Getting around in Brisbane is relatively straightforward. The city centre is compact, which makes it possible to walk and cycle, while areas further afield are served by public transport.
Trains, buses and the popular CityCat ferry are the main modes of transportation for commuters travelling to the city from the surrounding suburbs each day.
Due to the rapid population growth in Brisbane, the city is continually undergoing major infrastructure expansion. This means that roads often get very congested, especially during peak hours. Furthermore, finding parking in the city centre can be difficult and expensive.
Public transport in Brisbane
There are three main modes of public transport in Brisbane – namely trains, buses and ferries. These are all linked through an integrated ticketing system called TransLink. For regular commuters, the Go Card is the most cost-effective and convenient option. This contactless smart card allows passengers to top up funds. Buying a Go Card not only eliminates the hassle of purchasing tickets each trip, but also saves money in the long run.
The bus network in Brisbane is large and comprehensive. All buses have a digital display on the front telling commuters their route number and final destinations.
Expats living in Brisbane will find that the areas in the inner city are well served by buses. Popular routes within the inner city tend to be serviced more regularly. Bus services to Brisbane’s outlying suburbs tend to be less frequent or have reduced operating hours.
There are a handful of free bus services in and around the city centre. Stops serviced by free buses will have either red or yellow bus-stop signs.
Trains are a quick and convenient way to travel in the city. Most train services in Brisbane run from one end of the suburbs and through the city centre. Intercity rail services can be used to travel to outside Brisbane to destinations such as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
While trains are a fast way to get around the city, there are parts of Brisbane that are not sufficiently covered by the city’s rail network.
The iconic ferries that dot the river in Brisbane are called CityFerries and CityCats. There is also a free ferry service connecting the city with South Bank known as the CityHopper.
While they do not cover as much ground as the city’s bus and rail networks, they do provide a fast and unique way to travel around Brisbane.
Taxis in Brisbane
Taxis are readily available throughout Brisbane and can go anywhere, but they tend to be a pricey way to get around.
Taxi fares for cabs hailed on the street and at taxi ranks are regulated by the government, while prebooked taxi fares aren't subject to these restrictions. That said, it is still best to book ahead of time to ensure availability when needed.
Major taxi companies operating in Brisbane include Yellow Cabs and Black and White Cabs. Ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft are also available.
Driving in Brisbane
Driving in Brisbane is not easy. Many of the roads in Brisbane's city centre are one-way, making driving in the city quite frustrating for new arrivals, and it can be a hassle to find parking. For those travelling around the suburbs, driving is not so difficult except during peak hours. At peak times traffic is terrible and the average 15-minute journey can take up to an hour.
That said, those who do take to the roads will find the city generally has good driving infrastructure, with well-maintained roads and clear signage.
Walking and cycling in Brisbane
Brisbane is cyclist-friendly city and, thanks to the many cycle paths around the city, getting around by bicycle is safe and easy.
Brisbane City Council has also implemented a bike-sharing scheme called CityCycle, which offers bicycles for hire and different stations around the city. For a reasonable hiring price, commuters can rent bicycles to travel around the city centre. However, cyclists will need to provide their own helmet; riding without a helmet is illegal and can result in a hefty fine.
Brisbane is a great city for walking around in and expats will find that walking from point A to B is simple, especially in the city centre.
►For information on the housing market in the city, take a look at Accommodation in Brisbane
Are you an expat living in Brisbane?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brisbane. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.