Move to franchise Inner West bus services a big win for commuters

The Tourism & Transport Forum, Australia’s leading tourism and transport advocacy group, has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement today it will franchise State Transit Authority bus routes across Sydney’s Inner West.

“The NSW Government and Transport Minister Andrew Constance must be congratulated on recognising the enormous financial and service benefits to both commuters and government that comes from competitive contracting of bus routes to experienced private operators,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said.

“The management of bus networks is an area of transport policy in which the private sector has proven time and time again it can deliver quality services at best value for taxpayers’ money.

“Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin already have bus networks that are completely managed by private operators, not government, and their experience is that franchising has delivered significantly better results across their networks.

“TTF has been calling on the NSW Government to consider a move towards franchising the State Transit Authority ever since our report last year, ‘On the Buses: The Benefits of Private Sector Involvement in the Delivery of Bus Services’, found there is the potential for up to half a billion dollars in savings over five years if Sydney Buses was run by a private operator.

“The report, prepared in conjunction with leading international consulting firm L.E.K., clearly showed that franchising is a great model for governments to embrace for their bus networks – it improves the customer experience through private sector innovation and investment, increases operational efficiency and saves taxpayers significant money that can then be reinvested back into improved public transport services.

“Franchising also keeps the infrastructure, including the buses and depots, in public hands but contracts out the operation of these assets to experienced private operators for the period of the contract.

“Today’s announcement the NSW Government will franchise the Inner West STA region is a very good start that hopefully signals a shift towards franchising more and more regions in due course.”