NEW ERA FOR NEWCASTLE IN 2017
A successful Keolis Downer bid to operate Newcastle Transport will deliver service improvements for commuters, leading to its selection over lower- cost bids, the New South Wales Government announced.
More frequent services and a new timetabling system that will link bus, ferry and light rail timetables to ensure the best services for customers will also be implemented.
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced new operator Newcastle Transport to start running services this year.
“We are investing more than $500 million to breathe new life into Newcastle, and we will now have a transport system in place to support the extra jobs and activity at the heart of a truly revitalised Newcastle,” Baird says.
“Newcastle Transport will guarantee better and more frequent public transport options, giving Novocastrians the world- class transport they deserve.”
“For the first time, the operator will have to guarantee a better deal for locals. Ferry commuters will get a service every 15 minutes throughout the day. Light rail customers will get a service every 7.5 minutes, an improvement on the expected 10 minute wait,” Constance says.
“Under this plan, buses will cover more ground, a new night owl bus service will be set up to support the weekend night- time economy, and the city will get on- demand buses.
“In an Australian- first upgrade, Newcastle Transport will chuck outdated timetables in the bin, and work with locals to create a network that works for this unique, booming city.
“In addition to more frequent ferry services, the fleet will also be refurbished to improve reliability and comfort.”
Newcastle Transport will start running bus and ferry services in July 2017, and service changes will start in 2018 to minimise disruption. It will run the light rail when it opens in 2019.
Transport workers will be protected, with all State Transit operational staff retaining their jobs under Newcastle Transport.
Downer EDI’s joint venture with France’s Keolis has secured a 10-year, $450 million contract to operate the new public transport system in Newcastle.
The contract is the first multi- modal transport system to be contracted to the private sector in Australia and will include network planning along with operation of the city’s buses, ferries, light rail and interchanges.
Keolis Downer already operates Yarra Trams in Melbourne, G: Link on the Gold Coast, and is also one of the country’s bigger bus operators with services in Western Australia, South Australian and Queensland.
Downer also won a $1.7 billion contract to supply new passenger trains for Sydney and maintain them for 25 years.
The company has looked to build capability in segments such as light rail design and construction and utilities services in order to offset the decline in its contract mining business.
In September 2016 a consortium led by Downer won a $2 billion contract to build high- capacity metro trains in Victoria as part of a consortium including CRRC and the Plenary group.
But the company also recently missed out on NSW’s $2.8 billion intercity fleet rail contract, and failed in another bid to build a new light rail system in Canberra.
The transition to the new operator Keolis Downer, from Newcastle Buses and Ferries staff, will occur in July 2017.
Newcastle Transport will start running bus and ferry services in July 2017