NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance, has announced Busways as the winning tender for the Greater Sydney Bus Contract 7 transport region covering the lower North Shore and inner North West areas.

The contact is one of the largest in Greater Sydney and will see Busways take over from January next year operating almost 1.1 million trips a year in a region that extends from Parramatta to the Sydney CBD.

It’s the first time this Sydney bus region will be managed by a private operator as Transport for NSW sells off the contracts to contractors across the city.

Busways, is an Australian-owned and Sydney-based operator which has been operating in the bus  industry for around eight decades.

The company says it has “an appetite for collaborative government and industry partnerships”, and says it is working across “five of TfNSW’s Future Transport Technology Roadmap’s six priority programs for transport technology and customer benefits”.

Busways says this includes projects in zero emissions technology, demand-responsive transport, automated passenger vehicle services, and real-time customer information to improve customer experience on the NSW public transport network.

Busways managing director, Byron Rowe said it will focus on efficiencies, new technologies and improving the customer experience over the new eight-year contract, including the fleet transformation to zero emissions electric buses.

“By appointing Busways, the NSW government has backed an Australian-owned company to deliver world-class services for customers of the integrated transport network,” Byron Rowe said.

“We look forward to continuing our highly effective and positive working relationship with the NSW Government, our partner for eight decades, to deliver customer value and introduce innovations that help more people to easily, quickly and safely use public transport.”

Under the contract, Busways will take over the management of 900 employees, 453 buses and two depots to the company’s expanding operations, solidifying its position as Australia’s largest privately-owned bus operator.  The win follows Busways’ expansion into South Australia last year.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the region’s employees to join our team. This is a priority for us, we will innovate around COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important for people to have access to information and opportunities to chat and get to know us” Mr Rowe said.

Mr Rowe said Busways will make significant investments in enhancing services to improve customer journey experiences in the lower North Shore and inner North West, including fleetwide upgrades for onboard CCTV, two-way radio system, and fleet presentation standards.

Busways will work with Transport for NSW to electrify the fleet, deliver a substantial capital works program to increase depot capacity, and introduce smart technology and real time passenger information at bus stops, with necessary planning already underway.

“We are a passionate and energised team backed by a solid and respected track record.  We’re a unique Australian story. We started running one passenger service in 1942 driven by the belief that people need great public transport. Almost eight decades later we’re still passionate and committed to providing a valued bus service that can be relied on.” Mr Rowe added.