25/02/2020 | Stephan Knoll MP | Better Services | Lower Costs

Better train services are one step closer for South Australians with the Marshall Government progressing its plan to deliver a modern and customer focussed public transport network.

The State Government has released an Invitation to Supply (ITS) to the three shortlisted proponents announced last year.

The three shortlisted consortia were;

  • Adelaide Next (a consortium between Deutsche Bahn and John Holland with Bombardier as a sub-contractor);
  • Keolis Downer (a consortium between Keolis and Downer EDI); and,
  • TrainCo (a consortium between Transdev and CAF).

“We are leaving no stone unturned with our reforms to deliver better and more customer focussed bus, train and tram services,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“When Labor left Office, South Australia had one of the lowest public transport patronage levels in the country and the worst level of service integration.

“Labor’s poor record means more people were catching public transport ten years ago than when they left Office.

“That’s why we are modernising our public transport network and bringing trains and tram in line with the same model that our buses have operated under for the last 20 years.

“Since we’ve been rolling out our reforms, we’ve seen some green shoots with public transport patronage increasing by over one million trips last financial year compared to the previous year.

“We will be capitalising on the vast private sector experience to help deliver better train and tram services while maintaining control of the assets, fares and service frequency.

“The companies associated with the shortlisted proponents have experience delivering better services in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as in Europe.

“By providing better and more customer focussed services, we will encourage more South Australians to leave the car at home and catch a bus, train or tram.”

The short-listed consortia all have experience in the management and service delivery of rail services, some of which is within other jurisdictions in Australia.

These companies have proven records in improving service delivery and customer experience and supporting employees through the transition from a public to a private operation.

After receiving offers as part of the ITS process, the State Government will then undertake a thorough assessment of their responses before deciding on a successful tenderer in the second half of 2020.


The focus of the procurement process will be to deliver better and more customer-focussed services that will grow patronage and enable:

  • A strong customer voice with high levels of customer satisfaction;
  • Improved integration of train services with other public transport modes;
  • More frequent and faster services;
  • Greater collaboration with customers and stakeholders; and
  • Innovative and accessible service delivery (responsive to changes in the social and technological environment and accessible to the mobility challenged).

The Adelaide Metro rail network operates across four major lines: Belair (21.5km), Gawler (42.2km), Outer Harbor (21.9km) and Seaford (36.0km) with spur lines on Grange (5.5km) and Tonsley (currently 3.9km).

Under this model, the State Government will retain control of services and will:

  • Retain ownership of rail assets, including trains, trams, tracks and stations;
  • Set requirements for levels of services;
  • Continue to set the far price for travel on trains;
  • Retain the revenue; and
  • Enter into a performance-based franchise contract that keeps the operator focussed firmly on the efficiency and quality of service deliver to customers.

The State Government is committed to working collaboratively with employees who will be impacted by the change in delivery model.

Employees and employee associations will be consulted in relation to proposed changes which will impact on employees as the project progresses.