Via the ABC:
Brisbane commuter Amy Miller has tried every option to get to work faster, but her 14 kilometre journey takes her up to an hour or more regardless of which route she takes.
Ms Miller is not alone with commuters across south-east Queensland spending an increasing amount of time traveling each day, with major roads in the region crawling at speeds as low as 15 kilometres per hour during peak periods.
The congestion crisis has prompted warnings that parts of the state will be in total gridlock in decades to come without significant investment in new infrastructure and a clear plan for the future.
Data released last month from the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey found commuting times had risen across Australia and people were considering quitting their jobs because of it.
The survey found workers now spend on average 4.5 hours a week getting to and from work — a rise of 23 per cent since 2002.
Sydneysiders have always fared the worst, closely followed by Melbourne, but both are now being chased down by Brisbane, which has blown out by almost 50 per cent in recent years.
‘Every option takes up to an hour’
Ms Miller lives just 14 kilometres from her place of employment and has four alternate routes to work, but traffic congestion and limited public transport mean every option can take her up to an hour or more.
Ms Miller says she is worried it will take her even longer in the future, as the population increases.
The single mother of three leaves home at 7:00am three days a week, to drive from her home at Upper Kedron in Brisbane’s north-west to her part-time job at East Brisbane.
Ms Miller has access to free parking at work, but the cost of the commute is also a big factor in the family budget.
“I do find that petrol is a big expense every week,” she said.
“But I don’t tend to take toll roads or the tunnels just because that would add so much more on to each commute.”
Data from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) shows Brisbane households spend $19,844 a year on transport — above the national average of $18,277.
An RACQ report found Brisbane’s average petrol price was 141.9 cents per litre in June — more expensive than Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
And short-term off-street parking is the most expensive in the country, with an average hourly fee of $31.41.
Average speeds are slowing: RACQ
Data released by the department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and analysed by motoring lobby group RACQ showed that in June 2019, Sandgate Road at Clayfield was Brisbane’s slowest spot during the morning commute, at 15 kph.
On the Centenary Motorway approaching the Toowong roundabout in the city’s west, the average speed dropped to 24 kph between 6:00am and 9:00am.
Research conducted by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) confirmed the trend, showing that average speeds in Brisbane dropped by 3.7 per cent between 2013 and 2018.
RACQ Head of Public Policy, Rebecca Michael, said average speeds were slower on most major motorways, compared to the same time last year.
“No-one wants to sit in traffic, it’s extremely frustrating,” Dr Michael said.
“Travel speeds outside of those peak periods are also dropping.
“So congestion is no longer just an issue for commuters, it is impacting people all the way across the city at all times of the day.”
Dr Michael said the data showed traffic delays were a worsening problem on the Gold and Sunshine coasts too.
The slowest spot on the Gold Coast in June was High Street at Southport, with morning speeds averaging 15 kph.
On the Sunshine Coast, morning traffic on Aerodrome Road at Maroochydore travelled at an average of 16 kph.
“Where people travel in and around those really popular areas, not only to live but also to visit, we see that congestion is worsening there as well.”
Dr Michael said congestion was having an impact on the economy, with increased freight costs being passed on to consumers.
She said governments needed to plan better for future growth.
“At the end of the day you have to match population growth, and that comes at a cost.”
Top 5 slowest spots in Brisbane (Inbound 6:00am to 9:00am) (June 2019)
Sandgate Road (Junction Rd to East-West Arterial) 15 kph Western Arterial Road (Jubilee Terrace) (Elimatta Dr to Simpsons Rd) 20 kph South Pine Road (Stafford Rd to Samford Rd) 21 kph South Pine Road (Kremzow Rd to Old Northern Rd) 23 kph Junction Road (Sandgate Road to Kedron Park Road) 24 kph
Top 5 slowest motorway sections (Inbound 6:00am to 9:00am) (June 2019)
Centenary Motorway (1.5km South of Toowong roundabout to Miskin St) 24 kph Centenary Motorway (Dandenong Rd to Seventeen Mile Rocks Rd) 28 kph Ipswich Motorway (Harcourt Road to Oxley Road) 28 kph Pacific Motorway (O’Keefe St to Hawthorne Rd) 30 kph Centenary Motorway (Sumners Rd to Dandenong Rd) 32 kph
Top 5 slowest spots on the Gold Coast (Weekdays 6:00am to 9:00am) (June 2019)
High Street (North St to Queen St) 16 kph Gold Coast Highway (TE Peters Dr to Hooker Bvd) 19 kph Thomas Drive (Bundall Rd to Elkhorn Ave) 19 kph Thomas Drive (Elkhorn Ave to Bundall Rd) 19 kph Southport Nerang Road (Ferry Rd to Gold Coast Hwy) 20 kph
Top 5 slowest spots on the Sunshine Coast (Weekdays 6:00am to 9:00am) (June 2019)
Morayfield Road (North of Uhlmann road to Torrens Road) 15 kph Aerodrome Road to Alexandra Parade 16 kph Anzac Ave (Oxley Ave to Elizabeth Ave) 23 kph Caloundra Road (Bulcock St to Baldwin St) 23 kph Maroochydore Route (Walan St to Buderim Ave) 23 kph
Public transport ‘just wouldn’t be doable’
Despite traffic delays and rising costs, lobby group Rail Back on Track (RBoT) says commuters aren’t flocking to public transport as an alternative.
“(Patronage) hasn’t been keeping pace with population increase,” RBoT spokesman Robert Dow said.
“The population’s gone up about 15 per cent over that period, the last ten years, and patronage growth has actually stalled.”
Mr Dow said analysis of TransLink and TMR data shows 181 million trips were taken in SEQ in 2009/10, but that figure declined to 175 million trips by 2012.
Numbers recovered last financial year, with a total of 189 million trips.
“That’s partly because of the new fare structure that was introduced in December 2016 – it was a better deal,” Mr Dow said.
Ms Miller is one of those who doesn’t see the benefit in leaving her car at home.
“(Given) where I live and where I work, it just wouldn’t be doable in a realistic timeframe,” she said.
“I’d have to get trains, or trains and buses, or multiple buses to get to and from work.
“It’s just not something that I can do and be able to leave home at somewhat of a reasonable hour and get home at a reasonable hour for the kids.”
Mr Dow said frequency of services, access to transport nearby and overall journey time were the key to success.
He said discounted monthly and annual tickets should be reinstated, when the State Government rolls out new smart ticketing across Queensland later this year.
“They encourage high use public transport.
“The more people we can get on public transport, the more we ameliorate road congestion.”
Research by the RMIT Centre for Urban Research found that only 12 per cent of Brisbane homes have a public transport stop within 400 metres, where a service runs at least every 30 minutes.
“This means that most people living in Brisbane don’t have a very frequent service that’s easy to get to,” lead report author Dr Lucy Gunn said.
“It makes it inconvenient for people to catch transport.
“If you haven’t got a service that’s coming regularly, then you have to find alternate ways of getting from where you live to where you need to be.”
There is no “congestion crisis”, “infrastructure crisis”, “cracking apartment crisis”, “wages crisis”, “water crisis”, “education crisis”, “Hong Kong crisis” nor “political crisis”.
They are all exactly the same thing. A self-imposed “immigration crisis” that is steadily sinking living standards and the national interest to enrich a tiny number of billionaires in retail and property, such Gerry Hervey and Harry Triguboff.