TRANSPORT for NSW has invited the world's leading bus operators to apply to run Region 6 bus services, and deliver additional, more reliable services that more people will use as the city's population grows.
The call for tenders follows the NSW Government's announcement in May this year that Bus Region 6 – which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park – would be competitively tendered.
At the time, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said the region 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, and one of the worst on-time running results in the 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.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said industry will have to compete and re-apply for contracts every five-to-10 years and will only have their contracts renewed if they meet high performance standards for safety, reliability, customer satisfaction, and cleanliness.
The NSW Government will continue to own all Region 6 buses and assets, including depots, and will continue to set Opal fares, and regulate strict safety and operational standards. All timetables, routes, and bus stops will also continue to be regulated by the government.
The spokesperson said staff and their union representatives would continue to be consulted during the tender process, through to the period of transitioning to a new operator.
There will be jobs for all award staff with the new operator and award staff will be offered the same job at the same level with the same status. An 18-month employment guarantee period will also apply, and all award staff will transfer with all their accrued entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave, long service leave, and superannuation.
The request for tender is due to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, with a new operator to be selected in the first quarter of 2018, and in place by July 2018.