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March 2013
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March 10 2013
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About BT

Who is BT?

BT stands for Brisbane Transport, which is one of several divisions of the Brisbane City Council.

Brisbane Transport is responsible for the operation of  scheduled bus services in Brisbane & the surrounding suburbs under contract to the Translink Transit Authority (TTA), a Queensland government body responsible for public transport in South East Queensland.

Some quick facts on Brisbane Transport

  • Over 1000 buses in revenue service
  • Over 2000 staff employed, of whom over 1700 of those staff are bus operators
  • Eight bus depots situated in and around Brisbane
  • Workshop that does major engine overhaul, electrical & body repairs
  • Bus building facility, that have been assembling buses for Brisbane Transport since 2000
  • Brisbane Transport buses carry over 60 million passengers annually
  • 24 hour bus services from early Friday morning to late Sunday night

But to find out more specific information about Brisbane Transport, click on the submenu links underneath 'About BT'

History

The history of public transport can be traced back to 1885, with the introduction of horse drawn trams, which was later taken over in 1897 and was then subsequently electrified for electric trams.

The tramway system was privately operated until 1922, when it was compulsorily acquired, and in 1925, was taken over by the newly formed Brisbane City Council.

In the 1920's, the first bus services were provided, but were later withdrawn due to mechanical unreliability & poor road surface quality. The first permanent bus service didn't start until 1940 as an addition to the successful tramway system.

Tram depots were located at Fortitude Valley, Milton, Paddington and Buranda with the tram workshops being located at Milton.

Trolley buses were also introduced in the 40's and 50's, and lasted until 1969,

In 1948, a number of private bus operated routes and their fleet were taken over by the BCC.

In 1962, a disastrous fire at the Paddington tram depot saw the loss of 65 trams, thus the call was put out to hire buses as far as Sydney to help cope with the loss of the trams.

In the 60's, a decision had been made to close the tramway system down, with a bulk order of buses being placed to handle the transition from tram to bus operation, and on April 13 of 1969, the last tram ran on Brisbane streets in passenger service.

After this period, bus operation operated by the BCC had depots at Carina, Light St (Fortitude Valley) & Toowong.

In the early 90's, BCC made the transport system its own business unit, and thus the name change from Brisbane City Council department of transport to Brisbane Transport.

February 1994, Garden City depot opened, thus taking several services from each of the 3 other depots & some of their buses to reduce dead-running, and provide greater transport options for the Southside.

In the mid 90's, Brisbane Transport went to electronic ticketing, therefore making the old pre-printed tickets and ticket punches on buses redundant.

In 1996, Bracken Ridge bus depot opened as a satellite depot of Light St, to reduce dead running from the outer northern suburbs back to the Valley, and although proved popular with the drivers who lived closer to the new depot, was later closed in July 2001 due to high running costs as by this stage, Virginia depot had opened. Also around the same period, Richlands depot was opened and was the satellite depot of Toowong, once again reducing dead running from the outer western suburbs back to Toowong. This depot remains open still to this day, with its depot fleet increasing to around 40 buses.

Virginia depot opened on April 22, 1998 with 72 buses, with these buses coming from Light St depot, leaving Light St a skeleton depot of buses and staff.

In the late 90's, a decision was made to introduce low floor (wheel chair accessible) and air-conditioned buses, thus providing further comfort for both passengers & drivers, and also to allow more accessibility for passengers with a disability. To this day, all new bus purchases are to be low floor air-conditioned buses.

In 2001, the first Busway in Queensland had opened, located beside the South East Freeway, and passenger numbers went up nearly overnight with having a bus running on its own private roadway, cutting out the need to enter busy roads, and reducing travel times. This year also saw the introduction of new CNG powered Scania buses, which featured air-conditioning and low floor access (no steps).

February 2004 saw the opening of the Inner Northern Busway, which opened with the Kelvin Grove busway station only, which saw an increase in patronage and additional services, and was the first stage towards a purposely built road for the Northside bus users.

In 2004, TransLink started operation and where previously, what revenue was generated from fares was kept by Brisbane Transport, now goes to TransLink and then TransLink pays the transport operators on kilometres travelled, with TransLink approving funding for new services, stops and an easier fare system.

December 2005 saw the opening of the Royal Childrens Hospital and Normanby busway stations on the Inner Northern Busway, which was stage two.

June 2007 saw the introduction of the first from a batch of 30 new low-floor, air-conditioned, CNG powered articulated buses, the first articulated buses to be purchased since 1991.

July 2007, Larapinta depot opened, which is suppose to be an interim depot until Willawong, the proposed super depot opens in approximately 2009.

February 2008 was another milestone in electronic ticketing, when Brisbane Transport buses switched over to the new electronic ticketing, using smartcard technology operated by Cubic.

May 2008 saw the opening of the King George Square & Roma Street Busway stations, of which numerous services were re-routed or their bus stop locations in the City changed.

December 31st, 2008 was the end of an era for the original electronic ticketing system, where all the TRV 'green boxes' were removed from buses.

Mid April 2009 saw the 1000th active bus enter service. Bus 1463 was applied with special sign writing on the bus to commemorate 1000 buses in active service with Brisbane Transport.

April 27, 2009 saw the opening of Willawong depot, the first brand new purpose built bus depot since Garden City opened in 1994. Other depots have opened since Garden City's opening, but are either temporary like Larapinta, satellite depots like Bracken Ridge & Richlands, or have opened in an existing location that Council owned like Bowen Hills & Virginia.

January 2012 saw the entire fleet being 100% air-conditioned after the last non air-conditioned bus removed from service. This was Volvo B10M mk3 articulated bus 378, all other Volvo B10M mk2 Comeng & mk3 QBB bodied buses were entirely removed from service during 2011. It was also during this month that Scania L94UB bus 815 had a raptured gas cylinder after being re-fuelled at Virginia depot, thus all CNG powered buses were removed from service in the last weekend of January, but all returned bar 33 on the Monday morning, just in time for the new school year.

February 20th, 2012 saw the opening of Sherwood bus depot, located on Sherwood Rd, opening with 124 buses with Larapinta closing the day before.

Next on the agenda will be the opening of Eagle Farm depot opening approximately 2 years after Sherwood depot opening.

history source:
History of the Department of Transport booklet
Buses & Trams - Ian N Lynas
Brisbane City Council Bus Fleet - R. A. Birrell
Brisbane Tramways, The Last Decade - Howard R Clark & David R Keenan

Bus Depots

Brisbane Transport have depots located around Brisbane to serve individual areas and regions. Routes operated by Brisbane Transport can operate by one particular depot, or be shared amongst several depots.

Each depot is separated into regions, being Northern, Southern, South Western, Western & Eastern. All the buses carry a lettered prefix in front of the bus number to represent the depot that the bus is allocated to. Currently depots are located at:

Depot Symbol Address Region Opened
Bowen Hills A Abbotsford Rd, Bowen Hills Northern, North-Western, Inner City 2000
Carina C Creek Rd, Carina Eastern, South-Eastern 1969
Garden City G MacGregor St, Upper Mt Gravatt Southern 1994
Larapinta L Logistics Pl, Larapinta Southern 2007-2012
Richlands R Government Rd, Richlands South-Western, Western 1997
Sherwood S Sherwood Rd, Sherwood Western, South-Western, North-Western 2012
Toowong T Dean St, Toowong Western, South-Western, North-Western 1967
Virginia V Ferric St, Virginia Northern, North-Western 1998
Willawong W Sherbrooke Rd, Willawong Southern, South-Western 2009

Other depots that have since closed were located at:

  • Bracken Ridge (B)
    Telegraph Rd, Bracken Ridge
    In April of 1996, Bracken Ridge depot was opened to reduce blank running from the Light St depot to the outer Northern terminuses, this depot remained opened until July 2001 when the cost associated to having another depot close by of which Virginia had by now opened was not warranted.
  • Ipswich Rd
    Ipswich Rd, Buranda
    This depot was originally a tram & trolleybus depot, later converted to a bus depot.
  • Light St (L)
    Wickham St, Fortitude Valley
    This depot was originally a tram & trolleybus depot, later converted to a bus depot, and was closed in 2000 due to new council rezoning laws, of which this depot then moved to a disused council property at Bowen Hills which is now known as Bowen Hills depot.
  • Milton Rd
    Milton Rd, Milton
    This depot was originally a tram & trolleybus depot, later converted to a bus depot.

Opening Fleet Allocations

Listed below are the fleet allocations for when new depots opened:

Bracken Ridge (B) 22/04/1996 (total=22)

  • Volvo B10M mk3 [QBB] (10)
    459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [Austral] (12)
    302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313

Garden City (G) 17/02/1994 (total=102)

  • MAN SL200 [Denning series1] (29)
    835 836 837 838 839 841 842 843 844 846 847 848 850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 859 860 861 862 863 864 865 867 868
  • MAN SL200 [Denning series2] (2)
    122 123
  • Volvo B10M mk2 [Comeng] (14)
    152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 166
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [QBB] (21)
    453 454 455 456 457 458 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 482 483 484 485
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [Austral] (20)
    253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 298 299 300 301
  • Volvo B10ML artic [Fuji] (13)
    381 382 384 385 388 389 390 391 984 988 989 990 991
  • Volvo B10M mk3 artic [Austral] (3)
    378 379 380

Larapinta (L) 23/07/2007 (total=55)

  • Volvo B10L [Austral-Pacific] (9)
    552 553 554 555 556 587 588 589 590
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [QBB] (13)
    202 203 204 205 206 207 457 458 459 460 461 462 463
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [Austral] (22)
    277 278 279 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 349 350
  • Volvo B10M mk3 artic [Austral] (6)
    375 376 377 378 379 380
  • Volvo B10M mk4 [Austral-Pacific] (5)
    517 518 519 520 521

Shewrood (S) 20/02/2012 (total=124)

  • Scania K310UB6x2 [Volgren] (total=8)
    5001 5002 5003 5004 5005 5006 5007 5008
  • Volvo B10L [Austral-Pacific] (total=27)
    543 544 548 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [Austral] (total=52)
    220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 244 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 264 265 266 267 268 269 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281
  • Volvo B10M mk4 [Austral-Denning] (total=5)
    504 505 506 507 508
  • Volvo B12BLE [Volgren] (total=32)
    5096 5097 5098 5099 5100 5101 5102 5103 5104 5105 5106 5107 5108 5109 5110 5111 5112 5113 5114 5115 5116 5117 5118 5119 5120 5121 5122 5123 5124 5125 5126 5127

Virginia (V) 27/04/1998 (total=72)

  • MAN SL200 [Denning series1] (27)
    870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 920
  • MAN 10.180 [Austral] (3)
    355 356 357
  • MAN 10.155 [Ansair] (1)
    617
  • Volvo B10M mk2 [Comeng] (19)
    146 147 148 149 150 151 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 433 434 435 479 480
  • Volvo B10M mk3 [Austral] (22)
    266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350

Willawong (W) 27/04/2009 (total=135)

  • MAN 18.310 CNG [Volgren] (90)
    1375 1376 1377 1378 1379 1380 1381 1382 1383 1384 1385 1386 1387 1388 1389 1390 1391 1392 1393 1394 1395 1396 1397 1398 1399 1400 1401 1402 1403 1404 1405 1406 1407 1408 1409 1410 1411 1412 1413 1414
    1415 1416 1417 1418 1419 1420 1421 1422 1423 1424 1425 1426 1427 1428 1429 1430 1431 1432 1433 1434 1435 1436 1437 1438 1439 1440 1441 1442 1443 1444 1445 1446 1447 1448 1449 1450 1451 1452 1453 1454
    1455 1456 1457 1458 1459 1460 1461 1462 1463 1464 1465
  • Volvo B10M mk2 [Comeng] (35)
    178 179 400 402 403 404 405 406 408 409 410 411 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436
  • Volvo B10M mk2 artic [Volgren] (4)
    977 978 979 980
  • Volvo B10M mk3 artic [Austral] (6)
    375 376 377 378 379 380

Bus Workshops

Brisbane Transport Bus Workshops are where major mechanical, electrical & body repair work is undertaken, which is located beside the Toowong bus depot.

Between 2001 and 2009, the workshops also assembled buses with body kits supplied from Volgren onto chassis' supplied from the manufacturer.

Buses the that the workshops have assembled include:

  • Replica tram body assembled onto the IBC chassis (buses 923 & 924)
  • Volgren CR222L bodies onto the last six Volvo B10L chassis (597-602) which also includes finishing the assembling of the Austral-Pacific bodies to buses 583-596
  • Volgren CR221L bodies onto the Volvo B6LE chassis (buses 623 & 624)
  • Volgren CR224L bodies onto 187 of the 217 Scania L94UB chassis (buses 629, 632, 637, 644-645, 651, 654-657, 659-660, 667-799, 801-842)
  • Volgren CR228L bodies onto the MAN 18.310 CNG chassis (buses 1200 +)
  • Volgren CR228L bodies onto the MAN 18.310 diesel chassis (buses 1055-1066)
  • Volgren CR228L bodies onto the Volvo B7RLE diesel chassis (part assembled ???? until the new Volgren QLD plant opened.

The process of assembling a bus takes on average between 10 to 12 weeks, and the process begins with:

  • chassis arrives in 'boggie' form, which is then separated with floor rails being added
  • side, front & rear frame assembled including the roof frame
  • windows & internal fittings fitted
  • painted and then sign writing applied
  • tested by both the workshops and the chassis dealer prior to being delivered to the depot

All new buses with a Volgren body are now assembled at the Volgren QLD plant located at Eagle Farm.

The workshops also carry out major repair work to the buses, either being body, fabric repair (trim shop), electrical or major mechanical overhaul.

The Brisbane Transport Workshops also have their own printery that produces the timetables that are seen at bus stops, including the bus stop signs.