Queensland’s public transport ridership fell by as much as 80% in 2020, then rebounded to around 70% of normal ridership levels last year.
CBD is avoided again as people work from home. Sources said Brisbane timetables ridership of public transport now represents “around 40%” of pre-pandemic levels.
“The government is considering a Saturday or Sunday program for trains and I think it will be quite similar for ferries as well,” a source said.
“There will also be service reductions for buses. “
As in other sectors, the Omicron variant reduced the number of drivers, station workers and support staff available for work, some infected and others isolated as close contacts.
The biggest impact on the public transport workforce is expected in the next three weeks.
“But certainly we are starting to see impacts on staff across the network, most people test positive for COVID-19,” the source said.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey last week delayed the regular January 1 fare hike, to help support public transport users, and signaled the possibility of cutting services.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the efforts of Queenslanders to work from home to slow the spread of the virus have had a substantial impact on the use of public transport,” Mr Bailey said at the time. .
“In light of this, the planned tariff increase will be implemented in July 2022 instead, to support the Queenslanders during this difficult time.”
Mr. Bailey confirmed that the schedules were under review.
“Queensland Rail and Translink are closely monitoring the impact of the transmission of COVID-19 on the availability of bus, train and ferry crews and are considering a series of emergency measures,” he said.
“This may include a temporary reduction in services, as is already happening in New South Wales and on other public transport systems around the world.”
Brisbane City Council – which manages the main fleet of commuter buses, CityCats and ferries – said reduced services must be carefully curtailed.
Acting Civic Cabinet Chair for Transport Angela Owen said Brisbane City Council buses and ferries were not immune to the impacts of COVID-19.
“Any state government initiative to cut services should carefully consider the impact on commuters who depend on public transport,” said Cr Owen.
The government has encouraged people in Queensland to work from home where possible and to avoid crowds.