Public buses in Cairns seem to be operated by Sunbus, but they're part of the wider Queenland Translink system. There's a special Translink website area for Cairns, and a lot of the links from the Sunbus site for information take you back to the Translink site. The outside of the buses I've seen in Cairns all have Translink written on them.

Within the South-East Queensland area, it's generally recommended to get a Go Card to pay for your bus / train / etc trips. (It's much simpler and cheaper than using paper tickets). The Go Card site says

go card is TransLink's South East Queensland electronic ticket. It allows you to travel seamlessly on all TransLink bus, train, ferry and tram services.

Cairns isn't in South-East Queenland, but it does have buses run on behalf of Translink (with Translink branding on the side), and the Translink page on ticket pricing covers both Cairns and SE-Queensland.

So, given all that, is a Go Card valid on buses in the Cairns area?

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    As of Sept 11 there were no plans to introduce the go card in Cairns (scroll down to the 2nd comment), so the answer is probably no. I actually took the bus in Cairns on a few occasions last April, but don't recall seeing any tag on/off equipment... – MH. Jan 2 '15 at 18:32

No, the Go Card is not valid in Cairns. As you quote yourself, the Go Card is only valid for transport in areas managed by TransLink in South East Queensland, and as detailed by TransLink these are roughly bounded by the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

  • Some places say that the GoCard is valid on TransLink services in SE Queensland, some just say all TransLink services, hence the query! – Gagravarr Jan 5 '15 at 12:23
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    The "all TransLink services" ones are due to the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, and assuming "TransLink" equals "SE Queensland" as it did for quite a while. The TransLink brand has only been up there since September. – dlanod Jan 5 '15 at 21:29

The name "TransLink" is a brand name owned by the State Government, however, most public transport bus services across the State are operated by private contractors to the State Government. This includes most public transport bus services in South East Queensland. The public transport bus system in Cairns is operated by a contractor with blue buses all marked as TransLink, however, the GoCard is not valid in Cairns as of 24/04/2019.

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