ROAD CHAOS: Traffic is brought to a standstill after a multiple-vehicle crash on the Bruce Hwy.
ROAD CHAOS: Traffic is brought to a standstill after a multiple-vehicle crash on the Bruce Hwy. Che Chapman

TOLL ROAD AHEAD? Would you pay to spruce the Bruce?

AFTER one month relying on public transport to get around the Sunshine Coast, Darrell Edwards is convinced he and his wife can live with one car.

The Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast CEO relied on buses, Uber, taxis, a bike and his own two feet.

"I proved to myself I only need one car," Mr Edwards said. "My next problem is which car will we sell."

The experiment was part of Mr Edwards' mission to help his organisation understand the Sunshine Coast's transport needs - a process that RDA will use to shape into goals and campaigns for transport infrastructure.

Having spent a month "practising what I preach", Mr Edwards said he had a positive experience but discovered several flaws in the Coast's public transport system. He also acknowledged that using buses to get to work was easier for him than it might be for others, as he lived in Alexandra Headland and worked in Maroochydore.

Buses were in "excellent condition" and were air-conditioned and comfortable, but the fare structure made little sense and it took "a lot longer" to get around, even if you were organised and planned ahead, he said.

"I caught the bus sometimes to Ocean St from Alex," he said. "It cost $4.80 whereas to Noosa from (Maroochydore) Civic costs (about) $7," he said.

"I think for people to use it more often there needs to be reasonable fares. The routes are okay, it's accessible. It's just the fares."

Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast CEO Darrell Edwards left his car in the garage and used the bus system for a month.
Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast CEO Darrell Edwards left his car in the garage and used the bus system for a month. Warren Lynam

More than 80% of Sunshine Coast trips are taken in cars - a fact from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Mr Edwards said didn't surprise him.

"Sometimes I was on there alone," he said. "On one of the trips to Landsborough, I was the only person on the air-conditioned bus. It was like your own private limousine."

Last month RDA published a discussion paper on the Coast's transport infrastructure.

It argues that while recent government investment in transport projects has been significant, many Coast residents feel urgent projects - including the North Coast rail duplication, Bruce Hwy upgrade from Caloundra Rd to Caboolture exits, and the Mooloolah River Interchange (MRI) - are not happening fast enough.

It also sought to start a fresh discussion on how to best solve our transport woes, Mr Edwards said.

Is there a need, for example, to consider alternative funding models such as public-private partnerships and tolls?

Would you pay a toll if it meant the Bruce Hwy was upgraded sooner?

This poll ended on 29 December 2016.

Current Results

Yes.

6%

No.

61%

Don't we already pay through our taxes?

31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

This is a key question in a survey released by RDA at the same time as its discussion paper.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics predicts the Coast's population will increase by more than 60% in the next 20 years - so the pressure on our roads and public transport systems is only going to increase.

"As part of the discussion paper we're trying to understand community sentiment around ways of delivering transport solutions," he said.

RDA's survey covers issues including how people feel about tolls, car pooling, and how important transport infrastructure issues are.

"There's no silver bullet," Mr Edwards said. "It's a combination of behavioural change, investment and funding models that'll be needed."

To have your say in the survey visit www.rdasunshinecoast.org.au/portfolio/transport-infrastructure-feedback/