Transport Minister Eric Charlton today announced the names of the successful private sector tenderers who would take over the operation of bus services currently operated by MetroBus.
The new companies had bid on the open market for contracts to run the CAT system in central Perth and Transperth services in Fremantle, Cockburn, Morley and Belmont/Claremont.
The Transport Management Group (trading as Southern Coast Transit) is the preferred tenderer for the Fremantle, Cockburn and CAT system services. International operator CGEA Transport Asia Pacific Pty Ltd is the preferred tenderer for Belmont/Claremont service while Australian Transit Enterprises Pty Ltd (trading as PATH Transit Pty Ltd) is the preferred tenderer for the Morley service.
Expressions of interest closed on November 7, 1997 and tenders were invited from 21 interested parties. When the tender process closed on February 27, 11 submissions had been received.
"We have conducted an exhaustive evaluation process and are very pleased with the calibre of the submissions we received from local, national and international organisations," Mr Charlton said.
"This announcement is another step along the path to ensure that Perth has a quality public transport system, based on standards of international best practice.
"In the past year we have achieved an increase of more than two million additional passengers using the buses, which was the first increase in more than nine years.
"Since the private sector took over operations of 50 per cent of Metrobus routes last year, 10 major new routes have been added to the network and services on five other routes have been enhanced through measures like higher frequencies.
"With 133 latest-technology buses due to come into service late this year or early next year we will be in an even better position to service the public.
"The new operators will ensure that the bus services can respond quickly to the changing demands of a rapidly growing city. They will be flexible and innovative and above all, customer-focussed.
"The Transport Management Group Pty Ltd has a proven track record with its public transport bus services across Australia, including Perth's Southern Coast Transit operations and will bring the special experience of its Melbourne Skybus service to the operation of the CAT System.
"CGEA Transport Asia Pacific Pty Ltd is an extremely well regarded Australian-based company, with a internationally renowned parent company which boasts over 100 years of passenger transport experience."
Mr Charlton said CGEA Transport operated 12,000 buses world-wide.
The Minister said the other successful tenderer, Australian Transit Enterprises Pty Ltd, was ideally and competitively placed to add the Morley service to its existing operations in Perth.
"The new operators will take over the services from MetroBus on July 4 and a full severance package will be offered to those MetroBus employees who transfer to the private organisations," he said.
"We have been working with all of the MetroBus employees to ensure they have as much assistance as they need to assess the options available.
"The feedback we have had has been very positive, with many MetroBus people looking forward to a new and challenging career with new innovative employers."
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333