Brisbane Transport

Brisbane Transport

TL Operator
operator_name = Brisbane Transport

brand = Brisbane-transport-brand.svg
operatortype = bus
servicearea = Brisbane
hubs = Queen Street, Carindale, Chermside, Garden City, and Indooroopilly
depots = Bowen Hills, Carina, Garden City, Richlands, Larapinta, Toowong and Virginia
zones = 1-5
routes = Approximately 200
routenumbers = 66, 100-239, 300-314, 316-462, 464-479, 598, 599, N100-N226, N330-N464
trainconnect = Yes: various locations around Brisbane
wheelchairs = Yes: some services
nightlink = Yes: most N-prefixed routes
website = […]

Brisbane Transport is a business unit of Brisbane City Council, operating suburban and urban bus services under the TransLink integrated public transport scheme in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, Australia. Many of its services use the South-East Busway and the Inner-Northern Busway, which are grade separated from other roads and are served by large stations.

Brisbane City Council's ferry services on the Brisbane River, including CityCat catamarans, formerly a part of the Brisbane Transport business, are operated by Metrolink Queensland, a joint venture between the council and French company Transdev since 1996.



Brisbane Transport's origins can be traced back to the Metropolitan Tramways and Investment Company, which established a small horse tramway under franchise from the Queensland government in Brisbane in August 1885. This company was purchased by the Brisbane Tramways Company, which electrified and expanded the tram system from 1897.

Brisbane's tram system remained in private hands until 1922 when the Queensland government established the Brisbane Tramways Trust, compulsorily acquiring the tram network and supporting infrastructure, then in 1925 creating the Brisbane City Council and transferring responsibility for the tram network to the council.


The Brisbane Tramways Trust experimented with providing bus services in the 1920s but these proved impractical due to mechanical unreliability and Brisbane's poor road surface quality. The first permanent bus services were introduced in 1940 as a supplement to Brisbane's tram services.

In 1948 the council municipalized a number of privately-run bus operators and expanded its own fleet of buses. The first tram lines to close were the Lower Edward Street to Gardens route, and the Upper Edward Street to Gregory Terrace route in 1947, the latter due to the very steep grades on that line. Diesel-engined buses initially replaced tram services on these lines, however these were replaced by Trolleybuses on 12 August 1951.

The council also intended to introduce a trolleybus service to the new University of Queensland campus at St Lucia, and purchased enough trolleybus chassis from the United Kingdom for the route. However, it was vigorously opposed by residents and the plan was abandoned. The council then found itself with surplus trolleybuses but no route on which to run them, so it decided to run the trolleybuses from Herston to Stanley Bridge, East Brisbane, commencing in 1952.

Several other trolleybus routes were subsequently established in the eastern suburbs. The first of these replaced a tram route, along Cavendish Road, in 1955. Other trolleybus routes to Seven Hills and Carina did not involve tram route closures.

In the 1960s, trolleybuses ran on the following routes:
*24 – Prospect Terrace, Herston, to Stanley Bridge, East Brisbane
*23 – Botanic Gardens to Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill
*8A – City to Seven Hills
*25 – City to Cavendish Road, Holland Park
*8C – City to Carina

The depot and workshops for the trolleybuses was located in Milton on Milton Road between Hale and Castlemaine Streets. The former depot was demolished to make way for the redeveloped Suncorp Stadium.

Tramway closure

The tramway closure was notable for the speed with which it was carried out. Several hundred replacement buses were purchased from British vehicle manufacturer Leyland, at the time the largest single bus purchase in the world. The sudden acquisition of so many buses was to have repercussions in later years. Initially the Leyland Panther buses proved unreliable, and as a result, older front-engined mounted buses such as the Leyland Mk III Regals, dating from the 1940s, were retained well past their normal replacement date. Once the problems with the Panthers were ironed out, overall fleet numbers and maintenance requirements were reduced. Nevertheless, the fleet retained many older buses from the 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1975, the Whitlam Labor federal government made $80 million available to the Bjelke-Petersen National Party Queensland state government, intended to be passed on to Brisbane City Council for the purchase of new, replacement buses. The government refused to transfer the funds to the council, instead using the money to restore Parliament House and construct the Parliamentary Annexe building.Fact|date=February 2008

Ageing fleet

As the replacement bus fleet aged, their maintenance requirements steadily increased, at a time when labour and spare parts costs had risen sharply. Further, as the tram replacement buses started to wear out at about the same time and needed replacement, the council was faced with another large capital outlay. Subsequently in 1976, the council was able to negotiate federal funding, enabling them to purchase Volvo B-59M buses, its first fleet acquisitions in seven years.

Patronage on the buses continued to decline, despite the best efforts of the Department of Transport hampered by rising fuel and labour costs, together with tightening budgets, leading to further cuts in services. An ageing bus fleet, some of which had been in service since the 1940s, made the service increasingly unattractive.

A further hindrance was the council's own aggressively pro-car 1964 City Plan, requiring all developments to include car parking, but did not require the provision of any facilities that might advantage public transport. By the 1980s, bus patronage had dropped to approximately 40,000,000 passenger journeys per annum.

However, this was not to say that the council completely failed to invest in public transport. New depots were constructed at Carina and Toowong,When|date=February 2008 with modern workshops also constructed at the Toowong depot with the former tram workshops at Milton decommissioned. A network of express routes were introduced called "CityXpress", using buses with comfortable, high-backed seating, bolstered patronage, particularly in outer suburbs, and the underground Queen Street Bus Station opened in 1988 to facilitate passenger movement. The department's administration was relocated to the Brisbane Administration Centre (BAC) along with most of the council's other administrative units.When|date=February 2008 Slowly the decline in patronage was halted, although costs continued to outstrip ticket revenue.


In the 1990s, Brisbane City Council corporatised its transport services to form Brisbane Transport, a council-owned commercial businesses managed at arm's length from the council and providing consultancy services back to it. Brisbane Transport's ferry services were contracted-out to private operator Metrolink Queensland, a joint venture with French company Transdev.

The fall in patronage has been reversed in recent times by the introduction of a single integrated ticketing system for all of South East Queensland's public transport operators, known as TransLink. The construction of grade-separated busways and the introduction of several high-frequency express routes, known as bus upgrade zones, has also seen patronage rise substantially for the first time in decades. According to a press release on 3 July 2006, patronage on bus services rose 24% in a two year period, from 46 million in the year prior to the introduction of TransLink, to more than 57 million in its second year of its operation. The success of Translink, along with the rise in petrol prices and greater environmental awareness, is making public transport a more attractive option, financially and consciously, for many commuters. In turn this has led to problems such as overcrowding, particularly during morning and afternoon peak hours. [ [] TransLink bus patronage booms in the South-East, TransLink, 5 July 2006]


Brisbane Transport operates its services from seven different depots around the Brisbane City Council area. Many of these depots can share routes with other depots in overlapping areas.

Generally, each of Brisbane Transport's buses are allocated to a particular depot, and displays a letter prefix for that depot before its bus number on at least the front and rear of its body, and occasionally rooftops.

*Bowen Hills ("A") – serves some northern routes and operates all routes between New Farm and West End.
*Carina ("C") – serves all eastern routes and some south-eastern routes from Garden City to Wynnum and Bulimba.
*Garden City ("G") – serves south-eastern routes from Browns Plains and Sunnybank, to Wishart and Coorparoo. This depot is also the location of Brisbane Transport's head office.
*Larapinta ("L") – a satellite depot of Carina and Garden City depots, it shares southern, western and eastern services. Larapinta is also a temporary bus depot until the new depot in Willawong opens that will feature a bus workshop that is much comparable to the Toowong one.
*Richlands ("R") – a satellite depot of the Toowong depot, it shares services on western routes, and some services to Parkinson and Browns Plains.
*Toowong ("T") – serves South Western and North West Routes from Brookside and The Gap, to Inala and Forest Lake.
*Virginia ("V") – serves the majority of northern routes from Nudgee Beach and Brighton, to Brookside and the Gap.

The Garden City, Toowong and Virginia depots are equipped with compressed natural gas refilling facilities for gas-powered buses.

Former depots

*Bracken Ridge ("B") – only ever considered a short-term depot by Brisbane Transport, it was closed in 2001, several years after the Virginia depot had opened.
*Cribb Street, Milton – never a formal depot, this area of land was occasionally used by the council as temporary storage for buses owing to its proximity to the Milton bus and tram workshops. Last used in 1983.
*Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba – shared with trams, buses parked in the depot forecourt and at the rear (eastern end) of the tram sheds. Between 1969 and 1974, the depot was used solely by buses. The site was subsequently sold by the Brisbane City Council for commercial redevelopment. One bay of the depot building was dismantled and re-erected at the Brisbane Tramway Museum at Ferny Grove.
*Light Street, Newstead ("L") – closed for commercial redevelopment, first used as a transport depot in 1885 when it was the main tram depot for Brisbane's horse tram network. Until 1968, the depot was shared with trams with buses parked along the western (Wickham Street) frontage and north of the tram shed. When the tram shed was demolished, buses were parked where the shed once stood.
*Milton – shared with trolleybuses and closed when the trolleybus network was abandoned in 1969. The former depot site is now part of Suncorp Stadium.


Brisbane Transport's fleet is steadily being replaced with low-floor compressed natural gas buses, such as 217 Scania L94UB models with 180 new MAN 18.310 low-floor gas buses to come and a further option for 120. New MAN NG313F articulated buses are being delivered to the Garden City depot every fortnight.Fact|date=February 2008 It currently operates just over 800 buses and provided 53.1 million passenger trips in the 2004/2005 financial year,Fact|date=February 2008 reportedly the highest since 1974.weasel-inline|date=February 2008


Brisbane Transport operates a number of different public services. Most of them runs to the Brisbane central business district, while some services operate as feeder services to train stations. It also provides school bus services which are usually similar to normal routes with variations to/from schools. They also have routes to and from stadiums before and after matches and concerts, and during major exhibition such as the Royal Queensland Show.

Route numbering

Routes are numbered according to TransLink bus route numbering system: [ [ Translink Bus Services] retrieved 8 December, 2006]
*Brisbane north – routes 193, 195, 196, 197, 199, 300-398, 470
*Brisbane south – routes 100-199
*Brisbane east – routes 200-236
*Brisbane west – routes 100-110, 115, 122, 123, 402-476
*Brisbane inner city – CBD Loop, routes 66, 109, 199, 197, 196, 193, 195, 323, 470
**Loop – a free weekday service running two routes (clockwise and anti-clockwise) in the central business district from approximately 8am to 5pm every 10 minutes.
*Great Circle Line – two circular routes, 598 (anti-clockwise) and 599 (clockwise), connecting major suburban shopping centres without going through the Brisbane central business district.
*NightLink – late-night services on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 12am and 6am. Run on various established routes, although starting in Fortitude Valley, all NightLink services have the prefix "N" before the route number. Some routes are operated by other private bus operators for TransLink.


*Brimson, Samuel, "The Tramways of Australia", Dreamweaver Books, 1983. ISBN 0-949825-01-8
*Brisbane City Council Annual Reports (various between 1925 and 1974)
*Clark, Howard R. and David R. Keenan, "Brisbane Tramways - The Last Decade", Transit Press, 1977 (Reprinted 1985). ISBN 0-909338-01-9
*J.R. Cole, "Shaping a City: Greater Brisbane 1925-1985", Brisbane 1984
*R. Deskins, P. Hyde and C. Struble, "Slow at Frog - A Short History of the Brisbane Trolleybus System", Brisbane Tramway Museum, 2006. ISBN 0-9597322-2-5

External links

* [ Brisbane City Council – Buses]
* [ Brisbane Bus Operators - the basic guide to TransLink Operators]
* [ Brisbane Transport bus route listings]
* [ The Enthusiasts Guide to Brisbane Transport Buses]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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