Transdev John Holland Joint Venture Awarded Region 9 Contract

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 bus services across Sydney’s East and South East will be taken over by Transdev John Holland Buses from 3 April 2022 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

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.

Region 9 Contract Announcement Delayed

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 currently held by State Transit has been delayed – Transport NSW Blog Collection

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.

Inner West Light Rail Suspended Due to Cracks in Trams

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.

Light Rail services on the L1 Inner West line have been suspended due to cracks found in the trams – Transport NSW Blog Collection

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)

Eastern Suburbs and Inner West Bus Changes from 5 December 2021

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.

There will be changes to bus services in the Eastern Suburbs and Inner West from 5 December – Transport NSW Blog Collection

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.

Below is a full list of changes to services; Continue reading “Eastern Suburbs and Inner West Bus Changes from 5 December 2021”

Farewell Region 8

State Transit handed over operation of the Region 8 contract, covering Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore, to Keolis Downer at 12:01am this morning, 31 October 2021. This is the first of three handovers to occur over the next 6 months, as the NSW Government follows through on plans to privatise the entire State Transit network.

State Transit had a 88 year history of operations on the Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore. The first government operated service in was on Route 144 between Manly and Cremorne on December 25 1932. As part of this handover, Route 144 will revert to private operation after 88 years. At the time of handover, there were 450 buses based in Region 8 across 3 depots.

The final service operated by State Transit in Region 8 was the 23:55 172X from Wynyard to Warringah Mall via North Balgowlah. 1966 had the honours of operating this last trip. See below for some photos of this final service

1966 passes through Spit Junction on the final service operated by State Transit in Region 8 – Transport NSW Blog Collection
1966 at Warringah Mall after the final trip for State Transit in Region 8, showing State Transit’s 88 years of operation in the area – Transport NSW Blog Collection
1966 showing its State Transit company desto for one last time as it prepares to be handed over to Keolis Downer – Transport NSW Blog Collection

Bus Service Changes October 2021

There will be changes to bus services in Northern, North-Western and Western Sydney from the 18th and 24th of October. These changes have been designed to streamline services and update timetables to reflect changed traffic conditions.

There will be changes to bus services later this month – Transport NSW Blog Collection
  • Hillsbus and Forest Coachlines Changes (all except Route 779) will occur on Monday 18 October 2021
  • Busways Changes (Route 779) will occur on Sunday 24 October


607NRoute withdrawn
All existing trips to operate as route 607X between the City and Bella Vista.
Customers travelling from the City to beyond Bella Vista can still catch Nightride route N92.
607XAdditional services
Route 607X will replace all existing route 607N between City and Bella Vista.
Service frequency on weekends increased to 15 minutes.
Minor timetable adjustments across the week to better reflect traffic conditions.
Over 70 additional weekly services.
610XRoute and timetable changes
Route 610X weekday peak hour services between Kellyville and Castle Hill will no longer run; all services will operate between Castle Hill and the City only.
Alternative travel options for customers between Kellyville and Castle Hill available on routes 601, 626, 632, 633 and 715, providing connections to Sydney Metro or other bus services at either Hills Showground or Castle Hill stations.
Minor changes to weekday peak hour service frequency.
Weekday early morning and off-peak frequency increased to 10 minutes.
Additional early morning and evening trips on weekends.
Minor timetable adjustments across the week to better reflect traffic conditions.
Over 30 additional weekly services.
611Additional services
Service frequency on Sundays increased to 15 minutes.
Around 40 additional weekly services.
619Timetable change
Changes to service hours during morning and afternoon peak on weekdays, with reduction in shoulder peak trips.
Service frequency will be maintained during the busiest part of the morning and afternoon peak.
643New route
Operates between Rouse Hill and Gables via Box Hill.
Operates every 30 mins on weekdays and on weekends.
Provides new access to bus services for newly developed areas of Box Hill in the Mount Carmel Drive and Brahman Road area.
Over 440 additional weekly services,
779Route extension and additional services
Existing route 779 (St Marys – Erskine Park) will be extended to the Oakdale West precinct at Kemps Creek and upgraded to support customer access to existing and new employment areas in Erskine Park and Kemps Creek.
Operating hours will increase, with new off peak and weekend services.
Over 170 additional weekly services.
School ServicesNew school routes
New school services to serve new Santa Sophia Catholic. College:4x AM routes – routes 2107, 2108, 2109, 2110
4x PM routes – routes 2687, 2688, 2689, 2690.
40 additional weekly services commencing in Term 4.
141, 193, 280, 602X, 607X, 611, 612X, 613X, 614X, 615X, 616X, 619, 620X, 622, 642X, 652XMinor timetable changes
Minor timetable adjustments across the week to better reflect traffic conditions.

Return to Weekday Timetables from Monday 11 October 2021

Transport for NSW has confirmed that public transport across New South Wales will return to weekday timetables from Monday 11 October 2021. This comes as the extended lockdown restrictions that have been in place in NSW since June will be eased from the same date, after NSW reached 70% double vaccination rate earlier this week.

Public transport across New South Wales will return to weekday timetables from Monday 11 October 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

This move will see over 18 000 extra trips added to the network and the return of peak hour express services to the Network. There will also be additional capacity on each service, with capacity moving from 25% to 50% seated capacity. Extra green dots will be added to help guide social distancing aboard services.

Public Transport in NSW has been operating to a Saturday timetable since 23 August due to COVID-19 related staff shortages. There is some concern that staff shortages will lead to cancellations and gaps in service with the return to weekday timetables. State Transit’s Waverley depot in Sydney’s East has been short of drivers this week leading to cancellations and Transit’s Systems Leichhardt Depot has seen continual service cancellations since the emergence of a first COVID case there in early August.

State Transit Places Electric Bus Order

State Transit has placed an order for 10 Custom Element electric buses for delivery between November 2021 and March 2022, the first electric buses ordered by State Transit. The vehicles will be based at State Transit’s Waverley depot as part of their Region 9 contract.

The Custom Element electric bus on trial with State Transit in March 2021 – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The order follows a successful trial of a Custom Element electric bus on routes out of Waverley Depot back in March. The bus trialled was the first electric bus to be built here in NSW, and this order will also be built in NSW at the Custom Denning factory in Western Sydney. Drivers involved in the trial gave the vehicle good reviews, noting a smooth ride quality and excellent braking.

Waverley depot has been chosen for the new electric buses due to the recent decommissioning of the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) compression station. This has allowed State Transit to repurpose the available CNG substation power for use as part of the required recharging infrastructure for the electric buses.

The Custom Element electric bus has a capacity of 80, with 43 seated. It is a fully low floor bus with 2 wheelchair accessible spaces. On a full charge, which takes up to 5 hours, the Custom Element can operate for up to 16 hours or around 400 kilometres in service. The batteries last for up to 1 million service kilometers.

More COVID Changes to Timetables in Sydney

Once again, there are changes to the timetables for public transport in Sydney. Bus services will move to a Saturday timetable with additional peak trips. This is in response to significant staff shortages caused by positive COVID-19 tests amongst a number of staff at depots across Sydney.

There are changes to timetables due to COVID-19 related staff shortages.

Changes by mode are listed below;


Services in Greater Sydney will operate to an amended Saturday timetable. There will be additional trips to ensure frequency is retained on high demand corridors and additional trips on weekday only routes that service key employment precincts. This includes a full weekday timetable for Route 309X from Railway Square to Port Botany.


Services will operate hourly on all lines.

Light Rail

L1 Dulwich Hill Line services will operate to a normal weekday timetable. L2 Randwick Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable with additional services in the early morning and early afternoon. L3 Kingsford Line services will operate to a Sunday timetable.


Services will run every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 20 minutes at other times. 


Sydney Trains services will mostly operate to a weekend timetable. There will be additional services in the early morning and early afternoon to support construction and trade based essential workers as well as extra peak services to support social distancing.

NSW TrainLink Intercity services will mostly operate to a weekend timetable including the Hunter, Bathurst, Southern Highland lines.

NSW TrainLink regional services are operating on an ad-hoc basis, with most services being cancelled.

Transport for NSW is still urging all residents to stay home whilst the lockdown under COVID-19 Public Health Order continues.

Trips Cancelled as Due to COVID Related Staff Shortages

An employee who worked at Transit Systems Leichhardt Depot has reportedly tested positive to COVID-19. As a result, hundreds of services operated out of Leichhardt Depot have been cancelled today. This has affected dozens of routes across the Inner West and Inner City.

A Murray’s Coach operates a 438 between Martin Place and Leichhardt, replacing Transit Systems Leichhardt bus services – Transport NSW Blog Collection

The positive COVID-19 test of a staff member at Leichhardt Depot has forced over 200 staff to isolate for two weeks. This is having a significant impact on the ability for Leichhardt Depot to operate services.

Transport for NSW organised for coach companies to help provide a replacement to the cancelled services. Coaches operated on the following routes, with services approximately every 30 minutes;

  • 431 – Glebe to Central
  • 437 – Five Dock to Leichhardt
  • 438 – Abbotsford to Leichhardt and Leichhardt to Martin Place
  • 442 – Balmain to QVB
  • 470 – Lilyfield to Central

Despite the replacement coaches, many routes were left with no service at all. The cancellations affected routes 320, 389, 430, 431, 433, 437, 438N, 438X, 440, 441, 442, 445, 470, 502, 503, 504 and 504X.

Update 14/08/21 – Some drivers who were deemed ‘casual contacts’ have now been able to return to work upon receiving negative COVID-19 tests. A limited service on trunk corridors is operating. Alternative operators are still operating for some services on these routes in order to ensure a proper service frequency.

Routes operating include; 320, 389, 431, 437, 438X, 440, 442, 470 and 504

CDC Hillsbus were operating Transit Systems Route 389 due to COVID-19 related staff shortages at Leichhardt Depot – Transport NSW Blog

Update 16/08/21 – Services in Transit Systems Leichhardt operating area are operating to a Sunday timetable with some reduced frequencies as more drivers are able to return to work. This means that there is a basic level of services across all routes in the area from today. Alternative operators are still operating for some services on these routes in order to ensure a proper service frequency.

Update 18/08/21 – Services operated by State Transit Ryde and Waverley Depots are operating to a Saturday timetable with no school services due to COVID-19 related driver shortages. NSW TrainLink services are not running into Queensland, Victoria or South Australia and there are mass cancellations across the NSW TrainLink network.