News and events

Public Transport Victoria announces shortlist for Melbourne metropolitan bus franchise

24 Aug 2012

Public Transport Victoria has today announced that it has shortlisted five parties in the tender process for the operation of approximately 30 per cent of Melbourne’s bus network.

The following parties have been selected by Public Transport Victoria to continue with the tender process:

  • First Transit of Australia Pty Ltd
  • Keolis Downer Rail
  • National Bus Company (Victoria) Pty Ltd
  • Transit Systems Pty Ltd
  • Veolia Transport Australasia Pty Ltd

Ian Dobbs, Chair and CEO of Public Transport Victoria, said that the announcement of the shortlist was an important milestone in the tender process.

“We received 10 excellent Expressions of Interest from a very strong field of experienced Victorian, national and international operators, and we are confident that the shortlisted group is representative of the best bus operators in the transport market,” Mr Dobbs said.

“The shortlisted parties have demonstrated through their EOI submission that they have the necessary experience, expertise, capabilities and resources to run the services and address current and emerging transport challenges.”

“We look forward to taking the five shortlisted parties through to the next stage of the tender process, which will result in a value-for money outcome and deliver improved bus services for passengers,” Mr Dobbs said.

Mr Dobbs said that local bus services are a vital link in the public transport network.

“In the past year the number of passenger trips on Melbourne buses has risen by more than 15 per cent to 117 million trips per year, and this tender process is an important part of the State Government and Public Transport Victoria’s plan to improve public transport services across metropolitan Melbourne,” Mr Dobbs said.

The new bus franchise will be comprised of a fleet of around 500 buses operating the following services:

> Eastern area: 40 routes running in excess of 2500 services per weekday and servicing the eastern suburbs and Melbourne CBD, including the four Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) services, plus 106 school-only services.

> Western area: nine routes running in excess of 700 services per weekday and servicing the western suburbs, south-eastern suburbs and the Melbourne CBD, plus 16 school-only services.

> SmartBus Orbitals: three bus routes, Yellow (route 901), Green (route 902), and Red (route 903), running in excess of 545 weekday services through Melbourne’s outer suburbs. These services run at a high frequency from 5am to midnight Monday to Friday, 6am to midnight on Saturday and 7am to 9pm on Sunday.

A call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the franchise was released in June this year. The shortlisted parties will be invited to participate in a formal tender process commencing later this year, with submissions closing early next year.

The tender process is expected to be complete by mid-2013 with the successful operator in place by August 2013.

It is expected that the contract will be awarded for an initial period of seven years.

Media enquiries 0466 017 500


Background information:

First Transit of Australia Pty Ltd is part of the First Group, one of the world’s largest providers of passenger transport services, operating over 60,000 buses world-wide. First Group is the operator of large bus and rail systems in the United Kingdom; also providing school, city and intercity bus services throughout North America.

Keolis Downer Rail (KDR) is the current operator of Melbourne’s tram system. Keolis is a major global bus operator providing over 22,000 buses worldwide.

National Bus Company (Victoria) Pty Ltd currently operates over 80 per cent of the services being tendered. The Ventura Group (the parent entity) operates approximately 1300 buses in Victoria, providing metropolitan and regional services.

Transit Systems is an Australian owned company operating over 850 buses in Australia. It provides bus services in South Australia and Western Australia. Transit Systems also operates a number of passenger and vehicular ferry services in Queensland.

Veolia Transport Australasia Pty Ltd, part of Veolia Transdev S.A., is one of the largest transport operators in the world. Veolia Transdev operates over 40,000 buses throughout 27 countries. It already has a presence in Australia with over 1200 buses currently in operation in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. Veolia Transdev also operates light rail and monorail services in Sydney and is the operator of ferry services in Sydney and Brisbane.