Free buses drive public transport use
  • Wednesday 20 February 2013

People who caught free buses during the summer holidays are likely to use public transport more in the future as a result of the initiative.

That’s according to results of a survey conducted on Sunshine Coast Council’s Free Holiday Buses program, which is funded by the Public Transport Levy.

Transport Strategy Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said the early survey analysis was promising.

“Almost 90 per cent of the people surveyed said they either would or may use public transport more in the future as a result of the program,” he said.

“Additionally, over a third of people who had never used public transport said that they would use it because of the program.

“This achieves one of our main goals for this initiative – encouraging people to try a modern bus for free to see if they could incorporate public transport into their travel plans on a more regular basis.”

About 250,000 passenger trips were recorded across the 12 day free bus period this year, an average of approximately 20,800 trips per day. Last year there were about 300,000 passenger trips over 14 days, averaging 21,400 trips per day.

Cr Baberowski said that while passenger numbers were slightly down on last year, it was possible that the small decrease was weather related and didn’t take away from the positive result of seeing many new users on the public transport network.

“People are using public transport during the free bus period that never usually would which is really encouraging,” he said.

“The double-decker bus also proved very popular, and was said to be a real show-stopper. Many people jumped on board just for the experience. In fact I would love to hear from people about what they thought about having a Double Decker on the coast.

“Our focus now is to do everything we can to ensure this support for sustainable travel options like public buses continues throughout the year.”

Key findings from the Free Holiday Buses survey include:

  • 96 per cent of respondents support the Free Holiday Buses program
  • 93 per cent were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with the trip on the free buses
  • 24 per cent never usually use public transport
  • 71 per cent said the program had improved their awareness of public transport on the Coast, particularly in relation to public transport service routes (53 per cent)
  • 60 per cent will use public transport more in the future as a result of the Free Holiday Buses and 28 per cent may use public transport
  • 37 per cent of people who had never used public transport said that they would use it as a result of the program.

The Free Holiday Buses program is a partnership between council and TransLink, providing free transport on all Sunshine Coast public buses from 26 December 2012 to 6 January 2013.