Brisbane (Australia) joins top-3 world cities for most-expensive public transportation?


A young Brisbane resident stands alongside the Brisbane River on Australia day on January 26, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. The official national day of Australia and is celebrated annually on January 26 to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet to Sydney in 1788.


Bradley Kanaris

Three guesses as to the world's third-most expensive city for public transportation.

If you picked London, Oslo and, say, Brisbane, you deserve serious trivia kudos. Now, locate Brisbane on a map... 

Just kidding — Down Under will help you out. It's not the one in California.

Rather, it's a quaintly sedate (some would say sleepy) city in the tropical state of Queensland, Australia.

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As cities go, it's not even Australia's biggest (that's Sydney), busiest (again, Sydney), most-culturally accomplished (arguably, Melbourne), or politically crucial (that's Canberra, the capital).

Dubbed the "river city" owing to the river that runs through its heart, one of the best ways to see the city is on one of its high-speed CityCat ferries, which double as commuter boats ... IF you can afford it, that is.

A recent 15 percent hike in fares on buses, trains and ferries in Brisbane has catapulted the city into third place when it comes to expensive public transportation systems, according to opposition transportation spokesman Scott Emerson, cited in an article on News.com.au.

"Only London and Oslo [are] dearer," he reportedly said.

A quick cross-comparison of recent surveys shows that on the first two, at least, he's not far off.

London took top honors, with Oslo fourth after Washington DC and Berlin, according to an MSN Canada report in 2009.  

Travel website Price of Travel has Venice, Italy as the most expensive based on the price of its water taxis (entirely plausible), with Oslo second and Copenhagen third. An Australian city does make the site's top-5, but it's Melbourne, not Brisbane. 

So, what can those "Brisbanites" who stay loyal to public transit expect in return for their extra hard-earned dollars?

Frequent-use card holders have been offered an incentive of sorts — a free trip after 10 taken in the space of a week.

That's about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, say those who only use public transport to commute to work and have no desire to repeat the journey on a weekend. 

Plus, with another 15 percent hike is due this time next year, they'd better start saving... for a car, perhaps?