News and events

Preferred tenderer announced for the Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise

26 Apr 2013

Public Transport Victoria has today announced Transdev Melbourne Pty Ltd as the preferred tenderer to operate the Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise.

The franchise provides for the operation of approximately 30 per cent of Melbourne’s public bus network, currently operated by Ventura and Melbourne Bus Link, and is the first time such a significant portion of the bus network has been publicly tendered.

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

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said the Coalition Government had established PTV to improve services for passengers.

"Buses are an important part of our public transport network and we want to see services continue to improve," Mr Mulder said. 

"PTV was set up to improve the public transport services, coordination and this tender process is an important part of our plan to improve public transport, and will secure better bus services for Melburnians," Mr Mulder said.

Public Transport Victoria Chair and CEO Ian Dobbs said that Transdev Melbourne’s bid represented the best value for Victorian taxpayers and focused on customer service, creating a more reliable network and growing bus patronage.

"We have selected the operator that will best partner with PTV to deliver better bus services for a growing city," Mr Dobbs said.

"Most importantly, Transdev Melbourne made it clear that its priority is to deliver the highest quality bus services by continuously improving punctuality and reliability, safety, customer service and information."

Mr Dobbs said that, in a first for bus contracts in Victoria, a performance regime will be used as an incentive for reaching key performance targets, including carrying more passengers.

Key features of the contract include:

  • Monitoring of timetabled services using a GPS tracking system, with penalties for late or cancelled services.
  • Financial bonuses and penalties tied to growth in passenger numbers.
  • A contractual commitment to improving customer satisfaction to 80% by end of 2016 through improved customer service training and a focus on service delivery.
  • Improved provision of customer information on-board and at bus stops, with a particular focus on informing passengers during service disruptions.
  • A partner who will plan new and reallocated services according to passenger needs.
  • A requirement for the operator to conduct a comprehensive review of all services included in the franchise to identify opportunities for improvement and implement a "Green Fields" timetable change by the end of April 2015.

"Melbourne’s bus services are a vital part of our public transport network, with more than 118 million passenger trips last year," Mr Dobbs said.

"With new performance targets in place, and the expertise, mandate and a deadline to deliver real service improvements, we believe this is the beginning of a generational transformation of the bus network."

Mr Dobbs said Transdev Melbourne would operate the franchise for seven years, with an option to extend its term for a further three years. The contract is expected to be executed in coming days with Transdev Melbourne to begin operating the bus franchise on 1 August 2013.

Transdev Melbourne will be required to make offers of employment to existing franchise staff, including drivers.

Mr Dobbs thanked the incumbent operators, National Bus Company (Victoria), Melbourne Bus Link and Ventura Motors, and said PTV was confident they would meet their current contractual obligations during the transition to the new franchise. 

"I would like to acknowledge the hard work, commitment and professionalism of the incumbent operators over the many years in which they have operated buses within the franchise area and during which time the bus network has seen massive growth in passenger numbers."

The worldwide public tender process began in 2012 and has been overseen by an independent probity auditor who has confirmed that the tender process has complied with probity principles.

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