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Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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Extending the Brisbane Metro to Brisbane’s airport makes economic sense

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner’s proposal to expand the Brisbane Metro project to Brisbane Airport is an excellent idea.

People who are arriving as tourists at the airport have an option of catching a taxi, an Uber or the Airtrain, but for people who work there every day it’s not affordable,” Cr Schrinner

The Brisbane Metro is a one billion dollar high frequency rapid transit transport system along 21km of existing busway from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to Eight Mile Plains. It includes 18 stations, including 11 interchange stations, two of which will link with Cross River Rail.

The extension proposal utilises the Airport Link tunnel to approach the airport, rather than any new infrastructure having to be put in place and would most likely link with BNE’s SkyGate and the BNE Master Plan’s Mass Transit System

The proposal would improve the accessibility of the public transport network, provide increased mode choice and encourage additional public transport patronage for BNE’s 23,826 employees.

This will be of crucial importance in light of BNE's anticipated growth.  Based on passenger growth the airport's total economic contribution is forecast to grow from its current figure of $4.7 billion per annum to an estimated $8.7 billion by 2040 and employment at the airport is forecast to reach more than 46,000 employees by 2040.

Currently 91 per cent BNE employees use a car to travel to their workplace but only 13 per cent use public transport (some employees use both as part of their commute). 58 per cent of BNE employees have an average commute time in excess of 30 minutes.  
 
The proposal would undoubtedly ease road congestion for fellow Brisbane motorists and reduced commute times - currently estimated at an average 67 minutes each day and has been steadily rising across the past decade. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has previously estimated that road traffic congestion costs for Brisbane will rise from $3.1 billion at present to $5.9 billion by 2030 if we do nothing. 

BNE employees have indicated that higher frequency, more ‘out of hours’ services, more public transport stops across the BNE precinct and greater intermodal connection would all influence increased usage of public transport. The Brisbane Metro extension proposal is consistent with this.

The Brisbane Metro’s cost benefit analysis has previously indicated that for every $1 of total expenditure, Brisbane Metro is expected to return $1.91 of benefits to the local economy.  The proposed extension would strengthen the business case for Brisbane Metro even further.

For the above reasons this proposal is more than just a thought bubble and accordingly warrants serious consideration, support and ultimately implementation.

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