Transport Minister Eric Charlton today announced the successful operator of a radical new free bus service to replace the City Clipper network in central Perth and West Perth.
Called CAT - for Central Area Transit - the new service will start in mid-July after a fleet of 16 technologically advanced new buses is delivered.
Mr Charlton said the Government-owned MetroBus had won the contract to operate the service. The contract was for three years with the option of a further two.
"MetroBus's tender provided the best value for money under the valuation formula applied to all the tenders by the assessment panel," he said.
The CAT system will streamline the free central area bus service. The red route will extend from the eastern extremity of the city to Outram Street, West Perth, and the blue route will create a north-south loop from the city foreshore of the Swan River to the Northbridge arts, business and leisure precinct.
Mr Charlton said he was particularly impressed with the result of the world-wide search for the best bus to operate the CAT system. A mid-sized, low emission Scandinavian bus has been selected.
"Among the many outstanding features of this bus is how well it caters for people with physical disabilities, the elderly, mothers with prams or toddlers and people carrying bulky parcels of shopping," he said.
"The buses have no steps and their floors are completely flat. Moreover, they can raise or lower themselves on their suspension so that the floor of the bus is at the same level as the footpath.
"These and other innovations - including refrigerated air-conditioning - will bring a tremendous improvement to central bus services."
Mr Charlton said specially designed bus shelters would be built for the CAT system.
"They are designed with a focus on service," he said.
"Passengers will have shorter waits between buses than at present - and will know through an electronic tracking and reporting system exactly how far away the next bus is. The system will update this information continuously at each stop.
"Passenger destination information displays at each stop have also been improved.
"Perth's free central-area bus service is unique in Australia. The CAT system will make the best even better."
The CAT project is funded by the State and Federal Governments and the City of Perth. MetroBus will be paid a set monthly fee to run and maintain the buses, which will be leased from Transperth.
Media contact: Sally Squires 321 7333