Sunshine Coast Council’s Mass Transit Project is more about land-use transformation in the urban corridor (and the potential for re-zoning for higher density development) than it is about public transport for the whole region.
In its response to the proposals, OSCAR (Organisation of Sunshine Coast Association of Residents) says that good public transport is important, and the community sees it as important, in providing an alternative to car use across the region.
While councils are not responsible for the provision of public transport, which remains with the State, this should not be an excuse for doing nothing.
Following extensive engagement with its membership OSCAR has not supported the Sunshine Coast Council’s five preferred transit options. What OSCAR does support is an option that provides region-wide bus service enhancements operating on new and existing routes, with greater frequency, more direct routes and better connections but also incorporating the provision of new technology including a more modern and agile bus fleet.
OSCAR’s proposal for enhanced bus routes across the region represent an immediate and affordable solution for staged improvements to public transport in the region. The proposal calls for an extended trial of new express public transport routes on dedicated bus lanes, initially using existing buses but then replacing them with emerging technology (e.g., electric, hydrogen, solar).
Noosa to Maroochydore via Sunshine Coast Airport is one of the initial routes proposed. The proposed route 620X recognises the importance of an express link to / from the Sunshine Coast Airport in both north and south directions.
Each of Sunshine Coast Council’s preferred options (including light rail, trackless trams, wire free light rail, bus rapid transit) have a long timeframe for implementation and action is required now if we are serious about reducing the ongoing cost of congestion.
Peregian Beach Community Association (PBCA) representative on OSCAR, John Hare, reports that population growth and development pressures “south of the border” are ongoing concerns for Noosa residents. Transport options that protect Noosa’s “liveability” need to be part of the mix.
OSCAR says there needs to be recognition of the considerable traffic movements between the Sunshine Coast and Noosa local government areas; something referred to, but not addressed, in the Options Analysis.
With the Sunshine Motorway carrying more than 30,000 vehicles each day between Maroochydore and communities like Noosa and Eumundi, something needs to be done now.