Travelling cheaply to Brisbane airport

I love the Go card, the travel card for the Brisbane area. It gets you around the whole area at reasonable cost, allowing use of trains, buses and the river cats. But talking to my Italian roommate revealed that using the airport train line costs around $18, which seemed high for a 25 minute journey (if you start at Southbank stadium). Airport transport is so routinely expensive that I’m reminded of the Man Stroke Woman sketches:

If you check the Brisbane route maps you’ll see, sure enough – there’s zone 1, zone 2, and the airport line, “special prices apply”. I was sure there would be a cheaper way, maybe walking from a different line. It turned out they’ve thought of the ‘different station on a different line and walk’ trick, and put those stations too far away.

A bit of searching, though, revealed the answer (I used a forum discussion, but this website has good, simple directions for this and other airports): train to Toombul interchange, bus to the Skygate centre, then a free shuttle bus to the airport, because the centre is regarded as an extension to airport services.

From Toombul railway station, walk over the dual carriageway to the bus station, and hop on a bus to ‘Garden City’, as they go to Skygate as well, in about 10 minutes. The Skygate transit buses go every half hour, on the hour and half hour.

Total cost… um, much cheaper. $7 or so for the two journeys? It does take extra time, up to 2 hours depending on whether you check the time of trains to Toombul (I did not), and at one point I was on a train to the airport, so had to fight the ‘ah, stuff it’ impulse. Going via the Skygate centre, though, had the extra benefit of letting me pick up lunch in Woolworths, which was another saving over airport prices.

Overall, this isn’t really a trick – either you pay the money and get to the airport, or spend much longer and do it cheaper. It’s very pleasing to find an alternative route, though.

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