Public transport in Perth enters a new era this weekend with the take over of the South Perth ferry service by a private company.
Transport Minister Eric Charlton said today that Captain Cook Cruises, which won the tender to operate the service, had formed a new company - Perth Water Transport - with some of the existing ferry staff as directors and shareholders.
Perth Water Transport officially began the service today, taking over from the Metropolitan Transport Trust.
"This is the first step in opening up our public transport services to private competition," Mr Charlton said.
"We are determined to continue to have one of the best public transport systems in the world, and to achieve that aim at least cost to the public means we needed to introduce a competitive element into our system."
Tenders for the ferry service were called in August last year and closed in September.
Mr Charlton said that opening up the service to competition would mean a saving to the Government of about $100,000 a year.
He said the ferry service carried about half a million passengers each year.
"The figures are an indication the service is well patronised, and we would expect the numbers to grow in future," he said.
Competition is also being introduced to Perth's bus services with the opening of tenders for the Joondalup North and Armadale South services. Tenders for both close at the end of February and it is expected operations will begin in July.
Tenders will be called in March for the Mandurah, Rockingham and Midland bus routes, with operations to begin from October.
Media contact: Dean Roberts 321 7333