A joint venture partnership between Transdev and John Holland has been awarded the contract to operate Sydney’s Region 9 bus services. The contract will be handed over from State Transit to Transdev John Holland Buses from 12:01am on Sunday 3 April 2022.
Region 9 was the final region contract to be held by State owned operator State Transit. Covering Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and South East, over 500 buses carry 67 million passengers each year. The contract includes Route 333 between North Bondi and Circular Quay, Sydney’s busiest bus route. 136 new zero emission buses will be introduced over the course of the 8 year contract.
Transdev John Holland Buses (NSW) is an integrated joint venture partnership between Transdev Australasia and John Holland.
Transdev Australasia Chief Executive Officer, Luke Agati, said sustainability and keeping people and customers at the heart were critical to securing the contract.
“We are delighted to partner with John Holland to operate Region 9. We will bring our collective know-how to help Transport for NSW continue to set the pace in the transition to zero emissions fleets in Australia and deliver broad benefits to the community,” Mr Agati said.
John Holland Executive General Manager Rail and Transport Operations, Steve Butcher, said the team was excited to build on the region’s strong customer service record.
“We are proud to be joining Transdev and will bring our experience operating customer-focused networks like Sydney Metro, Canberra Metro and Metro Trains Melbourne to make sure customers are the biggest winners out of the transition,” Mr Butcher said.
Today’s announcement comes more than a week after the awarding of the contract was originally due to occur. The reason for the delay in the contract announcement remains unknown.
There has been a delay in the announcement of successful bidder for the Region 9 bus contract. Covering Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and Inner City, the Region 9 contract is the final contract to still be held by State Government owned bus operator State Transit.
The announcement of the successful bidder for the Region 9 contract was supposed to occur last Friday, November 19. This in turn was a delay from the original timeline for the handover of the Region 9 contract, which had the contract handover planned for July 1 2021. This initial delay occurred due to industry requests for extra time to put together higher quality bids for all three contracts State Transit held at the time after a market sounding period.
It was understood by Transport for NSW Blog that a successful bidder for the Region 9 contract had already been chosen by Transport for NSW. All other interested parties except for that successful bidder had not progressed to the final stage of contract negotiations. There is some speculation that contractual issues relating to the chosen operator may be to blame for the delay, however Transport NSW Blog has not been able to confirm a concrete reason for the delay.
At this stage there is no new timeline for when the successful bidder for the Region 9 contract will be announced. Despite this, it appears that Transport for NSW believes that the Region 9 contract will still likely be handed over to a new operator from early April 2022.
Since Thursday 28 October, services on the L1 Inner West Light Rail line have been suspended due to cracking found in all 12 of the trams that service the line. This service suspension is indefinite and there is no timeline towards the resumption of services.
It is understood that significant cracks were discovered in the bogey boxes (otherwise known as the wheel arches) of all 12 trams in the Inner West fleet, in addition to more minor cracking throughout other parts of the trams. It has been rumored that the cracks may have arisen due to the choice of fixed bogey trams for the Inner West line, as overseas examples have shown bogey box cracking on fixed boey trams that operate on tram lines with significant curves such as the L1 line in Sydney.
The Office of Transport Safety is conducting an investigation into the cracks. Transport Minister Rob Stokes said it was “obviously a concern” when route maintenance had uncovered a problem with the entire inner west tram fleet. “We will hold Transdev to their contractual obligations,” he said of the private operator of the line.
Transport for NSW secretary Rob Sharp said that trams will not be rushed back into service. “It’s not going to be a couple of days or a week or two – it’s going to be extended. We’d be certainly looking at a month or more,” Mr Sharp said. “Safety is first, and we do need the technical experts to complete their reviews over the next week to actually land on a specific conclusion.”
State Transit is operating a replacement bus service. There are two routes that operate between 6am and 11pm daily. The buses are opal enabled but only charge half fares.
Route 498 – Central Railway Colonnade to The Star (operates every 15 minutes )
Route 499 – Central Railway Colonnade to Dulwich Hill (operates every 10-12 minutes)
From 5 December 2021, a new bus network will be rolled out across the Eastern Suburbs. This new network was based on the draft network released earlier this year, which has been updated to take into account the feedback received during the 8 week community consultation period. There will also be changes to the Inner West bus network to help support changes in the Eastern Suburbs.
These changes are designed to bring more high frequency bus services across the region, better connections to trains and light rail and easier cross regional travel. There has also been changes to reduce duplication between services, where possible.
Key benefits of these bus changes include:
improved all day service frequencies, enhanced peak express services, more reliable timetables and increased capacity to help support demand
improved access to key destinations such as Bondi Junction, Randwick, Maroubra, Mascot and Green Square with enhanced links helping cross-suburban journeys without needing to go via the Sydney CBD
improving connections with other modes such as light rail and train as part of an integrated public transport network
11 all-day frequent network routes operating every 10 minutes or better during the day and every 20 minutes or better early morning and evening, seven days a week
increased coverage of overnight services in the area operating seven days a week
To see the new network map and timetables, visit My Sydney.