Newcastle is set for a new era of public transport, with better and more frequent services and a new timetabling system that will link bus, ferry and light rail timetables to ensure the best services for customers.
NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced today that a new operator Newcastle Transport will start running services next year.
“We are investing more than $500 million to breathe new life into Newcastle, and we will now have a transport system in place to support the extra jobs and activity at the heart of a truly revitalised Newcastle,” Mr Baird said.
“Newcastle Transport will guarantee better and more frequent public transport options, giving Novocastrians the world-class transport they deserve.”
Mr Constance said the successful Keolis Downer bid for Newcastle Transport delivered massive service improvements for Newcastle commuters, which is why it was chosen over lower cost bids.
“For the first time, the operator will have to guarantee a better deal for locals. Ferry commuters will get a service every 15 minutes throughout the day. Light rail customers will get a service every 7.5 minutes, an improvement on the expected 10 minute wait,” Mr Constance said.
“Under this plan, buses will cover more ground, a new “night owl” bus service will be set up to support the weekend night-time economy, and the city will get on-demand buses.
“In an Australian-first upgrade, Newcastle Transport will chuck out-dated timetables in the bin, and work with locals to create a network that works for this unique, booming city.
“In addition to more frequent ferry services, the fleet will also be refurbished to improve reliability and comfort.”
Newcastle Transport will start running bus and ferry services in July 2017, and service changes will start in 2018 to minimise disruption. It will run the light rail when it opens in 2019.
Transport workers will be protected, with all State Transit operational staff retaining their jobs under Newcastle Transport. Fares will remain part of the Opal system.
Today the NSW Government also signed Stage Two of the contract with Downer EDI as Managing Contractor to design, construct and commission the new light rail, including a stabling and maintenance facility and associated precinct works.