Department of State GrowthTransport

Latest information on the North and North West bus networks

Latest information on the North West and intercity bus networks

Current status (last updated 23 March 2020)

In light of Covid-19 and in order to minimise disruption to communities the decision has been made to delay implementation of the north west bus network changes which was scheduled to commence on 19 April 2020.

Planned changes to intercity services between Hobart and Launceston, and Launceston and Devonport have also been delayed.

The intention is that the north west network changes will now commence in January 2021 as this will allow any changes to school bus services at the start of the school year.

There are some unavoidable changes to the network that need to proceed for contractual reasons, this includes the introduction of the north west express service to be operated by Merseylink, which will replace the Hospital Link Service currently operated by Metro Tasmania.  Negotiations are underway with Merseylink, with all efforts being made to minimise changes to timetables and services in the short term through what is already an uncertain time for people.

Taking advantage of the new seven day a week bus service from the West Coast to Burnie, the department is now working with Tassielink to extend their service to the North West Regional Hospital, on request, so that there is another transport option for people on the West Coast to get to and from this hospital.

As the community are aware the situation with Covid-19 is rapidly evolving and we will reassess timing for rollout of the north west bus network as the situation evolves.

You can continue to refer to this page for the latest information on the status of changes to bus networks.

Public consultation process

An extensive public consultation process was undertaken from September to October 2019 which sought the community’s feedback on both the North West bus network and intercity services (services between Devonport, Launceston and Hobart).

We would like to thank members of the community and stakeholders who provided feedback during this time. We received a total of 297 responses.

Overall, the consultation feedback showed a high level of support for proposed changes.

After listening to feedback from the community, we are making some changes to refine routes and timetables in order to achieve the right balance between smart route design and reducing travel times while also ensuring the services remain accessible to meet a broad range of transport needs.

Click here to view the final North West bus review public consultation report.

Mole Creek to Launceston service

Following further consultation with the Mole Creek community, the Mole Creek to Launceston general access service will continue as a school days only general access service. There will be a few slight changes to the timetable of the service at the start of term one.

An easier to read timetable will be available on our website in March 2020.

When will the network be implemented?

The commencement of the new general access bus network for the north west region as well as intercity services between Hobart and Launceston, and Launceston and Devonport has been deferred until further notice.

You can continue to refer to this page for the latest information on the status of changes to bus networks.

A number of new bus stops across the North West region, particularly in Burnie and Devonport are required to support the new network once it is implemented. We have consulted with Councils, bus operators and adjacent land owners on the location and design of these new bus stops. Construction of some of these new stops has begun and others will begin in March and April 2020.

How was the network developed?

As part of the review of bus services State Growth has been undertaking broader community engagement including talking to the existing bus operators and local communities to work out if, and how, current services can be improved.

We have also been gathering information via our website, phone and face to face discussions for the past three years from the community on public transport in their local area.

As part of the bus services review, State Growth engaged consultants Phillip Boyle and Associates to undertake a detailed review of Devonport and Burnie urban bus networks.

The review included community workshops held in Burnie and Devonport in 2017. After the community workshops, Phillip Boyle and Associates developed a report recommending a new network. The report can be accessed here.

Following the release of the report, State Growth has undertaken further planning in conjunction with the bus operators and local councils to refine the network and develop new timetables and routes.

Contact us

If you have any questions or require further information please contact us.

Latest information on the Northern region bus network

A new general access bus network for the Northern region, including Launceston and surrounding towns and regions commenced on 19 January 2020.

The new and improved routes and timetables have reinvigorated the local bus network across Launceston and surrounding regions including the West Tamar, George Town, the Northern Midlands, the north east and the east coast.

The changes have been finalised following an extensive community consultation period which occurred from April to June 2019.

The changes will see more direct routes and more frequent services, and updated timetables will provide more consistent departure times, improve reliability and minimise transfer times.

These network changes balance making services smarter by providing more direct routes which reduce travel times with ensuring the services remain accessible, providing better access to employment, education and other services.

In a big win for commuters across the broader Launceston city area, a new high frequency cross-city route will link the university with Kings Meadows via Mowbray, Invermay, Inveresk, the city, Launceston General Hospital and Six Ways.

Across the region, there are more services more often to major towns including Legana, Exeter, George Town, Perth and Bridport and improved links for the West Tamar, north east, east coast and Northern Midlands areas, as well as the addition of new Sunday services.

Additionally, new 12-month trial services have been implemented in Riverside/Trevallyn and Waverley/Ravenswood to address concerns raised through the recent public consultation process.

Services to Mole Creek, Deloraine, Westbury and Carrick will be changing in April 2020 to align with changes in the North West coast. Consultation on these proposed changes occurred in September and October 2019. More information on these changes will be released in early 2020.

To check changes, including timetables and routes for your services please click here.

Changes to student travel

Changes to the Northern region general access network may also apply to students who use public buses to travel to school.

Changes to school bus services provided by Metro in Launceston are also occurring at the start of the 2020 school year. Information on these changes is available at www.metrotas.com.au.

Notification on changes to non-Metro contracted school services will be communicated directly to schools.

Public consultation process

An extensive public consultation process was undertaken from April to June 2019 which sought the community’s feedback on both the Metro urban Launceston network and the Northern regional network.

As a result of this feedback some changes to refine routes and timetables were made in order to achieve the right balance between smart route design and reducing travel times while also ensuring the services remain accessible to meet a broad range of transport needs.

During the consultation process we received a total of 388 responses. Of these, 181 related to the urban Launceston network, and 207 related to the Northern regional network.

Click here to view the final Northern bus services review public consultation report. (925KB PDF)

Please note that following the release of the public consultation report, minor adjustments to some routes and timetables have been required based on scheduling of bus services and to ensure timetable accuracy.

For Blackstone Heights (route 161) a decision has been made to maintain the current section of the route through Neptune Drive and Glover Avenue, rather than remove it as previously proposed.

The frequency of services to Coles Bay has also increased compared to what was originally proposed.

Fares and ticketing changes

Information on fares for Northern region bus services will be released soon and will be available here.

Some regional operators - East Tamar Bus Lines (formerly Lees Coaches) and Sainty’s North East Bus Services are moving to a smart card ticketing system. More information on these ticketing changes is available here.

Further information

Northern region – towns and regions surrounding Launceston

If you require further information about changes to services in the Northern region, including services provided by Manions’ Coaches, East Tamar Bus Lines (formerly Lees Coaches), Sainty’s North East Bus Services, Tassielink and Calow’s Coaches you can contact the bus service operator directly. You can also contact the Department of State Growth for this information as well as information about the review and consultation, using the contact information here.

Launceston network

The Metro customer service team is available to help you understand the changes to Metro services, including school services.  Please contact correspondence@metrotas.com.au or ring 13 22 01.