Coach or train?

17 05 2008

Coach or train?

That was the dilemma. The train to the Gold Coast took 90 mins from central Brisbane, so I expected the return trip to the airport to take a tad longer. The train fare was about $10, but then you have to factor in the cost of the cab to the train station. My experience the other day showed that was around $25, making the total cost around $35. The alternative was to get a cab from the hotel to the bus station, find the bus that went to the train station, and get there in time to meet the train. Doing that would’ve been cheaper but I’d have to have been up at 5:00am and getting all this sorted by about 5:30am. And did I mention that I had a bag, a small backpack, and my laptop bag?

So I investigated the door-to-door offerings of some of the coach services. Their prices were much of a muchness (about $39 per person one way) and were comparable to the cab/train combination. But the advantage was that they pick you up from your hotel and drop you at the airport. I decided on one of them and booked the fare on Thursday. The coach picked me up a minute or two later than the 6:30am pick up time, so that was good. But then it did something I wasn’t expecting – it continued to collect people from their homes! I don’t know of any service in Perth or Bunbury that does that, so I think we could learn a thing or two from the Queensland tourist industry. While it was a little annoying waiting for people to come from their homes (and for the driver to find the locations – he had no sat nav as his wife said he didn’t need it… WRONG), once we finally got on to the Motorway the trip to the airport was quick and easy. We got to the international terminal at 8:15am and a few minutes later we were at the domestic terminal. All up the coach trip took an hour and three quarters, which is probably about the same as the train trip (not including the time taken to get to Nerang train station from Surfers Paradise).

So having experienced both modes, which would I choose if I had to do this again?

Well, it depends! It would depend on how much luggage I had, whether there was just one person or a couple or family, and how well I knew where it was I wanted to go.

With a reasonable amount of luggage, the coach service probably wins hands down as the driver loads and unloads your luggage for you, whereas if you take the bus to the train, you have to deal with your luggage yourself. Also, there may be issues with luggage on the train if you are travelling at peak commuter times as the train is a commuter train, not one designed for people and luggage.

If you had a family, the public bus/train option is much cheaper, but probably a lot more hassle with luggage.

If you were a couple or single with little luggage, then the public bus/train option would be the best and cheapest.

Anybody with luggage or who was living or staying in a private residence not close to the bus or train station – and without an easy means of getting there – would be best served by one of the door to door coach services.


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