Getting Around Brisbane
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Public transportation is abundant in Brisbane, but it can be complicated for those who are unfamiliar with the system. For more in-depth information, definitely check out the Translink website, but here’s a briefer on the basics.
Brisbane’s public transport houses three main modes of getting around: the buses, the trains, and the CityCats (the ferry system). Buses cover the most ground, but are often the slowest choice. Bus stops are identified by tall signs that display the daily timetable. Brisbane runs off of a hail-and-ride system, which means that you must flag down the bus in order for it to pick you up. It’s not good enough to simply be sitting at the stop. The bus will pass you by. Trust me. Bus routes can be complicated for the visitor, and the best way to clarify the routes is by going on the Translink website. Drivers are generally happy to answer questions, but it’s always nice when people don’t hold up the line.
Trains are the quickest mode of transportation and can take you to the main areas of Brisbane and its suburbs. Catching the right train can prove a little complicated, so once again check the website. Also, if you’re unsure of where you’re going, ask questions! You do not want to get on the wrong train. All the employees at the station will be happy to answer your questions and let you know which platform to get on.
The favorite mode of transportation though is definitely the CityCat. The ferry system has 14 stops along the Brisbane River and makes for an enjoyable ride to your destination. Stops are clearly labeled and announced while you’re on the ferry, so it makes it easy to know when to get on and when to get off. As enjoyable as this method is, the locations are obviously limited by the river and so it’s possible that once you get off the ferry you will also need to catch a bus.
As for purchasing tickets for the transport, there’s a variety of ways it can be done. The first thing you need to know is how many zones you’re going to be in. If you’re not sure about which zones you need, go ahead and purchase a pass that includes both zones 1 and 2. These are the most common zones and will more than likely get you everywhere you need to go.
A variety of passes can be purchased that cover transport on the ferries, buses, and trains. If you’re not a frequent traveler, often a one-way or daily will do. Another option for those who won’t use the transport everyday is the ten-trip saver. These passes are cheaper than buying dailies and can be used over an extended period of time. For those who plan on using the transport frequently and will be in town for a week, weekly passes are available. Purchasing one of these can prove less expensive, but more importantly they’re less of a hassle. Likewise, monthly passes are available, but are often purchased more by locals.
Prices on the transport are fairly reasonable for a big city, especially if you’re a student. The concession prices cut fares in half, but be sure to always have your approved student card with you. The only student cards accepted are those approved by Queensland Rail. Thus, cards from your home uni and ISIC cards don’t count. It’s also not worth trying to purchase a concession when you don’t have the appropriate ID. If you get caught with a discounted ticket and no card, the fines are huge. So in this case, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
Another option for those who aren’t inclined to drop the dough is biking or walking. Being a very accessible city, the locals in Brisbane walk and bike when possible. There are obviously some places that would take too long to get to on foot, but when possible I highly recommend lacing up those walking shoes. Brisbane is a beautiful city and the weather is always good for a nice, long trek.