State Cabinet has agreed to a restructuring plan for Transperth which will see a mix of private and public passenger transport services in the metropolitan area.
Transport Minister Eric Charlton said that under the plan, public transport services in Perth would be opened up to competition with a new corporatised Transperth competing for metropolitan bus, train and ferry operations.
It was estimated the changes would save Transperth up to $41 million dollars annually by 1995-96.
"The changes will reduce the community cost of providing public transport while at the same time preserve the integrated multi-model nature of the system," Mr Charlton said.
"The system will remain fully integrated, but the changes will make it more efficient, effective and flexible by combining transport resources.
"It is a significant departure from the current system in that the plan utilises all resources available such as private and community bus operators and taxis - not just the resources of Transperth."
Under the plan, to be implemented over three years, Transperth would be restructured to separate its dual roles of public transport co-ordinator and public transport provider.
The Department of Transport would assume the role of transport service co-ordinator under an Executive Director, Metropolitan Transport.
It would be responsible for letting tenders for specific services, and ensuring that the Government's community service obligation was met, that fare structures were consistent across the board and that the standard of transport services remained the same.
Transperth would be corporatised to place it on a proper commercial footing. It would continue as the provider of public transport services, with the private sector invited to tender for passenger service contracts.
Mr Charlton said that suburban train services could continue to be provided by Westrail or a private operator on contract through the public transport co-ordinator.
He said competitive tendering for public transport operations would begin progressively next year.
"The plan will see the Government continuing to maintain the quality and standard of service while reducing the community cost of providing public transport," the Minister said.
"The burden on the community to subsidise the public transport system has grown in real terms from $90 million to more than $180 million in the last 10 years, and while the previous government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on improving infrastructure, it did not devise a way of paying for it."
New legislation would be required to establish the powers, roles and objectives of the corporate Transperth and existing legislation - the Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport and the Transport Co-ordination Acts - would need amending.
Mr Charlton will report to Cabinet on the progress of the plan's implementation within six months.
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