, would be the introduction of live video from suburban trains, even possibly cameras on the side of trains (fitted initially to next generation rollingstock): similar to what is used on Sydney Trains’s Waratah fleet for security and for guard operation. And there is then the 4th generation rollingstock, due to be introduced in 2015. The rollout of the first 6 car sets (not 3+3), needs to have enough weight, so all GC-Brisbane services are using “UMU” (short for Unified Multiple Unit) sets during the Games, with EMU withdrawal, postponed until after the Commonwealth Games (to allow every available unit to be used), and ICE (trains originally designed for long distance travel) withdrawn before the Commonwealth Games.

But, now you’ve heard of the rail future, now what will it be like when you turn up at the station?

Park and ride facilities will be pushed to the limit in 2018, especially with Brisbane commuter loads on top of spectators heading to the Gold Coast: thus the need is there for a comprehensive park and ride plan, that can be utilized post-Games. One has to remember back to Expo 88, when Brisbane was encouraged to “Go Easy to Expo”, as well as constructing expanded park and ride facilities across the suburban rail network, as well as some temporary facilities (which were usually unsealed, despite the nature, these parking areas lasted well past Expo, to the point some sites were eventually sealed with bitumen). In 1988, Brisbane’s park and ride network was at 12,000 spaces, with few stations properly accessible. Today it’s approaching 17,000 spaces in the Brisbane suburban area (helped by 1300 new spaces coming online with the Springfield extension), and most stations are DDA-compliant (latest stations to go DDA: Sandgate and Geebung, with four others (Alderley, Newmarket, Graceville and Dinmore) in the pipeline), with the QR wooden footbridge built for electrification (the same kind people used in 1982 at Banoon to access services to QEII) are slowly becoming a thing of the past. But: Brisbane’s park and ride capacity today, and even after Moreton Bay Rail: (after all, 2500 spaces are already committed for Moreton Bay Rail) would not cope with both peak hour, and Commonwealth Games patrons, and for a city our size: the number of rail park and ride spaces are less than Perth, in WA (20,000 spaces, and they also pay to park).

This is where the options divide: whether the QLD Government is to invest in park and ride (along with updating current infrastructure) or increase the number of stations fed by feeder buses (currently in the existing Brisbane Transport service area, only proper rail-bus interchanges (i.e. with bus stabling) exist at Carseldine, Sandgate, Ferny Grove, Mitchelton, Oxley, Park Rd (bus stabling is at UQ) and Richlands rail stations (as well as a underutilized Enoggera interchange, currently used by three regular bus services, built in 1980), while partial ones exist at Buranda, South Bank, South Brisbane and Roma St.) to avoid a parking catastrophe.

A: Invest in Park And Ride:
Investing in park and ride, for rail in Brisbane will need to happen eventually. With the lack of connectivity to the rail network by Brisbane Transport, steeped in a historical point of view (where even before TL, Brisbane Transport’s buses competed with rail, not fed into it: resulting in the development of expensive bus infrastructure) and the lack of decent feeders for rail (particularly at weekends), at some major stations: e.g. Beenleigh (eight Translink bus “services” servicing the station before 8am, 10 “services” if you count Beenleigh-Ormeau services: M-F, with no services pre 8am Sat/Sun), Petrie (29 Translink bus “services” servicing the station before 8am M-F: with two services pre 8am Saturday, and no services pre 8am on Sunday), Caboolture (18 Translink bus “services” servicing the station before 8am M-F with 3 “services” pre 8am Saturday, and no services pre 8am Sunday) and Ferny Grove (11 Translink bus “services” pre 8am M-F, no services pre 8am Sat/Sun). Hence: the need for a ramped up park and ride program for rail. I am seeing today, places like the afore mentioned Petrie station: where carparking that had been increased in the last few years (130 added on the eastern side, that will be shut when MBRL works begin) where people are again parking in local streets, like they were before carpark upgrades happened.

Thus, the strategy that needs to happen is a simple one: roll out more park and ride space along the suburban network: and it needs to happen before 2018. I honestly believe there is a need for 4000-5000 spaces to be built by 2018: just to handle the GC-bound loads, any less and you’d be risking commuter rage, as precious park and ride spaces for citybound commuters would be taken up by GC-bound commuters, who would be leaving in the pre-8am period. The reward in the end, would be the increased usage of rail stations, once any future third river crossing for rail opens.

The candidates for the park and ride upgrades should be:
-Station needs DDA facilities (e.g. lifts, new footbridges).
-Station has large catchments that can’t be served by a feeder bus strategy.
-Station has room for resumptions to build a multi-story carpark, either underground or above ground capable of handling 500 cars max.
-Station has valuable space in existing park and ride, that can be integrated into a TOD, or a urban revitalization: which could utilize a similar feel to the McWhirters carpark in Fortitude Valley: retail on ground level, carpark above.
-Station needs to develop a flood-proof carpark (with the majority of levels above 1893 flood level), as well as being a evacuation point for vehicles.

These park and rides can be built privately, by a alliance similar to one that built the Geebung/Telegraph Rd rail overpasses and transferred to the government/rail network operator after 2018.

B: Invest in feeder increases to free up park and ride spaces:
The feeder issues recently mentioned, are huge. However, there will be a need to increase feeder services, that can be the biggest legacy out of 2018 transport-wise, that is changing the Brisbane network from one competing with rail vehemently to one that is feeding into rail. It can only be achieved, if the Brisbane City Council exits the public transport sector after 90 years, and new operators are left to join Translink in redrawing a network, some of whose routes date back to the tram-replacement scheme of 45 years ago (the result of the Brisbane Transportation Study): e.g. the Bardon-Stafford 375: dates back to when it was tram route 74, with minimal changes. To achieve this, there has to be a move to start aligning with capacity needs, along with a encouragement, at some stations that have feeders for people to actually use the feeders: with the introduction of a paid parking scheme (with TL and QR overruling some councils policies on the issue (e.g. MBRC): due to the rail network being government owned… for now), that would go into investing in services and infrastructure (such as finishing off the DDA program for rail, investing in bus routes, realtime information etc): making any increase to park and ride spaces literally pay for itself. A example lies in Western Australia, where recently, they converted their entire park and ride network to paid parking, charged at $2 a day utilizing their Smartrider transport smartcard (with the choice of either registering your car with your Smartrider, or putting a paper ticket (also payable by cash) into your car): the only use to date in Australia, of the benefits that Queenslanders were told ten years ago would be available with smartcard ticketing: that their transport smartcard would be used in the future for small purchases, something a paid park and ride scheme would likely require.

This brings us to the final requirement for a smooth running of the 2018 Commonwealth Games:  a scheme so revolutionary, that it could literally change the face of event ticketing in Australia itself…

Simply, it is the concept of having all QLD Government owned venues (as well as other venues, like the RNA Showgrounds), to convert by 2018 to smartcard hardstock event ticketing. What the move would mean, is: all ticketing to events in QLD government venues, such as Cararra, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre/replacement etc. would all have as a option, smartcard ticketing, as part of the introduction of transport being included in all largescale ticket pricing (i.e. you won’t see Bookfest become ticketed, but for events like Supanova, PT will be thrown in to encourage people to leave the car at home) for some venues, with the ability to change online ticketing printouts (which will also include transport) for a smart-ticket (compatible with go card readers and venue entry readers) at manned rail stations (which should be at 100% of the suburban network (with only gaps in the interurban area between Nambour/Gympie) by 2018), if they wish.

I have not explained the fare system required, other than mentions of “smartcard ticketing” for a good reason. This site will show off shortly, it’s vision for a fairer fare system, including ticket types, zones and most importantly, cost.

So, the Games are here in QLD, the flag’s been passed, now is the time for a transport revolution, not gridlock with full trains waiting at Helensvale. It’s our time to shine: let’s hope that our transport strategy doesn’t let us down.

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