In his first major election commitment, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has announced plans to build the ‘Brisbane Metro’, a $1.54 billion subway system.
The rubber-tyred metro rail system would run high-speed, high-frequency services through the CBD in an underground system between Woolloongabba and Herston.
The plan is modelled on similar subway systems in use in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Montreal and Miami.
Under the proposal, passengers would catch a bus to Woolloongabba or Herston, and then change services to the high-frequency Brisbane Metro, which would use parts of the existing southeast and inner northern busways. An underground station would be built at the Cultural Centre, and a portal would be built under Adelaide Street to link North Quay and the King George Square busway.
If the subway system goes ahead, cars would be banned from Victoria Bridge altogether, and 200 buses an hour would be removed from the bridge during morning peak times.
Cr Quirk said the service could carry up to 30,000 passengers an hour. Roughly 170,000 people travel through the city every day at present; a figure that’s expected to climb to 250,000 by 2031.
“The growth of our city and the demand on the bus network to feed this growth is looming as one of the greatest challenges Brisbane is facing,” Cr Quirk said.
“Brisbane Metro will offer a comfortable, high frequency, fast, time-reliable and high-capacity link between the suburbs and inner city using a subway system that is quick and easy to get on and off.
“People’s journeys from the suburbs to the city and home again will be faster.”
Funding for the project will be sought from council and state and federal governments.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has given the project a lukewarm response, calling it a recycled policy that had already been put forward by former Lord Mayor and Premier Campbell Newman. The Premier said the idea may still “interest” the State Government, but only if it fits in with the State Government’s Cross River Rail plans.
Labor’s lord mayoral candidate, Rod Harding, has slammed the proposal. Mr Harding has promised an ‘investigation’ into a light rail system for Brisbane if he wins the election.
“After 30 years in Council Graham Quirk’s big idea for Brisbane is fancy buses on our busways,” Mr Harding said.
“This is not the great leap forward in public transport that Brisbane is calling out for.”
Do you think the Brisbane Metro is the way of the future, or would you prefer a light rail system? Have your say in the comments below!