Skybus’ Brisbane City Express airport service takes off

Brisbane is the latest destination on the Skybus airport map, but with services once every two hours, it's a tough sell.

By Chris C., May 11 2021
Skybus’ Brisbane City Express airport service takes off

Skybus has just landed at Brisbane Airport, with a new bus service from both the domestic and international terminals to Brisbane’s inner east, Fortitude Valley, Newstead, and the Brisbane CBD.

This ‘Brisbane City Express’ service rivals Brisbane’s existing airport train, but with more stops between the airport and city, and with just one bus every two hours at launch.

Where are Skybus’ Brisbane Airport stops located?

At the domestic terminal, you’ll find a single stop at the Virgin Australia end of the building, across from the airline’s check-in desks. Passengers travelling on other airlines such as Qantas, Rex and Jetstar will find those check-in facilities within a five-minute walk.

Travellers arriving at the international terminal (aboard a ‘green zone’ flight where quarantine isn’t required) will instead find the Skybus stop by taking the lift or escalators down from the arrivals hall to the ground floor, and then proceeding outside, turning right, and waiting underneath the overpass.

Passengers catching the Skybus to Brisbane International will instead be dropped at the terminal door on the departures level.

Where does Skybus drop off and pick-up in Brisbane?

From the airport to the city (and vice versa), Skybus stops at the following public bus stops:

  • Kingsford Smith Drive at Remora Road, Hamilton (TransLink stop #29)
  • Kingsford Smith Drive at Bretts Wharf, Hamilton (stop #19)
  • Breakfast Creek Road at Evelyn Street, Newstead (stop #10)
  • Ann St at Bridge St, Fortitude Valley (stop #5)
  • Ann St at All Hallows, Brisbane City (Valley fringe, stop #218)
  • Ann St at Anzac Square, CBD (first central city stop, stop #7)
  • Ann St at King George Square, CBD (TransLink road stop #10, not in the Busway)
  • Margaret Street near George Street, CBD (stop #94)
  • Margaret Street near Edward Street, CBD (stop #98)
  • Eagle Street approaching Queen Street, CBD (stop #65)
  • Wickham Street near Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley (stop #228)
  • Wickham Street at East Street, Fortitude Valley (stop #6)

With the stop numbers above, you'll know you're at the right place if you're waiting at a council bus stop bearing that ID number on its nearest sign.

How much does Skybus cost in Brisbane?

A one-way fare on Skybus costs $15, whether your journey is domestic or international. The fare also remains the same regardless of which stop you use in Brisbane.

That’s a nudge under the pricing of Brisbane’s competing airport train, which costs $19.50 per adult between Brisbane Airport and Central Station.

Queensland Go Cards cannot be used on Skybus services, and child fares (ages 4-16) on Skybus are $2 one-way, versus free travel on Airtrain for children up to 14 (but full fare applying from 15yrs and older).

Passengers purchasing a return Skybus ticket online pay a reduced price of $28, marginally decreasing the cost versus buying two one-way tickets.

Again by comparison, Brisbane's Airtrain charges $37 for a round-trip journey between the CBD and airport.

A typical journey between Brisbane Airport and the CBD takes around 40 minutes on Skybus – but during peak hour, expect journey times to be on the longer side, given the service uses the often-congested Kingsford Smith Drive, rather than the Airport Link M7 tunnel.

How can I buy a ticket for the Brisbane Skybus?

The easiest way to buy your Skybus ticket is via the company’s website, which provides you with a QR code to scan as you board the bus – either on your own device such as a smartphone, or by printing the code and scanning the printout.

Skybus’ website accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club, all without surcharge, as well as PayPal

Alternatively, tickets can be purchased upon boarding the bus using card payment only (cash not accepted), or from kiosks at the airport stops.

How often does Skybus operate?

Between Brisbane Airport and the city, Skybus is currently running once every two hours, which will make it less appealing for many versus Brisbane’s airport train, which operates roughly every 15 minutes.

On weekdays, this sees Skybus departing the domestic terminal every two hours between 6am and midnight, on the hour – 6am, 8am, 10am, and so on.

Services on weekends depart between 6am and 8pm only.

You can browse the full Skybus timetable on the company’s website.

What are the other transport options at Brisbane Airport?

Beyond Skybus and the airport train, Brisbane Airport also offers on-site parking, as well as public drop-off and pick-up facilities, and Con-X-ion shuttle bus services.

Hire car pick-up and return is available at each terminal, with rideshare services such as Uber, Ola and Didi also providing service to and from Brisbane Airport.

New to Uber? Enter Executive Traveller’s promo code UberAU10 when you sign-up or before ordering your first ride, to save $10 off that first journey. (We’ll also get $10 in Uber credit, so it’s a win-win.)

Similar discounts are available to new customers of Ola – use Ola promo code B666GMU for $10 off your first ride), and Didi (enter discount code Chris10351 via the app's Promotions tab for $10 off your first Didi trip).

Beyond the airport train, Brisbane Airport isn’t otherwise served by local public transport – the closest alternative being a complimentary Brisbane Airport bus to the airport’s Skygate/DFO complex, with onward links to Brisbane City bus services.

Also read: Visiting Qantas' newly-reopened international lounge at Brisbane Airport

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 107

A widening of ground transport options is always a good development. I'm not even fazed by the initial lacklustre scheduling; which I assume will improve as pax numbers surge. I know there's 'only' a $5 difference compared to the train, but it all adds up. I've never, ever shaken off the sneaking feeling that QR's AirTrain is a real grubby rip-off for locals and visitors! Even Sydney's equivalent is cheaper and more regular.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 308

"QR's AirTrain" 

QR doesn't own AirTrain, QR only wet-lease the rollingstock to the private company that owns the corridor under contract to the private company that built Airtrain.  Hence the unsubsidised fares (which is a reflection of the costs of operating PT)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 48

Back in my working days (15+ years ago) I used to take the train out to the airport frequently - both for work and personal. The trains were not well populated.. but were relatively clean... the comment above is symptomatic of our state government and public transport - just have a look at their patronage figures... down down!!! 

I'm sorry but this bus I my opinion won't be a goer.. it will need to be given a hand out. If there were backpacker tourists it just might work.. but they are ???????? off.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 378

a joke.I am in Adelaide and we have to the city the J1 OR J2 buses operating at 15 minute intervals from the airport and just like Brisbane it can be done for the price of a public transport ticket.Prior to this it was an on the half hour takes the long way around transit regency bus way back in the day for god knows what sort of money return.

12 May 2021

Total posts 1

Hi Chris, thanks for your review on our Airtrain services. Just a bit of extra information - our online fares are $15 one-way to the City and $28 return when bought in advance. Also, our service is just 20 minutes to the CBD. Thanks, Airtrain 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Dec 2011

Total posts 13

With Airtrain being the same price (per their comment above) for an advance purchase.... why ever take the bus!?

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 508

Not sure why Skybus thinks it can make a profit with a 40++ minute travel time to CBD, 12 stops in the CBD, and just $5 dollar savings when Airtrain is struggling to fill their more frequent, higher capacity and faster train to the CBD?

Want to save $5? Buy 2x 7-11 coffee rather than barista brew. They are really not bad

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 137

Like many bus services, Skybus could be convenient if your final destination is some distance from the nearest train station and the bus stops nearby. It's a steep ask at present though to work with 2-hourly scheduling, traffic congestion etc. 

A tip from a former local: if you arrive on the train at Brisbane Central and need a taxi to your hotel, take the escalators all the way up to the Sofitel. Once outside the ticket barriers, look for the sign pointing the way. You'll usually find cabs up there and if not the lobby is a pleasant place to wait.


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