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Update on public transport in Cairns

Paris, France
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3 posts
184 reviews
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Update on public transport in Cairns

Queensland buses are reliable, comfortable, and mostly taken by residents of Cairns, but can take you from downtown to the suburban beaches (as far north as Palm Cove), James Cook University, the skyrail, and the Tjapukai aboriginal theater. The bus system is now called Queensland Connect and I spent five days in Cairns and Trinity Beach without a car. The charges were reasonable, and drivers made change for smaller dollar bills.  The least desirable and longest route went from the Skyrail to downtown Cairns.  After having taken the bus I would opt for a coach transfer in the future. The greatest variation  lay with the drivers. Some buses  were driven by people who clearly enjoyed  contact with people,  while others had grouches for whom it was clearly a job they resented.  Fun drivers and the grouches seemed to be distributed evenly over all the routes, with one exception-the bus route from Central Cairns to the Botanical Gardens.  While the drivers on the 111 route were supposed to be willing to leave people at or near the Botanic Gardens-they were so often rude-that the taxi drivers  at the  stand/rank a block away knew that when they saw determined looking tourists striding towards them that they were frustrated Botanic Garden visitors. Qeensland connect, please help! 

Cairns, Australia
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1. Re: Update on public transport in Cairns

Well, sorry Euro, but when you live in Cairns you do get used to the eccentricities of some of our bus drivers. They're usually a good -hearted lot (mostly, certainly not always). Often they are off schedule as they don't mind going off- route for old ladies in pelting rain or stray teenage girls in the dark wee hours, often will drop them at their doors for safety.

The longest Sunbus route in Cairns is much further than Skyrail to downtown Cairns, have a look at Palm Cove to city or city to Gordonvale, much further.

Paris, France
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3 posts
184 reviews
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2. Re: Update on public transport in Cairns

Dear Galah from Cairns,

My experiences with the Queensland connect service are that of a tourist writing for other tourists who need to be aware that they can run into a wide range of drivers--some of whom will be quite helpful and others who might not. That way they can be prepared for the wonderfully informative driver on the outbound journey who might not be the same type of driver on the return. Hopefully with that kind of information they can decide for themselves whether to use public transport or taxis or coach transfers.

I was impressed (in my time in mid-December) with how close the drivers held to the timetables--especially when compared to several European bus systems I have used recently, where buses can arrive and depart from stops 10 minutes early, leaving the unwitting tourist who arrived 5 minutes early to miss a flight or international rail connection because the bus came too early, and notice boards are lacking. Queensland Connect was more reliable in my experience.

One of the best things about the Cairns drivers was indeed as you noted, the willingness to safely let off the elderly and very young at safer or more convenient locations--the courtesy only increased my respect for the drivers, and led me to recommend the system as one safe for families and others unfamiliar with the area. A few minutes delay was never an issue for me, especially observing the decent and humane reasons for the delay.

While the distances on the map between downtown Cairns and the Skyrail are indeed shorter, the buses I rode stopped more often both for traffic lights and for passengers on that route, making the ride take much longer. I can only imagine how interminable the journey would seem for tourist families with small children anxious to reach the Skyrail or nearby aboriginal park from downtown Cairns. On the other hand, for families staying at the beaches, the trip to and from the same destinations took less time, leading me to suggest that the non-drivers could feel perfectly comfortable staying at the hotels in these northern suburbs.

3. Re: Update on public transport in Cairns

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