Transperth bus contractor Connex WA has been sold to another Transperth operator, Swan Transit.
The Connex WA contract covered the Claremont to Belmont area. It was one of 10 contract areas and included approximately 15 per cent of the Transperth bus network.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has formally approved the sale and assured passengers it would not impact on customers.
Ms MacTiernan said that the long-term bus contracts entered into by the previous government had given bus companies a capacity to sell their businesses.
“Both Connex WA and Swan Transit understand their contractual obligations and I am satisfied that this will be a seamless transition with no impact on services,” she said.
“This sale is likely to benefit the network by leaving three operators, each with a substantial share.
“I therefore expect to see some operational efficiencies arising out of Swan Transit being able to operate over a larger area, and any efficiencies in operation will be returned to the passengers with better services.
“While I would not rule out a future Government role in the provision of bus services, this was not a realistic opportunity to consider that option, given that coverage of only one sixth of the bus network was affected.”
Ms MacTiernan said that she was satisfied with the ongoing and improving performance of the Transperth system but emphasised the Government would continue to be vigilant in ensuring standards are maintained.
“Satisfaction levels with the Transperth public transport system are at an all-time high, and the network recorded over 86.8 million boardings in the 2001-02 financial year,” she said.
“That patronage figure continues to rise and service improvements are being rolled out constantly.”
The Minister said Connex’s original decision to enter the Perth market was likely to have been part of a longer-term strategy to build a larger business by taking a future stake in other parts of the public transport system, if the previous government had had the opportunity to privatise the urban train network as well as buses.
“The Labor Government has made it clear that it will not be privatising any passenger rail services,” she said.
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