QUEENSLAND PUBLIC TRANSPORT: GO CARDS
Brisbane city has one of the best public transport systems in Australia and as an international student studying in the southern state capital of Brisbane chances are you will use the public transport system on a regular basis. Although the fares for public transport in Queensland have gone up since 04/01/2010 by 40% this rise in fares has been offset by the introduction of Go-Cards. An innovation developed by the Queensland government to make public transport more affective in the south east corner of the state. The purpose of the Go-Card is to cut down on queues for people who use public transport particularly during the heavy peak periods between 7.30AM and 9.30AM in the morning and 3.00PM and 6.00PM in the afternoon.
DIFFERENT ZONES AND TRANSPORT MODES
Because the transport system in Brisbane is made up of different zones and three (bus / ferry / train) different types of transport it has become expensive and cumbersome for many travelers in the south east. Having to buy different tickets for different zones and transport, but now with the Go-Card this is no longer an issue with one being purchased for all. How this works is by ‘clocking’ onto a bus, ferry or train and ‘clocking’ off when you leave that mode of transport. The Go-Card allows for three transfers during your journey and you save up to 30% on fares. The state of the art technology that the Queensland government developed allows passengers to do this with the assistance of an electronic device similar to a docking station in a factory that measure the time you clocked on, the distance you have gone and when you clock off.
The Go-Card is paid for at most QR stations or many newsagents and can be topped up on line or by phone and if you use the Go-Card more than ten times in a one week period you save up to 50% on fares for that week starting Monday and ending Sunday. There will be 123 QR stations selling Go-Cards by the time university recommences and another 1000 retailers across the south east from Noosa in the north, Coolangatta on the Gold Coast and west to Helidon selling Go-Cards. So the system is comprehensive. And as a tertiary student in full time study you have the option of getting a Go-Card with a concession.
The Queensland State Government has more statistics related to the purchasing and use of Go-Cards:
South East Queensland has 266 Go-Card retailers
65 000 Go-Cards sold in November and December 2009
550 000 Go-Cards distributed to consumers across the state since the introduction of the service
70 million trips taken so far using Go-Cards
4000 people use on-line services weekly to top up their Go-Cards
So if you are studying in Queensland and you do not have a vehicle then the Go-Card is the right option for any international student with the potential for good savings.
How the Go-Card works is you purchase a Go-Card from a Go-Card agent or retailer for $5AU or more. The initial $5 is a refundable deposit that you have to purchase initially so that you will always have the appropriate funds to finish your journey. And the rest of the money you put into your Go-Card is used as the funds for the buses, trains and ferries that you use and is deducted at the end of each journey.