Community feedback needed on public transport strategy

Community feedback is being sought on a new public transport strategy that will set the future direction for improved connectivity across the Sunshine Coast.

An extra 190,000 people are expected to move into the region over the next 20 years. This will require an extra 87,000 dwellings and will see 800,000 more trips per years by individuals.

In response to the growing pressure on the region’s road and rail network, the Queensland Government has released a draft Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport Strategy that contains the government’s vision for future public transport options in the region.

“The Sunshine Coast is Queensland’s third biggest city and as the region’s population continues to grow, so to does the need for an efficient and well connected public transport network,” Transport Minister Mark Bailey said.

“The draft South East Queensland Regional Transport Plan and ShapingSEQ strategy both outlined the specific needs of the Southern Sunshine Coast community, which this strategy directly responds to.

“What we now have is a blueprint for short, medium and long-term transport developments in the region – whether that be bus corridors, heavy rail or multi-modal connections.

The plan is broadly addressed across four key factors:

  1. Coastal: new mass transit service between Caloundra and Maroochydore providing a reliable and direct high-capacity public transport connection for shorter trips on the coast.
  2. Centre: a link via the protected Caloundra and Maroochydore Corridor Options Study (CAMCOS) that provides for longer distance trips on the coast and to the rest of South East Queensland.
  3. Western: upgraded infrastructure along the existing North Coast rail line.
  4. Key connectors: new and upgraded east-west bus connections, more dedicated bus priority and high frequency routes and local services that spread the benefits of mass transit.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the State Government’s new draft public transport strategy for the southern area of the Sunshine Coast and strongly encouraged all residents to have their say.

Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt said engaging with the community on the draft strategy would be essential.

“I know my community, and Sunshine Coast residents more broadly, are passionate about their area and the infrastructure they need to get from a to b using public transport.

Sunshine Coast Federal MP Andrew Wallace said he would continue to fight proposals to introduce Light Rail on the coastal strip.

“Sunshine Coast locals have been crying out for better public transport for years and I welcome the fact that the Queensland State Government has finally begun to take some notice,” he said.

Mr Wallace announced his own vision for public transport on the Sunshine Coast in September 2020 on the site of the CAMCOS corridor south of Baringa.

“We need heavy rail from Beerwah, along the CAMCOS corridor through Caloundra and on to Kawana and Maroochydore; and we need that heavy rail to be supported by a significantly expanded, reliable and integrated network of bus services throughout the region,” he said.

“This approach would reduce congestion on the Bruce Highway and on gridlocked local roads like Nicklin Way, Caloundra Road and Kawana Way. It would ensure that our major population centres are better connected, that fewer local residents need to get in their cars, and that the benefits of public transport are distributed throughout our entire community.”