Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contracts
The Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contracts are contracts issued by the Government of New South Wales to metropolitan bus operators in Sydney, Australia. Since 2005, the government has moved from individual contracts with operators to larger contract regions, leading to the consolidation of bus operators.
In February 2004 the Unsworth Review of Bus Services conducted by former Transport Minister and Premier Barrie Unsworth, reported its findings to the Carr Government, recommending that the number of contract areas that existed in Sydney be reduced from 87 to 15 with a lead entity identified for each region to negotiate a contract. This was adopted with the first seven-year performance based contract signed in January 2005. By June 2005, eight had been signed. In some cases the existing operators formed joint venture companies to have a single contract with the government while in other regions there were some takeovers.
The contracts resulted in some consolidation of operators. Harris Park Transport and Moores Tours decided to cease operating at short notice in December 2004. Some of Baxter's Bus Lines routes passed to Connex and Transit First in January 2005. Further consolidation took place after the contracts commenced with Baxter's selling its remaining routes to Westbus in September 2006, Transit First selling out to Connex in February 2007. Veolia (formerly Connex), who operated in regions 10 and 13, took over region 11 operators Crowthers in January 2009 and Caringbah Bus Service in October 2011. The two takeovers resulted in the merger of regions 10 and 11 to form an expanded region 10, reducing the total number of regions to fourteen.
With the contracts coming up for renewal and following a change in government, the O'Farrell Government decided to put the provision of the services out to competitive tender. Transdev NSW was able to negotiate a direct award for regions 10 and 13 after agreeing to provide access to its bus and depot assets at the end of the contracts. The regions operated by State Transit were not included at this stage, however region 6 was tendered out from July 2018.
Under the 2005 contracts, all new buses were purchased by the government and leased to the operators. As a result, when regions have changed hands, all of the post 2005 built buses have remained with the region, with the older buses retained by the outgoing operators.
With the exception of region 6, the contracts for the other thirteen regions will be put out to competitive tender by 2022, as announced by the government in October 2019. These contracts are due to expire in 2021 and 2022. The three remaining State Transit regions are proposed to be transitioned to other operators as follows:
- Region 7 (North West) from August to December 2021.
- Region 8 (Northern Beaches) from May to October 2021.
- Region 9 (East) from November 2021 to April 2022.
Tenders for Region 8 opened in June 2020 and will close on 30 September 2020. Tenders for Region 7 and 9 will open in August and November 2020 respectively.
A requirement of the contracts is that operators adopt a white and two blues livery as prescribed by Transport for NSW, this was implemented from 2010. Forest Coach Lines' 2005 contract did not require their buses to be repainted blue, hence the livery applied to their buses saw the blue replaced with green. This loophole was closed when the region was tendered in 2012.
As of August 2018, there are 14 contract regions. Current contracts operate for five years, with an option to extend for a further three years except for region 6 which is for an eight year period.
|Region||Current operators||Start date of
|Award method||End date of|
current contract (if known)
|1||Busways||6 October 2013||Open tender||5 October 2021|
|2||Interline Bus Services||1 June 2014||Open tender|
|3||Transit Systems||13 October 2013||Open tender||12 October 2021|
|4||Hillsbus||1 August 2014||Open tender|
|5||Punchbowl Bus Company||1 July 2014||Open tender|
|6||Transit Systems||1 July 2018||Open tender||30 June 2026|
|7||State Transit||1 July 2017||Direct award||30 June 2022|
|8||State Transit||1 July 2017||Direct award||30 June 2022|
|9||State Transit||1 July 2017||Direct award||30 June 2022|
|10||Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service
|1 January 2013||Direct award||31 December 2019|
|12||Transdev NSW||1 June 2013||Open tender||30 May 2021|
|13||Transdev NSW||1 May 2013||Direct award||30 April 2020|
|14||Forest Coach Lines||1 April 2013||Open tender||31 March 2021|
|15||Busabout||1 June 2014||Open tender|
Region 1 covers the outer western suburbs between Blacktown, Penrith, Windsor and Richmond. It also operated route 740 services via the M2 Hills Motorway to Macquarie Centre, which ceased in May 2019.
From 2005, services were operated by the Area 1 Management Company consortium of incumbent operators Busways, Hawkesbury Valley Buses and Westbus. Following a competitive tendering process, on 6 October 2013 Busways took over all services in the region in its own right.
Region 2 covers the south western suburbs between Liverpool, Ingleburn and Hoxton Park. Other principal suburbs are Bringelly and Glenfield. From 2005, services were operated by the Area 2 Management Company consortium of incumbent operators Busabout and Interline. Following a competitive tendering process, on 1 June 2014 Interline took over all services in the region in its own right.
From 2005, services were operated by the Area 3 Management Company consortium of incumbent operators Baxter's Bus Lines, Busabout, Hopkinsons, Metro-link and Westbus which operated all routes except Liverpool-Parramatta T-way route T80 which was operated by Western Sydney Buses. Baxter's sold its routes to Westbus in September 2006.
Region 4 covers The Hills district including Parramatta, Pennant Hills, Castle Hill and Rouse Hill. Other principal suburbs are Dural, Blacktown and Baulkham Hills. It also operates services via the M2 Hills Motorway to Macquarie Centre, Chatswood, Milsons Point and the Sydney CBD.
Following the short notice cessation of operations by Harris Park Transport, its routes in the Hills District were taken over by Hillsbus on 20 December 2004, then transferred to Sydney Buses as part of region 7 on 28 January 2005, with six routes returning to region 4 on 25 September 2005.
Region 5 covers the south western suburbs between Strathfield, Bankstown and Hurstville. Other principal suburbs are Lakemba, Punchbowl, Roselands and Mortdale. It also operates services to Strathfield and Sydney Olympic Park.
From 2005, services were operated by incumbents Pleasure Tours and Punchbowl Bus Company. The Pleasure Tours routes were taken over by Punchbowl Bus Co on 10 July 2005. Punchbowl Bus Co successfully bid to retain the region with a new contract commencing on 1 July 2014.
Region 6 covers the Inner West and southern suburbs with services extending to the Sydney CBD, Chatswood, Taronga Zoo, Westfield Eastgardens, Bondi Junction, Hurstville and Miranda. Principal suburbs are Ashfield, Burwood, Campsie, Leichhardt, Rockdale and Sydney Olympic Park. The region operates out of Burwood, Kingsgrove, Leichhardt and Tempe depots.
From 2005, the region was operated by State Transit. The contract was renewed 1 July 2013 for five years without a competitive tendering process.
In May 2017, the government announced the operation of region 6 would be contracted out to the private sector. The contract was awarded to Transit Systems with operations commencing on 1 July 2018.
Region 7 covers the north western suburbs with services extending to the Sydney CBD. Principal suburbs are Chatswood, Epping, Macquarie Park, North Sydney, Ryde and Parramatta. The region operates out of Ryde depot.
Since 2005, the region has been operated by State Transit. State Transit permanently took control of a few former Harris Park Transport services in September 2005, and the region expanded to cover the whole of Carlingford, Epping and include North Rocks, West Pennant Hills and Beecroft for the first time.
Region 8 covers the lower North Shore and Northern Beaches with services extending to the Sydney CBD. Principal suburbs are Brookvale, Chatswood,Manly, Mosman, North Sydney and Palm Beach. The region operates out of Brookvale, Mona Vale, North Sydney and Willoughby depots.
Region 9 covers the Eastern Suburbs with services extending to the Sydney CBD. and Leichhardt. Principal suburbs are Bondi Junction, Botany, Maroubra, Mascot, Randwick and Surry Hills. The region operates out of Port Botany, Randwick and Waverley depots.
Region 10 initially covered the south western suburbs between Bankstown, Sutherland and Engadine. Other principal suburbs are Hurstville, Menai, and Miranda. It also operates services to Burwood, Parramatta and Liverpool. Since 2005, it has been operated by incumbent operator Connex that was later rebranded Veolia Transport, Veolia Transdev then Transdev NSW.
On 1 January 2013, Transdev NSW commenced a new contract that was awarded without a competitive tendering process. Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service continue to operate route 989 from Bundeena as a subcontractor to Transdev.
From 2005, services were operated by incumbent operators Caringbah Bus Service, Crowthers and Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service. Crowthers' routes were taken over by Veolia Transport on 1 January 2009. Region 11 was absorbed into Region 10 on 21 September 2009.
Region 12 covers the Upper North Shore and Hornsby to Hawkesbury River area with a limited peak hour service extending to the Sydney CBD. Principal suburbs are Chatswood, Gordon, Hornsby, Berowra and Brooklyn.
From 2005, services were operated by incumbent operators Connex (that was later rebranded Veolia Transport, Veolia Transdev then Transdev NSW) and Transit First. In February 2007. Connex purchased Transit First.
|Rank||Region||Operator||2017||2018||2019||Average Annual |
|6||1||Busways Western Sydney||12,139,979||13,236,871||13,816,261||+6.90%|
|9||10||Transdev NSW and
Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service
|10||14||Forest Coach Lines||4,851,299||5,169,614||5,632,071||+8.05%|
|11||2||Interline Bus Service||3,664,100||3,928,593||4,432,147||+10.48%|
|12||5||Punchbowl Bus Company||3,538,852||3,850,045||4,134,186||+8.41%|
- Passenger Transport Amendment (Bus Reform Bill) Government of New South Wales 2 June 2004
- Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2005 Ministry of Transport pages 5/6
- Important Notice Harris Park Transport
- Changes to Area 13 Route Services Baxter's Bus Lines February 2005
- Purchase of Baxter's Bus Lines Routes by ComfrtDelGro Cabcharge Baxter's Bus Lines 26 July 2006
- Veolia to expand Sydney bus services Sydney Morning Herald 9 January 2007
- Veolia buys Crowthers Buslink Australasian Bus & Coach 5 January 2009
- Sutherland Covered Australasian Bus & Coach 26 September 2011
- Cut costs or bus contracts will go to private sector, minister tells drivers Sydney Morning Herald 7 November 2012
- Tender shock rocks Sydney Australasian Bus & Coach 7 November 2012
- Tenders open soon for Sydney bus services Transport NSW 25 February 2013
- Special treatment for Sydney contracts Australasian Bus & Coach 16 January 2013
- Transit Systems secures Region 6 Australasian Bus & Coach 13 February 2018
- "New bus contracts to drive improved services". Transport for NSW. 24 October 2019. Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- SYDNEY BUS REGIONS 7, 8, 9 ‘FRANCHISING’ DELAYED Australian Bus & Coach 4 June 2020
- "Tenders for Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore bus services now open". Transport for NSW. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- Blue over green Forest Coach Lines buses Manly Daily 11 January 2013
- Transport for NSW 2013/14 Annual Report (PDF), Transport for NSW, p. 38-39, archived from the original (PDF) on 5 December 2014, retrieved 17 April 2015
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC01". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC03". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Region 6 Bus Services - SBSC 006". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "State Transit Authority Annual Report 2017/2018" (PDF). Transport for NSW. 23 November 2018. p. 23. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC10". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC12". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC13". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract (SMBSC) - SMBSC14". eTendering NSW. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Regional reviews by Ministry of Transport Sydney Bus Routes
- Region 1 Transport NSW
- "Western Sydney bus service adjustments from 26 May". Busways. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
- Busways wins 300 bus contract in Western Sydney Busways 7 November 2012
- New bus contracts benefit customers and taxpayers Transport for NSW 7 November 2012
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS01 NSW eTendering
- Region 2 Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine Transport NSW
- More than 60 new buses and improved customer service with new bus contracts Transport for NSW 29 August 2013
- Busabout News May 2014 Busabout
- Region 3 Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine Transport NSW
- Transit Systems awarded Sydney buses contract Transit Systems 7 November 2012
- Region 4 Transport NSW
- NSW Bus Contract - Region 4 Cabcharge 29 August 2013
- Some Hillsbus Services Will Cease Operation from Midnight Thurs 27 Jan 2005 Hillsbus
- Region 4 changes Sydney Private Bus routes
- Region 5 Transport NSW
- Region 5 changes Sydney Private Bus routes
- About us Punchbowl Bus Co
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS05 NSW eTendering
- Region 6 Transport NSW
- "State Transit 2013/14 Annual Report" (PDF). Transport for NSW. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- NSW Transport Minister announces inner-west bus region tender ABC News 16 May 2017
- Sydney Route Privatisation Australasian Bus & Coach 16 May 2017
- Transit systems boosts Inner West bus services Transport for NSW 13 February 2018
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS06 NSW eTendering
- Region 7 Transport NSW
- Region 8 Transport NSW
- Region 9 Transport NSW
- Region 10 Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine Transport NSW
- Veolia Transdev Secures Bus Contracts Transdev Australasia 16 January 2013
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS10 NSW eTendering
- Region 11 Transport NSW
- Sydney Bus Contract Map 2012 Transport for NSW
- Region 12 Transport NSW
- TransdevTSL Shorelink News September 2008
- Mixed Result for Private Bus Operators Bus & Coach Association NSW 7 November 2012
- Region 13 Transport NSW
- Region 13 changes Sydney Private Bus Routes
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS13 NSW eTendering
- Region 14 Transport NSW
- Region 15 Transport NSW
- Busways Campbelltown Busways
- Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract - SMBCS15 NSW eTendering
- Opal Trips - Bus Transport for NSW Open Data