Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Myth Busting
  • Thursday 27 May 2021
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Right now a range of public transport options are being considered in the draft Mass Transit Options Analysis report

We would like to know which option YOU prefer, with the Mass Transit survey open until 22 June.

We’ve busted some common mass transit myths below! 

MYTH: Light Rail is the only option being considered.

FACT: No, Council is considering a wide range of mass transit options and really wants to know what the community thinks about those options. The Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project has previously been known and still sometimes is referred to within the community as the Light Rail Project. This project commenced in 2011 and involved pre-feasibility and feasibility studies and using the technology and transit options available at that time, it was determined that a light rail system was a preferred option. When the business case process commenced in 2018, the decision was taken to open the options to ensure a more robust business case and capitalise on some advances in mass transit technology like electric buses. Sunshine Coast Council and the Queensland government are now able to consider a wider range of transit options. Accordingly, the project is now referred to as the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit Project.

MYTH: You can do the survey as many times as you like to have more influence on the feedback received.

FACT: You can only do the survey once. You will be asked to provide your email address when you register to do the survey.

MYTH: Council has already decided what type of mass transit system it wants, so having a say is a waste of time.

FACT: Council is considering a wide range of mass transit options and really wants to know what the community thinks about those options.

MYTH: The results of the engagement process won’t influence the content of the final Options Analysis document.

FACT: The content of the draft Options Analysis report will be revised in light of the feedback received during the engagement process. So, depending on the feedback received, the content of the final Options Analysis report will either be amended, expanded or qualified. It’s therefore really important that you have your say.  

MYTH: Council is trying to put a lot more people in the urban corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra to justify the need for a mass transit system.

FACT: The Sunshine Coast is a place that more and more people are choosing to call home and the State Government is projecting the population of the urban corridor will keep growing. A good mass transit system will simply provide a viable and attractive alternative to moving between the key places along the corridor and avoid being caught up in traffic congestion.

MYTH: We don’t need a better mass transit system on the Sunshine Coast. We just need to keep expanding the road network to handle all the traffic.

FACT: Sure, it will be important that our road network is properly planned and upgraded as we grow, but simply providing more and more road space will not help us to move around more sustainably. As has been proven the world over, building more roads ultimately leads to more and more reliance on the car and greater and greater traffic congestion. There needs to be a better balance between the car and good quality public transport if our popular destinations are to continue to be places for people, not just cars.

MYTH: Council can’t afford to pay for a mass transit system on the Sunshine Coast.

FACT: Council is undertaking the business case process to prove to the State and Commonwealth Governments that this is a project worth investing in. Much of the cost of delivering the mass transit system would be funded by the State and Commonwealth Governments and the cost of operating the system would be funded by the State Government.

MYTH: We won’t need a mass transit system in the urban corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra because regional rail in the CAMCOS corridor will do the job.

FACT: It’s important to bear in mind that more than 75% of Sunshine Coast residents who are employed have a job on the Sunshine Coast and only 5% have a job that’s located in Brisbane. So it makes sense to service this high number of local employees with a quality local public transport system. Although regional rail in the CAMCOS corridor would perform an important role in linking the Maroochydore City Centre to the centre of South East Queensland, it will have only a few stations spaced many kilometres apart on the edge of the Urban Corridor and would not be able to effectively meet the demand for the majority of local public transport trips in the Urban Corridor. By comparison, a local mass transit system would have many stations located closer to where people live and linking the key places along the Urban Corridor enabling it to satisfy the demand for the majority of local public transport trips in the Urban Corridor.

MYTH: Mass transit will destroy the Sunshine Coast lifestyle.

FACT: Without a good mass transit system, the Sunshine Coast’s high car dependence will continue and trips by private vehicle will increase by more than of 50% over the next 20 years. This means for every 10 cars on the road now there will be at least another 5 cars by 2041, so the Sunshine Coast will become more known for its congested roads than its relaxed and friendly lifestyle.

MYTH: Mass transit systems won’t reduce traffic congestion because traffic congestion just keeps getting worse and worse after the systems are installed.

FACT: The growth of traffic on the transport system generally reflects the growth of the population in the area served by that system. As the population grows in the area, so too does the traffic on the system. Traffic modelling forecasts how much more traffic will use the road network in the future if nothing is done to reduce the reliance on cars. 
When something is done to enable people to travel other than by car - such as installing a mass transit system - some of the forecast growth in traffic on the road network does not occur because some people choose to use the mass transit system instead. As a result, the level of traffic congestion is ultimately less than, or reduced from, what it was forecast to become.

There are good examples of how an efficient mass transit system can reduce the amount of traffic congestion that would otherwise have occurred. One such example is Brisbane’s South East Busway. Although the amount of traffic using the Pacific Motorway has continued to increase and the motorway is now carrying about 5,000 to 6,000 people in a similar number of cars inbound during the morning peak hour, the buses using the adjacent South East Busway are carrying around 15,000 people inbound during the morning peak hour – a three-to-four fold increase in the inbound carrying capacity of that transport corridor. To carry the same number of people on the motorway by car would require another seven or eight lanes in both directions.

The draft Options Analysis report for Sunshine Coast Mass Transit (chapter 12) presents the transport outcomes that could be delivered by the recommended options.
These outcomes show that the recommended options would not cause any appreciable additional delays for Sunshine Coast motorists in 2041. With either a bus rapid transit or light rail option in place, total travel by car each day in 2041 would be around 185,0000 kilometres less. The report’s transport outcomes also show the bus rapid transit and light rail options could  increase the number of daily public transport boardings from around 43,000 to around 76,500 boardings by 2041 and almost double the public transport mode share of all trips on the Sunshine Coast, outcomes that would increase as the mass transit system becomes more continuous and connected. 

MYTH: The Gold Coast light rail system isn’t being used and it has made traffic congestion worse than ever through Southport, Surfers Paradise, and Broadbeach.

FACT: Ridership on the Gold Coast light rail system increased from around 6.3 million passengers in 2014-2015 to more than 10.7 million passengers in 2018-2019 – an increase of 61.8%. Traffic volumes at key locations along the light rail route mostly fell between 2011-2012 and 2018-2019 – with volumes falling by 47% and 16% at the locations monitored at Southport, increasing by 11% in the location monitored at Surfers Paradise and falling by 17% at the location monitored at Broadbeach. 

MYTH: Council is not consulting the community about the potential for urban consolidation in the Urban Corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra.

FACT: The community engagement process invites the community to have its say about the various ways the projected dwelling growth in the urban corridor from Maroochydore to Caloundra could be accommodated, including the ability for those completing the survey to put forward their own ideas about how to accommodate the additional dwellings projected to be required in the corridor.

MYTH: The South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan’s dwelling benchmarks were changed without community consultation. 

FACT: The Queensland Government conducted an extensive community consultation program for the draft South East Queensland Regional Plan that involved engagement activities over a 15-month period. The statutory consultation period was held between 20 October 2016 and 3 March 2017 and attracted 3,324 submissions.

You can Have your say by completing the online survey on public transport options before June 22, 2021.