Thursday 29 December 2011
Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a significant extension to free New Year's Eve public transport – giving commuters across the entire South East Queensland rail, bus and ferry network an additional four-and-a-half hours to get home without paying a fare.
Ms Palaszczuk today announced Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast commuters would now travel for free from 9pm until 5.30am on December 31/January 1, beyond the original deadline of 1am announced earlier this week.
"Since we announced the free New Year's Eve Service between 9pm and 1am I've received a lot of feedback from commuters who intend to take advantage of it to get home from fireworks in Brisbane and on both coasts or the Brisbane Roar game at Suncorp Stadium," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I've listened to that feedback and decided to extend the period throughout the night to ensure that those celebrating well into the early hours of New Year's Day have a public transport option for their return journey home.
"In all three regions, fireworks displays start at midnight and the last thing we want is bottlenecks at bus and train and ferry points.
"So now everyone – especially those families who might be trying to hurry their kids along to make the train or bus in time – can take their time.
"This will ensure nobody misses out and everyone can travel safely and comfortably."
On December 31, more than 1000 extra bus, train and ferry services will operate across the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coasts, with many services operating after midnight.
Additional trains will operate on the Beenleigh, Gold Coast, Ferny Grove, Ipswich, Richlands, Shorncliffe and Sunshine Coast lines. Extra CityCat and ferry services will also operate at regular intervals throughout the afternoon and evening, with some delays during the fireworks.
"I believe public transport should be the preferred option for those travelling to the major fireworks and party venues across South East Queensland with many roads closed and traffic congestion expected," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"It also means we won't see big delays at taxi ranks.
"This is a Queensland first and if it's a success – as I'm sure it will be – I'm keen to see it continue in coming years.
"In previous years, TransLink has waived fares for short periods on some parts of the network during major events such as Riverfire to assist moving crowds quickly, so it makes sense to trial a network-wide approach this New Year's Eve.
"This is the first time it's been done across the entire 10,000 sq km network and I'm eager to see how it goes.
"Anyone travelling this weekend should plan their journey and remember that public transport before 9pm will be discounted by 15 per cent for go card users because it's travel in an off-peak period.
"Parents should also remember that children under 5 years of age travel free all the time."
More than half a million people are expected to use public transport across South East Queensland and TransLink has urged commuters to be patient and mindful of others while on public transport and at public transport venues.
Full holiday services, including additional New Year's Eve and New Year's Day services are available at translink.com.au.