ALL ABOARD: A big group of travellers jump on a free Noosa bus.
ALL ABOARD: A big group of travellers jump on a free Noosa bus. Amber Macpherson

Noosa traffic review smooths snarls

NOOSA is being looked at by transport authorities as congestion-busting guide to the future, according to Noosa Council as latest figures from its traffic management trials showed a five-minute saving in travel time from Noosa Hill to the Hastings St precinct.

That represents a 35 per cent time saving to this congestion hot spot, according to the Go Noosa - Christmas and Easter traffic management trials project manager, Adam Britton.

He and project officer Joanna Ferris have given councillors a briefing on the latest holiday evaluations, which showed a 41 per cent free bus patronage increase over Christmas/New Year holiday period and a 33 per cent gain over Easter holiday period.

Mr Britton said the Noosa trials were being mentioned at the highest level at the Transport Department as they looked to improve bus services and other transport options.

He said the use of traffic controllers was what probably reduced congestion in this key pinch point the most by clearing the roundabouts and stopping traffic from backing up.

All up, the free services attracted 296,633 passenger bus trips, while Noosa trialled the use of smart boards to direct service park and riders to empty parking bays in Noosa Junction before boarding shuttle buses.

The free bus service survey showed 95 per cent of survey respondents were "either very satisfied or satisfied with their bus trip”.

He said better information to guide people to where the parks are will help level out parking issues.

Councillor Frank Pardon said the latest trials feedback showed the Junction had at least enough parking capacity to meet the present peak holiday demand.

Mr Britton said the peak parking demand was "very short” and "it's only for about an hour that the (demand) curve gets close to capacity”.

Cr Joe Jurisevic said the one figure that was "a little disappointing” was just a 2 per cent reduction in vehicle usage.

However, he said a survey of bus passengers showed that 64 per cent would have driven their car without this free option.

"We would have had a significant increase in the number of vehicles on the road had there not been free buses,” he said.

Cr Jurisevic said pushing more people into the free buses had a potential economic driving benefit of increasing retail patronage.

Mayor Tony Wellington warned council: "Let's not pretend that providing alternative transport is automatically going to reduce congestion, because congestion itself is self-levelling.

"And we know that people will still use their cars, so if we take a number of cars off the road, there's a good chance that other cars will come in and fill the gap.”

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