The promised 12-month trial of the new bus loop connecting key South Brisbane arts, cultural and entertainment destinations began service today.

I jumped on the free 86 service at the GOMA with driver Jim to check out the new route. Travelling in an anti-clockwise direction, the bus took us along Montague Road, passed the Queensland Theatre Company and Davies Park, and up Vulture Street to West End State School. Continuing along Vulture Street, the bus passed the backpackers and Brisbane State High before turning down Tribune Street near South Bank TAFE and then into Grey Street, where it stops in front of the South Bank Cinema and the South Brisbane train station. After about 20 minutes we were back where we started, in front of GOMA and the State Library.

The bus runs seven days a week and leaves every 10 minutes from 10.00 am and operates until 11.00 pm. It uses existing stops as well as five new rebranded bus stops, with distinctive green and white stripes.

Jim, our driver, said he was chuffed to be one of the first drivers on the route. He said he expects demand for the bus will grow, as people see it and get to know where it goes. So far today, he said, a lot of people have been photographing the new look bus.

With an eye to tourism, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the free service would allow residents and visitors to experience everything South Brisbane has to offer.

“From South Bank Parklands and the State Library to the Queensland Museum, QPAC and the Montague Markets, the route is a highlights reel of some of Brisbane’s most popular inner-city destinations.

“While the costs of living are rising, this free service allows people to leave the car at home, reducing costs and easing congestion through this popular precinct.

Business South Bank (BSB) Chair John Barton said the new bus loop would help support local businesses on the route.

“As South Bank is Brisbane’s number one tourism destination, this service will enable people to access multiple destinations in the precinct during their visit, which may in turn increase the visitor length of stay,” Mr Barton said.

“The residential and business population of South Brisbane and West End has grown considerably, with the residential population expected to double by 2036, so additional infrastructure will help.”

As this is only a trial, demand will probably determine whether it will continue after 12 months – so now is the time to get on board if you think it’s a good thing.


For more information on the new South Brisbane bus loop, call 3403 8888 or visit and search “Free Bus Loops”.

Or you can go to Translink to check the 86 service timetable and plan your trip.


Readers on social media are mystified as to why the service does not commence earlier on week days to enable use by school students.

Share your thoughts in comments box below. 


From Monday 18 September, the free bus loop service (Route 86) will start earlier in the day. The service will start at 7am Monday to Friday, and 8am on weekends.

The bus loop trial will also be extended for an additional 6 months to mid-2024.

All images by Jan Bowman