EXTRA trains will operate from Cleveland in a bid to shoulder peak commute times in the mornings and afternoons.
This comes after Transport Minister Mark Bailey announced more buses and trains were due to be rolled out next month to support social distancing on south-east Queensland public transport.
Existing 30 minute gaps between train services will be filled to provide services every 15 minutes on the Cleveland line as well as Beenleigh, Caboolture, Ipswich, Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe and Springfield lines.
The latest phase of the government's COVID-19 Safe Public Transport Plan will put an extra 960 buses and 105 trains into service between Monday and Friday from August 10.
There will be two additional train services departing Cleveland station each weekday morning at 8.54am and 9.24am and an additional service will depart Central station for Cleveland each weekday evening at 7.32pm.
From 10 August we’re adding more train services to the network following each weekday morning and afternoon peak, allowing you to stagger your work & travel hours where possible. Thank you for your continued support to help us limit the transmission of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/MN7ByIkEb3— Queensland Rail (@QueenslandRail) July 19, 2020
However Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson labeled the plan "bizarre" saying the off-peak line services would be ghost trains.
"In what parallel universe did 8:54 am and 9:24 am become good times to leave for work?"
"If Labor was serious about busting congestion it would duplicate the Cleveland line instead of putting more trains on it in off-peak times only for them to be parked at Birkdale station waiting for the next empty train to pass, " Mr Robinson said.
Mr Bailey said public transport numbers were down about 50 per cent compared to the same time last year, but numbers were expected to climb as university classes resumed and CBD offices reopened.
"Public transport is safe in Queensland.
"We have no community transmission here and active cases are in single digits, so our buses, trains, trams and ferries are safe," he said.
He said he expected more people to return to public transport over the next few weeks.
"We don't expect those numbers to immediately climb back to where they were before COVID-19 arrived but we still want to spread passengers out as much as we can, and these extra services will help do that".
The boost to morning and afternoon peak services is expected to add almost 58,000 extra seats on buses and trains.
"The plan is to roll out the extra buses until the end of the school year and then assess patronage levels," he said.
Mr Bailey said temporary hand sanitiser stations located at entry and exit points would be progressively rolled out at busy bus stops and all 152 train stations in south-east Queensland.
Rail Back on Track advocacy group spokesman Robert Dow said the additional rail services for the Cleveland line were shoulder peak.
"It will give a few more options for passengers who wish to travel outside main peak times.
"We also encourage use of masks/face coverings for situations where social distancing can not always be controlled like public transport, shops, lifts etc," he said.