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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Loop bus flagged to ease Cairns parking pressures

    Cairns CBD parking woes could be a thing of the past if a new plan for a loop bus service comes to fruition.

    Cairns Regional Council announced today it would immediately begin investigating the possibility of setting up the service in response increasing demands for parking, exacerbated by the opening of two university campuses in the city centre.

    Mayor Bob Manning said the service would provide easy movement of passengers into and around the CBD area.

    “We know the frustration of finding a car park is the key reason why many residents choose not to spend time in the CBD,” Cr Manning said.

    “We’ve invested many millions of dollars in improving the city centre to make it more attractive and inviting for residents, but none of that matters if they can’t get there.

    “If people have the opportunity to park their car outside of the city centre and hope on a shuttle bus to get to where they need to go, it will take away a lot of the issues with finding a car park in the CBD.”

    A loop bus would bring Cairns into line with Townsville, which has had a Sunbus-operated, council-funded city shuttle service for more than ten years.

    Cr Manning said the “time was right” to investigate transport options, given Council’s review of the City Centre Master Plan, aimed at making Cairns a more pedestrian-friendly city.

    “We don’t yet know what model is feasible for our city or what it will cost,” he said, adding that all options – including an autonomous bus concept recently trialled in Western Australia – would be on the table.

    “A more traditional park-and-ride service might be more realistic in the shorter term, but we also want to look at what might be achievable further down the track.”

    Council officers have been tasked with exploring the available options and reporting back to Council.