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Its key outcomes included:

  • The review and redesign of all our publicly-contracted bus services;
  • The development of new contracts and more efficient funding models, in close consultation with industry;
  • Successful negotiation of long-term contracts with 106 school bus operators and eight general access operators across Tasmania. These cover over 349 school bus services and 17 general access bus services;
  • Review of all the routes and schedules for these services, and implementation of extensive network changes and new timetables across the South and North of the state, with the North West rollout postponed to 2021, due to COVID;
  • Extensive consultation with bus operators, stakeholders, and the public;
  • The provision of financial assistance for those operators exiting the industry;
  • Installation of new bus stop infrastructure to support the new networks; and
  • The implementation of an interim common ticketing solution across general access operators.

The project also delivered the Government’s election commitment to provide a further 5 + 5 year contract for existing bus operators provided they meet key performance conditions and there is an ongoing need for the service.

This commitment was delivered under an approved alternative procurement process using a set of guidelines to match operators to services. These guidelines are outlined in the Bus Services Re-Contracting Process Guidelines.

1Why were bus services reviewed?

The catalyst for the bus services review was that all long term contracts for public transport bus services (including student only bus services) expired throughout 2018 and early 2019.

Under section 49(2)(a) of the Passenger Transport Services Act 2011 contracts can run for a maximum of ten years which means legally the contracts couldn’t be renewed or extended.

The re-contracting of services provided an opportunity to review the school and general access bus network state-wide, to achieve the right balance of smart route design and faster travel time while ensuring the services remain accessible and meet a broad range of transport needs.

To simplify transition issues to new services for passengers and operators, short term contracts were offered to operators in many circumstances to allow changes to services to be rolled out on a single date and on a regional basis.