Queensland Bus Industry Council
Brisbane is in real danger of grinding to a halt if bus infrastructure is not drastically improved. That’s the stark warning from Queensland’s peak body representing the bus industry.
Executive Director of Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) David Tape has foreshadowed enormous congestion if transport infrastructure in the south-east is not fixed now, and has pointed the finger at the Federal Government.
“We talk about congestion, but the only way to fix the problem is for governments to stop playing politics and work together to fund infrastructure projects, and so far Canberra is ignoring the reality,” he said.
“The Prime Minister calls himself the ‘infrastructure prime minister’ but the truth is that the former government invested far more into transport infrastructure.
“While politicians talk, Queensland is facing a future of congested roads and chaos.”
QBIC, which recently released its ‘Moving Queensland’ blueprint for the future, has called for an expansion of the existing busways network in conjunction with dedicated bus lanes, increasing Park n Ride capacity and better integration between different modes of transport.
“We can’t just keep building more roads; we need to take stock of what is already in place and use it smarter.”
Mr Tape said buses carry more than 67 per cent of the public transport in the south-east and every bus takes approximately 50 cars off the road.
“Bus infrastructure needs to be considered in the planning process for new developments and residential building projects, and we need better bus feeder networks into the train system.”
He pointed to the stalled Eastern Busway project which has the green light from the State Government, support from Brisbane City Council, but needs federal funding to proceed.
“At the moment, buses are stuck in Brisbane’s traffic jams like every other vehicle, which means there is less incentive for people to leave their cars at home.
“It’s time for governments to wake up to the problem before the region grinds to a halt.”
Media Contacts: Lyall Mercer – 0413 749 830 // Barbara Gorogh – 0435 909 608
The peak body for Queensland’s bus industry has condemned the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) for making outrageous accusations about bus safety in the Sunshine State.
A television report this week aired unfounded and damaging claims from the TWU about the mechanical safety of Queensland buses.
Queensland Bus Industry Council Executive Director David Tape has vehemently denied the baseless claims and demanded the facts be made public.
Mr Tape says the vehicle safety was paramount to all bus operations in Queensland and that the ‘bus age profile’ and the State Government's six monthly inspection checks were the best in Australia.
"Bus operators work with the Government to inject tens of millions of dollars annually into the continuous upgrading and ongoing maintenance of the bus fleet in Queensland" Mr Tape said.
"That has resulted in a modern, well presented and most importantly safe fleet across the state”.
“Bus transport, by any measure, is the safest form of travel so for the TWU to make outrageous and unsubstantiated claims in relation to bus safety is simply irresponsible" he said.
Mr Tape says accidents involving buses were unfortunate but sadly inevitable.
“When you’re on the road and clock up as many kilometres as our fleet does, our buses are right in the midst of the normal traffic mix”.
Furthermore, every single bus incident, whether it be a collision or fire, is fully investigated by police and transport authorities.
“Let me state this vital point, the cause of the incident is rarely linked to the mechanical failure or safety of the vehicle “Mr Tape argued.
"We are immensely proud of our excellent safety and record and the public should rely on facts and not baseless propaganda spread by the TWU.”
The announcement by State Transport Minister Jackie Trad of an extension to the Eastern Busway should be supported by Federal Government funding and started at the earliest opportunity, according to the state’s bus industry.
In welcoming the announcement, Executive Director of the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) David Tape said investment in infrastructure helps future proof the liveability of our cities by reducing congestion and travel times for passengers.
“In 2013/14 there were 188.33 million passenger trips on bus, rail and ferry across Queensland, and over 67 per cent of the trips in the south east corner were on bus,” Mr Tape explained.
“One bus can take up to 50 cars off our roads.”
He said more bus transport infrastructure is needed across South East Queensland, and the State Government is on the right track in announcing their intention to extend the Eastern Busway underneath the old Myer site at Coorparoo and provide a dedicated bus lane on Old Cleveland Road between Buranda and Capalaba.
“This is the beginning of what QBIC hopes is a renewed focus on the future of transport, and we are encourage by the minister’s determination not to accept ‘no’ from the Federal Government.”
QBIC recently launched its ‘Moving People Queensland’ plan which calls for the State Government to actively pursue policy directions which will deliver four critical infrastructure objectives, including a ‘Busway’ expansion plan and dedicated bus lanes on high frequency routes.
Mr Tape said a more efficient, effective and environmentally responsible passenger transport system will bring huge benefits to the state.
“We applaud any effort to recognise the major role of bus transportation and to have a futuristic approach.”
The peak body representing Queensland’s bus industry has congratulated Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on her appointment as the new Minister for Transport.
Executive Director of Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) David Tape said he enjoyed a good relationship with Ms Trad when she was the opposition transport spokesperson and he is pleased she is continuing in the role.
Mr Tape said he is seeking a more inclusive relationship with the new Government, noting that buses are the largest public transport provider.
“We are looking forward to working with Jackie to deliver stability to bus operators across Queensland and returning to negotiated contracts,” he said.
Prior to the state election QBIC revealed that many bus operators across Queensland were living in fear that they would be replaced by out of state bus companies who could afford to initially run at a loss to meet the Newman Government’s proposed open tender criteria.
Mr Tape said the industry group had campaigned for the past year against the proposed changes, arguing that it was bad policy that would destroy Queensland companies and local jobs.
“We welcomed Labor’s pre-election commitment that if elected, they would scrap the tender process, reintroduce negotiated contracts and better engage with the industry.
“We are now greatly looking forward to working closely with the new minister to forge a better way forward and continue to deliver excellent bus services across the state.”
The state’s peak bus industry body has welcomed a commitment by Queensland Labor to scrap the Newman Government’s controversial new bus tender process and reintroduce direct negotiations.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) said many in the industry are living in fear that they will be replaced by out of state bus companies who can afford to initially run at a loss to meet the State Government’s new criteria.
The QBIC has launched a transport blueprint for the state, “Moving People Queensland”, which has received endorsement from Labor.
In a letter from deputy opposition leader Tim Mulherin, Labor committed to “immediately halt the Newman Government’s destructive and divisive competitive tendering approach to bus contracts and revert to a negotiated contract process with operators.”
Mr Mulherin also acknowledged that the LNP’s approach had “the potential to drive locally owned and operated bus operators out of business”, and committed Labor to establishing a new independent statutory authority to guide the state’s infrastructure program.
QBIC executive director David Tape said the commitment showed an understanding of transport needs.
“This will provide for certainty of contracts and a continuation of business for small to medium bus operators in Queensland.”
“Finally there is some hope to retain Queensland business and Queensland jobs.”
The QBIC has called on the LNP to match Labor’s commitment.
The LNP’s focus on the BaT Tunnel and carparks for train stations shows the Government doesn’t understand transport needs, according to the peak body representing Queensland’s bus industry.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) has launched a transport blueprint for the future, which calls for more frequent bus schedules, more investment in transport infrastructure and better cooperation between industry and government.
Executive Director David Tape said more people relied on buses than trains and other public transport, with State Government figures showing bus travel accounting for over 67 per cent of public transport in SE Queensland and over 93 per cent in the regions.
“Our solution is simple and workable. Every bus on the road is estimated to save 50 cars, and if we focus on better bus infrastructure and more services, we won’t need to keep building as many roads.”
The QBIC also slammed the State Government for a lack of industry consultation during the last three years, which resulted in the Government changing the bus tender process, a move the association warned recently would see many bus operators go out of business.
Mr Tape said he has received a commitment from Labor deputy leader Tim Mulherin that if elected, the ALP would scrap the tender process, reintroduce negotiated contracts and better engage with the industry.
“We welcome Labor’s commitment as it will provide for certainty of contracts and a continuation of business for small to medium bus operators in Queensland.”
Calling on the LNP to match Labor’s commitment, he revealed that many in the industry who have voted for the Liberal and National Parties all their lives were disillusioned and would vote against the party for the first time.
The QBIC’s transport blueprint, “Moving People Queensland” is now available.
The failure of Queensland airline Skytrans will be repeated “a hundredfold” in the bus industry across the state if the Newman Government doesn’t immediately reverse its decision to put bus contracts to open tender.
This is the prediction from the state’s peak industry body, the Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) who says the State Government has failed Queensland companies through a “cost-cutting obsession that is counter-productive.”
QBIC executive director David Tape said small and medium size companies – many family businesses – are living in fear that they will be replaced by out of state bus companies who can afford to initially run at a loss to meet the State Government’s new tender process.
“Until now, the State Government has renewed bus contracts by direct negotiation, as they know the profit margins and have the power to set them,” Mr Tape revealed.
“But suddenly, and without giving us specific details, they have announced that any company anywhere, with no investment in the region, can win a bus contract in 2015 by simply slashing prices.”
Mr Tape said a single bus costs around $400K and local operators have invested in other infrastructure and employment in order to service bus routes according to the Government’s guidelines.
“Now they tell us they don’t care about our investment and they are happy to allow an out of state company with a willingness to run at a loss to take over the contract, while the local company goes out of business.”
He said engagement with the industry by the Government has been severely lacking. “Open and transparent communication from Government has not been forthcoming to date.
“They are treating Queensland companies with contempt and hoping we stay silent before the election because post-election, many Queensland bus companies may not even exist.
“Well, we are not staying silent, and are asking for a pre-election commitment that the Government will change course.”
Bus services across Queensland could be slashed and safety standards compromised if the Newman Government proceeds with plans to implement an open tender process for bus routes next year, according to the industry’s peak body.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new process, which has been rejected by other states, could also result in the closure of established Queensland companies and widespread job losses.
QBIC executive director David Tape called the move a “cynical cost-cutting exercise”. “The Government has not publicised their plans and has even refused to be open with the industry about their motives.
“They are clearly attempting to hide what they know will be huge ramifications for bus services, safety standards and jobs across Queensland.”
He said Queensland companies could be destroyed overnight, replaced with companies from anywhere.
“Many of these operators are family companies that have been servicing their local areas and investing into local communities for decades.”
In the past, bus routes have been awarded by direct negotiations, a process that ensures a high standard of service.
“Our industry is regulated, and the Government knows every operator’s profits. They already have the power to set the profit margin.”
Instead, every route will be subject to a process that will see companies fighting to save every cent possible, in order to obtain the cheapest tender.
“When costs are slashed something is compromised – whether that be services, maintenance, safety or employees wages and conditions.”
“Even now, operators are not spending. Why would they when they might be out of business next year?”
“It’s a mess we do not have to have, with no good outcome.” The QBIC has called on the Government to immediately change the process.
“The lives of bus customers and school children, and the future of Queensland companies, are more important than trying to save a few dollars.”
The state’s bus industry has accused the Queensland Government of trying to cut costs at the expense of public safety, by changing the way it awards bus contracts.
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) says the new open-tender process announced by the Government is unworkable and has been rejected by other states.
QBIC executive director David Tape has warned, “This is a cynical cost-cutting exercise that has come about through the Commission of Audit.”
“When costs are slashed something is compromised, and in this case it will be services, maintenance or safety.”
He said the move has also placed the entire industry in limbo, as no bus company in South East Queensland has the certainty of being in business after October 2015.
“We can’t guarantee jobs so drivers are leaving; operators are doing basic replacement and essential spending only and no one will buy a company that only has a year of life guaranteed.
“The open tender decision has wiped hundreds of millions of dollars in goodwill off the value of Queensland bus companies that was built over decades, and will cost local jobs.”
Mr Tape said the industry has no issue with the Government’s aim of ‘contestability’, but believes this can be achieved through direct negotiations.
“The irony is that the Government already regulates the industry to the point that they know every operator’s profits, so all they need to do is set the profit margin and they have the most economical service,” he explained.
He said the State Government refuses to directly provide details of the process or answer the industry’s questions.
“We’ve had rhetoric and spin but no answers, no certainty and no solutions.”
The Queensland Bus Industry Council (QBIC) and Bus Industry Confederation of Australia (BIC) will deliver the first ever combined State and National conference and exhibition at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 28th of September to the 1st of October.
This event will bring together in excess of 900 delegates from Australia and overseas to participate in both State and National programs under the banner of the Australasia Bus & Coach Conference & Expo. Over 100 exhibitors will be present, filling the Exhibition centre and northern lawn area with what this Industry has to offer, said David Tape, Executive Director of the Queensland Bus Industry Council.
Keynote speakers include the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Warren Truss (Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) and Assistant Minister for Public Transport in Queensland Steve Minnikin MP, along with a range of other key decision and policy makers in Australia.
The exhibition will be opened to the general public on Tuesday the 30th of September from 2pm to 4pm. “This is an exciting event for our Industry and we welcome families to attend and see the quality and safety initiatives now present in our buses and coaches here in Australia”, said David Tape.
Media contact: David Tape 0407 002 970
Bus Australia Network