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Brisbane City Council warns 50 cent bus fares will be a 'disaster' without extra state funding

Brisbane City Council warns 50 cent bus fares will be a 'disaster' without extra state funding
Brisbane City Council warns 50 cent bus fares will be a 'disaster' without extra state funding


Brisbane City Council has launched a scathing attack on the Queensland Government, accusing it of presiding over what could be the biggest public policy failure in the state's history, as a 50 cent public transport trial begins in August.

Transport Brisbane chairman Ryan Murphy said the council had been negotiating with state counterparts for six weeks over a proposed funding deal for Brisbane's bus network worth almost $100 million every year for five years.

But Mr Murphy said the proposal was rejected on Friday, setting the government up for “disaster” when its six-month tariff trial begins on August 5.

“If we don't get this deal, August will be a disaster for the state government,” Mr Murphy said. “In August, 50 cent fares will be a 50 cent failure.

“People will want to take public transport, they will drive to bus stops across our city and find buses full of passengers.

“They'll have full buses leaving them behind at bus stops and platforms, and they'll go, 'you know what, it's no better than it was 10 years ago.'

A man in a dark suit and a striped tie speaks with a stern expression

Queensland Premier Steven Miles says negotiations with the BCC over bus funding are ongoing.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

Queensland Premier Steven Miles dismissed the council's complaints as a “playback” between state and local government during funding negotiations.

“They want more money. This is a local government that wants more money,” Mr Miles said.

He did not give a figure for how much the council is seeking, but said it was “well in excess” of the $25 million in revenue the state government earned each year from tolls.

Murphy said the council was offered $50 million in a one-off payment as “hush money” to “go away” until after the election.

“We're not asking for a one-off payment, we're asking for a transformational investment in Brisbane's bus services,” he said.

A person riding a bus in Brisbane.

It is hoped that the price change will encourage greater patronage of public transport among commuters.(ABC News: Lucas Hill)

Brisbane Metro at risk of delay

The political support comes just weeks before the Queensland government enters caretaker mode ahead of the state election in October.

Murphy said if the funding was not approved before the government break, the long-awaited Brisbane Metro service would not start until mid-2025.

The subway service will connect 18 stations along buses from Eight Mile Plains to Roma Street, and the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and the University of Queensland. Orders have already been placed for 59 new metro buses.

A yellow and blue sign reads

The council is looking to roll out more buses under its Brisbane Metro plan.(ABC News: Lucas Hill)

Miles said the state government wanted to see the successful launch of Brisbane Metro and suggested the council had potentially miscalculated its budget.

“Metro is Brisbane City Council's flagship bus program and if they haven't budgeted enough to make it work then we will work with them to make sure it can be launched successfully,” he said.

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