The Government's reform of Perth's public transport system was gaining momentum and preliminary results were encouraging, Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today.
Mr Charlton said that subject to final negotiation, the Transperth South Perth ferry service would go to a private operator, Captain Cook Cruises. There were six tenderers for the contract, including the Metropolitan (Perth) Passenger Transport Trust (MTT).
Captain Cook Cruises was currently negotiating with MTT staff operating the service about their continued employment.
Mr Charlton said expressions of interest for the first two of several groups of Transperth bus services had been called, centring on services north of Joondalup and south of Armadale.
"More than 15 organisations, including some established bus operators from the Eastern States and overseas, have registered an interest," the Minister said.
"Consideration will be given to accessibility to those services by disabled people following agreement between the Department of Transport and parties representing people with disabilities to create an action plan for improved access to all public transport.
"Tenders for services in both these areas will be called in the next few weeks."
In the New Year, expressions of interest for further Transperth services would be called.
"Innovation from private transport operators seeking to enter the public transport market and from the MTT will be a crucial element to tenderers succeeding," Mr Charlton said.
"The MTT was innovative, along with the taxi industry, in providing the new Nightrider service in conjunction with Northbridge businesses. This service is gaining in popularity after only three weeks.
"The MTT's Charter (Special Hire) Group was recently recognised by the Chartered Institute of Transport and its customers with an award of excellence. The MTT will provide transport services for next month's International Scout Jamboree.
"It is also crucial that the MTT proceed with its reform process, particularly in the area of driver operations, to enable it to compete successfully with the private sector.
"I am convinced that the Government's strategy for improving public transport in Perth is correct, and I am committed to seeing that Perth has not only the best services on offer, but also the most efficient."
Media contact: Dean Roberts 321 7333