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November 14, 2005

Public transport (or lack thereof) in Brisbane today

So I received information today that Brisbane buses and trains had been stopped and evacuated due to a terrorism threat. The Courier Mail at 1:20pm said that:


BUSES, trains and railway stations in Brisbane were evacuated today because of an apparent terrorist threat.
A Queensland Rail spokeswoman said that, acting on police advice, no trains were allowed into the city.
Bus services were also stopped.
Both transport services have since resumed.
After an undisclosed threat, passengers were moved at least 100m away from buses and train stations, and all luggage was removed.
Premier Peter Beattie was expected to make a statement shortly.

I'm cynical enough to believe this was either a hoax or a means of garnering citizen support for the terrorism laws presently facing parliament. Thoughts anyone?


EDIT: I love watching news stories change. At the same address where the above article was sourced (and that was about the 3rd version I'd seen) came several other iterations of the story. Choose the extended entry for all the details.

And for those who may be wondering, I drove to work today, completely coincidentally :)

The first extended entry on the action came again from News.com.au:


Bomb threat in Brisbane
BUSES, trains and railway stations in Brisbane were evacuated today because of an apparent bomb threat.
Police are not releasing any details but confirmed that an anonymous caller had made threats against the Brisbane public transport system today.
They were investigating as a precautionary measure.
Police told Queensland Rail and the Brisbane City Council bus service about the threats.
"As a result, these agencies have implemented their own emergency management plans as a precaution," a police spokeswoman said Bus and train services were stopped but have since resumed.
After an undisclosed threat, passengers were moved at least 100m away from buses and train stations, and all luggage was removed.
Police received a "general threat" about Brisbane-bound train and bus services, leading to services being suspended from 11.45am (AEST) today, a police spokeswoman said.
An anonymous caller tipped police off about the threat, ABC radio said.
The police spokeswoman said all inbound and outbound services from Southbank, Roma Street, Central and Fortitude Valley stations had been affected.
Many services have since resumed.
Queensland Rail and Brisbane City Council, which runs bus and ferry services, were not available for comment.
Premier Peter Beattie was expected to make a statement shortly.
Police said anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
More to come as information becomes available.

Other versions of events are as below....

A later edition from News.com.au


Transport stops in bomb scare
From: AAP
November 14, 2005

BUS, train and ferry services in Brisbane were stopped today and passengers evacuated after an anonymous caller made threats against the city's public transport network.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said this afternoon that the threat would cause all bus and train services in Brisbane to be suspended again between 4.45pm and 5.15pm (AEST) this afternoon.
Mr Beattie said the Government was being "over-cautious" about the threatening phone calls.
Police received a "general threat" about Brisbane-bound train and bus services, leading to all public transport services being suspended from 11.45am (AEST) today, a police spokeswoman said.
It was believed the threat was a bomb scare.
"Police can confirm that there was an anonymous caller making threats against the Brisbane public transport system today," the spokeswoman said.
"Police have advised the relevant agencies about the threat.
"As a result, these agencies have implemented their own emergency management plans as a precaution."
The Brisbane City Council said it ceased bus and ferry services and evacuated passengers after receiving police advice.
Bus and ferry services had resumed by 2pm.
"Brisbane City Council will continue to take advice and direction from the Queensland Police Service in relation to this matter," a council spokesman said.
Queensland Rail was not available for comment.
However, the police spokeswoman said all inbound and outbound train services from Southbank, Roma Street, Central and Fortitude Valley stations had been affected.
Police were continuing to investigate the calls as a "precautionary measure".

And from ABCOnline:


Brisbane public transport stopped after threat
All public transport services in Brisbane will be suspended for a second time today because of a possible security threat.
Authorities say three anonymous bomb-related calls were made to 000 this morning but have declined to give further details for operational reasons.
Trains and buses were evacuated at 12:00pm AEST, as a precaution and lunchtime services were disrupted for almost an hour.
The Premier, Police Minister, police commissioner and the Lord Mayor met this afternoon to co-ordinate the response.
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the anonymous threat against public transport in the Brisbane area may be a hoax.
"We're asking people to continue to use the public transport system and not to panic at this time," Lord Mayor Newman said.
"We certainly want to take it seriously enough to close the system down but we do believe there is somebody who is out there hoaxing us.
"It's not appropriate that, given the recent developments in Sydney and Melbourne, that we completely ignore this."
Lord Mayor Newman says services will stop between 4.45pm and 5.15pm AEST.
"From 4.45, the buses will be pulling over, they will discharge their passengers, the bus drivers will be instructed to take their passengers a distance away from the buses and they will wait for half-an-hour," he said.
"Then they will hopefully continue on their way, and we won't have any problems at all but that's the instruction at the moment."
Premier Peter Beattie says in light of last week's terror arrests in Sydney and Melbourne, it is better to be safe than sorry
"Can I just ask the people of Brisbane and the south-east corner not to panic, to go about their normal business, that we are being over-cautious and we're deliberately doing it because of the events of last week," he said.
"We'll get information out about the train and bus services as quickly as we possibly can."
Police have set up a major incident room.
Commissioner Bob Atkinsons says the bomb squad is available if needed.
"At this stage, what we're going to do is have all available police in Brisbane marshalled to assist in this matter and, if need be, they'll stay on in overtime," he said.
"In the current circumstances there's general agreement it would seem quite clearly that this is the appropriate course of action."

There's also the Transinfo details:


Monday 14 November 2005: Police have received a number of threatening phone calls relating to the Greater Brisbane public transport system. Please note that there are possible delays for the rest of the day across public transport services within the Greater Brisbane Metropolitan area affecting Hornibrook Buslines, Parkridge Transit, Mt Gravatt Buslines, Connex, Logan City Bus Services, Brisbane Transport and QR CityTrain.
These operators will be suspending services to and from Brisbane from 4.45pm to 5.15pm today. All Brisbane rail and bus stations will be closed during this time. Passengers travelling during this period will be evacuated from services. We recommend that passengers stagger their journey's once services commence or make alternative travel arrangements to get home. This will not affect any dedicated school services. Please check this site regularly for updates.

Posted by jj at November 14, 2005 1:19 PM

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"a means of garnering citizen support for the terrorism laws presently facing parliament"

What utter crap!

Posted by: roberto at November 14, 2005 3:21 PM

On the contrary, Roberto, nothing breeds support of extreme measures so much as fear. And given today's public hearing on the issue of anti-terrorism legislation, I believe it's quite feasible that this action has been taken to breed fear and quash debate on the curtailment of civil liberties implicit in this legislation.

Posted by: jj at November 14, 2005 3:48 PM

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