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Why do commuters avoid busy buses in the morning but not on the way home?

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Queensland public transport users are heading to work later to avoid crowds over COVID-19 fears – but knocking off at their usual time to jump aboard busy afternoon services.

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TransLink had been monitoring commuters’ use of trains, ferries, buses and trams, including the extra services added to the busy southeast network to help people social distance.

“The data from the past few months tells us that the extra services, such as morning bus routes added in August are popular,” Transport Minister Mark Bailey said.

“But patronage on many of the extra services running after 6pm is generally very low and people are not choosing to work later to take advantage of them.”

Public transport usage plummeted by 80 per cent in March when a surge in coronavirus cases led to social distancing and travel restrictions.

“October was the first month where we had 10 million trips taken on the southeast Queensland network since COVID-19 hit,”  Bailey said.

“Even with that, we’re still operating at about 63 per cent patronage compared to pre-pandemic levels, with about 90 per cent of services less than half full.

“Before COVID, we had two years in a row of record public transport use in Queensland.”

TransLink are set to launch an online app to help ease customers’ concerns over social distancing on public transport.

The new Service Capacity Tracker will let users see a forecast of available capacity on all bus, train, tram and ferry services across the southeast Queensland network from December 14.

“People are slowly returning to public transport but there is still plenty of space to socially distance on our services,” Bailey said.

TransLink plans to keep 175 additional weekly buses in and out of the Brisbane CBD through key corridors, including Logan, Indooroopilly, Redlands and Chermside, running until mid-2021.

The extra 105 weekly train services added in August will become a permanent feature of the train timetable.

“We’re also still cleaning all public transport thoroughly, including the sanitisation of touchpoints such as buttons and handrails,” Bailey said.

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