In Parliamentary Estimates on Friday 11 December 2020, I asked a series of questions about the potential for bus priority lanes on the Centenary Motorway.
You can read the answer below or in the official Queensland Parliament Record of Proceedings (Hansard).
Mr BERKMAN: I have a question also for the director-general in relation to the Jindalee Bridge upgrade on Centenary Highway, which is funded in the budget but which does not include bus priority lanes proposed in the 2009 Western Brisbane Transport Network Strategy. Can the director-general confirm whether and under what body of work bus priority lanes are being considered for the Centenary corridor from Darra to Toowong?
Mr Scales: I thank the member for the question. The planning study for that upgrade was finalised in March 2019. It will actually reduce the frequency and the severity of crashes. As far as bus movements are concerned, as a general planning tool it depends on what will be the frequency of the bus network. It also depends on other matters such as loadings, origin and destination. If you take what we have done over the past few years in Brisbane, our 29 kilometres of busways are probably the best in the world. We are doing transit lanes where we can and fitting them in where we can.
What we tend to find—and I have seen this not just in this city but in other countries where I have worked—is that enforcing them can be really difficult. If you just take an example here in Brisbane, we used to have some bus-only lanes on Coronation Drive that were removed. Whether that is the right or wrong decision is not a matter for me, but I will be advising the minister on where we should be putting bus lanes and the efficacy of those bus lanes. The member would appreciate that it is the enforcement of those bus lanes. That is why our busways are so effective, because they are 29 kilometres of world-class facilities that are used to great extent. In fact, the busways carry about 18,000 people a day in each direction, which is more than heavy rail. The answer to your question is—I have gone around the houses a bit—that it depends on the frequency required, whether we can get bus lanes in, is it peak or off-peak, and what is the efficacy of it? I will be advising the minister on that.
Mr BERKMAN: Can I just clarify quickly, Acting Chair?
ACTING CHAIR: Just briefly.
Mr BERKMAN: You referred to a planning study completed in 2019. Was that the Centenary Motorway planning study to which you referred?
Mr Scales: Yes, it was.
Mr BERKMAN: Okay. From what you said, it sounds like it did not arrive at firm conclusions about the inclusion of priority bus lanes on the motorway, or did it conclude not to include those lanes?
Mr Scales: I thank the member for the supplementary question. The Centenary Motorway upgrade is mainly about vehicular travel rather than buses. They would have to be interspersed with normal cars, trucks and light vehicles.
Mr BERKMAN: So there are to be no priority bus lanes on the Centenary Motorway following that planning study?
Mr Scales: Not that I am aware of, no.
Mr BERKMAN: Thank you.