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Transport & Logistics

What to expect from Transport for Brisbane’s turn-up-and-go Metro

3 Jul 2023, by Amy Sarcevic

What to expect from Transport for Brisbane’s turn-up-and-go Metro

Australia’s fastest growing city, Brisbane, is soon set to launch its nation-first Metro service, connecting eighteen stations throughout the central business district (CBD) and surrounding suburbs.

The all-electric transport solution with zero tailpipe emissions will create capacity for an additional 30 million journeys by 2031, saving an estimated 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions over twenty years.

Samantha Abeydeera, Head of Transport for Brisbane, said that with Brisbane’s population expected to grow by more than 1.55 million by 2041, the city needed to invest in public transport.

“As host city to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games the timing could not be better for introducing the turn-up-and-go Brisbane Metro,” Ms Abeydeera said ahead of the Urban Rail Conference.

“As it stands, Brisbane’s bus and road network is close to capacity and there is a need to reduce congestion in the CBD.

“Add to that the forecasted population growth and it is a sensible time to be exploring innovative transport solutions.”

So, what are some of the advantages Brisbane Metro will have over other transport modalities?

Service reliability

With three spacious passenger compartments and three large double doors along the length of each vehicle, the fleet’s design enables faster passenger loading to ensure services run on time. This is enhanced with a high frequency turn up and go timetable.

“The Metro is an integrated transport solution that combines the capacity of light rail and integrates seamlessly into busway operations,” Ms Abeydeera said.

Technical reliability

The fleet, which uses Hitachi Energy’s high-tech Grid-eMotion® charging system, can power vehicles for their full route in under six and a half minutes, providing a sufficient level of battery charge even during peak hour.

This charging happens automatically via the pantograph mechanism on its roof, which connects with the overhead charging rail at end of route locations. Charging commences within seconds of the metro positioning beneath it.

Technical reliability is also bolstered by CCS2 plug-in chargers, which support battery conditioning and lifespan. Additionally, the energy and power load management systems optimise the efficiency of electricity drawn from the grid.

Ms Abeydeera says the Metro’s lack of reliance on fixed network constraints is a further strength. “The network doesn’t require overhead or track infrastructure, which removes some of the technical reliability challenges faced by other modes of transport,” she said.

Setting a new accessibility standard

Along with its low-floor design from front to rear, the Metro includes three large mobility aid bays in the first compartment, with automated on-request ramp access at the first passenger door.

Onboard systems also provide passengers with modern transport features, including next stop audio announcements, dynamic route display maps, USB charging ports and on-board Wi-Fi.

“As a city that prides itself on being accessible for everyone, Council has worked in close collaboration with peak bodies and people with lived experience, to co-design a vehicle fleet that exceeds accessibility standards,” Ms Abeydeera said.


The project is due to commence service in 2024, with the operational commissioning phase currently taking place. Ms Abeydeera says she is pleased with progress so far.

“We are excited to be embracing this emerging technology, which will showcase our city as innovative leaders in transport delivery,” she said.

Giving key project updates and sharing insights into her strategy, Ms Abeydeera is due to speak at this year’s Urban Rail Conference, hosted by Informa Connect.

Joining her on the program are Thomas Ableman, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Transport for London; Dame Fran Wild, Chair of Auckland Light Rail; and Carla Purcell, CEO of Keolis Downer Yarra Trams.

This year’s event will be held 18-19 July 2023 at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

Learn more and register your place here.

About Samantha Abeydeera

Samantha Abeydeera commenced as Head of Transport for Brisbane in April 2023. In this role Samantha is responsible for one of Australia’s largest public transport providers with more than 3,000 employees facilitating close to 60 million annual customer journeys across bus, ferry and

Prior to joining Council, Samantha was the Executive Director of Strategic Operations at Transport for NSW. This unique role was responsible for driving end to end multimodal strategy and continuous improvement in mass transport. Samantha previously held senior roles in the private sector including Managing Director of Transport and the group’s Chief Operating Officer for Maritime at the NRMA Group, where her team achieved a record 99% customer satisfaction rating.

In 2018 Samantha was recognised as one of the Top 50 Women in NSW Government for her transformational leadership as Director of Train Crewing at Sydney Trains where she led more than 1000+ Drivers and Guards who delivered in excess of 400 million customer journeys annually.

Samantha holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University and has also undertaken executive education in Boston at Harvard Business School.

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