THE NSW Government will invite the world's best operators to compete to run bus services in the Inner West to improve customer service on some of the city's busiest routes.
Bus Region 6 which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park – would be competitively tendered to ensure extra and more reliable services for commuters.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said Inner West services attracted the highest number of complaints out of Sydney's metropolitan area in recent years, well above the results of bordering regions operated by private industry. It also had one of the worst on-time running results last year.
"There have been improvements in recent years, but State Transit still lags a long way behind its industry competitors in measures like on-time running and reliability," Mr Constance said.
"If the bus industry can provide quality in western Sydney, the Inner West deserves the same, especially as Sydney grows."
Mr Constance said industry has been operating buses in metropolitan Sydney for more than a decade with a strong track record of delivering a safe, reliable and efficient service all while meeting or exceeding contracted performance targets.
The government will continue to own Region 6 buses and assets, including depots, and will continue to set Opal fares and timetables, and regulate strict safety and operational standards.
Private operators will have to compete and re-apply for contracts every 5 to 10 years and will only have their contracts renewed if they meet high performance standards for safety, reliability, customer satisfaction and cleanliness.
"We have kicked off consultation with staff and their union representatives and will continue to do this through the transition to private operation. We'll be growing transport jobs because we want to grow and improve services," the Minister said.
Mr Constance said Sydney Buses will continue to operate Regions 7, 8 and 9 which includes the inner metropolitan areas of the eastern, and southern and northern suburbs, including the CBD. The tender will begin in July 2017 and is expected to be completed by July 2018.