Skip to main content

Public transport experts say Brisbane has several known public transport blackspots, but the buyers in those suburbs often don’t care.

Lobby group Rail Back on Track’s Robert Dow said the city’s public transport system was intentionally weaker in places perceived to be wealthier, because it was expected more residents owned cars.

“I think they said: These people are rich, they’ve got cars, why should we be giving them public transport,” he said.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said Mr Dow wasn’t far off the mark.

“You could make the distinction that the higher the wealth the lower the reliance on public transport,” he said. “Mount Ommaney is a prime example of that.”

“It’s not the necessarily the case the public transport facilities have a price premium associated with them.”

McDowall one of Brisbane’s public transport blackspots

Mr Dow says Brisbane’s bus network lacks coverage and frequency in many suburbs. Photo: Jorge Branco

Mr Dow identified seven suburbs with the worst access to public transport in the inner to middle ring of Brisbane. He said poor access to trains, low frequency and poorly structured bus networks were a common theme across all seven.

Having a train station in the suburb also didn’t mean it was well connected either. Mr Dow said a strong bus network and more parking at train stations was needed to improve the train network’s viability.

“Train frequency is pretty poor outside of the inner core,” he said. “It needs improved frequency and better feeder buses to key rail and bus stations.”

McDowall one of Brisbane’s public transport blackspots

Mr Lord said CityCat services were popular with buyers in Bulimba. Photo: Robert Shakespeare

Mr Dow said the worst suburbs were Bulimba, Yeronga, Albany Creek, McDowall, Middle Park, Mount Ommaney, and Riverhills, in no particular order.

Based on a commute into the Brisbane city for work beginning at 8.30am, a trip from Yeronga was the shortest, taking commuters 38 minute to travel the almost six kilometres into town.

Next was Mount Ommaney at 45 minutes to travel almost 13 kilometres. Bulimba, the closest of the suburbs listed to the city, had a travel time of 47 minutes.

In Bulimba a lot of buyers were interested in the area because of its access to ferries. “Everyone says to me, ‘am I in walking distance to the ferries’.”

CityCats are the least encumbered form of transport in the city. There’s more chance of getting to work on time because there’s less traffic on the water.

But to get to the City before 8.30am on a Friday, Translink’s Journey Planner only advised taking the ferry to Teneriffe and then catching a bus for the rest of the trip.

Mr Dow also said ferries weren’t a reliable method of public transport. “It really can’t do mass transit, in terms of getting out of Bulimba and into Brisbane.”

Albany Creek and McDowall were the worst, taking an hour and six minutes each to get into the city, from about 15 and 10 kilometres away respectively.

Madeleine Hicks from Hicks Real Estate at Everton Park agreed public transport coverage in this area wasn’t great but said it generally didn’t bother her buyers, though it is a question asked more frequently now.

“It’s generally a hassle to get buses in McDowall,” she said. “The travel time into the city just keeps increasing with the higher volumes of cars on the road.  It is a issue that needs to be addressed as the problem will only get worse in the future.”

Mr Dow advocated for a stronger network, to future-proof currently affluent suburbs from potential demographic changes. “All of a sudden you’ll find there will be five or six adults living in these places, same as New Farm and West End,” he said. “We think every demographic group needs public transport.”


House prices are on the rise. Find out the value of your property now.

Get a free online property report from Hicks Real Estate. It takes seconds.

Hicks Real Estate is a Brisbane based, full-service real estate agency supporting buyers and sell as well as renters and property investors. With almost 20 years experience in the local market, we are the real estate experts you can rely upon.