01/07/2019 | Stephan Knoll MP | Better Services

The State Government will release tenders to contract for the operation of Adelaide Metro tram and train services, to deliver better and more customer focussed services for South Australians.

The State Government can guarantee maintaining the same service frequency and standards and strongly expects to be able to increase service levels once this model is fully implemented.

This means train and tram services will operate under the same arrangement as around 70 per cent of the current public transport network which is provided by outsourced bus services contracted by the former Labor government.  

The Adelaide Metro public transport network is underperforming compared with most other jurisdictions and has;

  • One of the lowest patronage levels in the country;
  • The worst level of integration in the country; and,
  • Almost half of public transport users don’t think they are getting good value for money.

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 fare price for travel on trains and trams;
  • Retain the revenue; and,
  • Enter into a performance-based franchise contract that keeps the operator focussed firmly on the efficiency and quality of service delivery to customers.

“There is no doubt that we can and must provide better and more customer focussed public transport services for South Australians,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“We know that public transport patronage growth has stalled, and customers want a better level of service than is currently provided – and the Marshall Government agrees with our customers.

“Under this model, we will be able to deliver more efficient services, so we can reinvest back into the network to provide better services.

“That’s why the State Government can guarantee maintaining the same service frequency levels and standards and expect an increase in service levels once this model is fully implemented.

“The State Government will still own and control the assets, control fare prices and set service level requirements – in the same way we do for Adelaide Metro buses.

“We will ensure through the tender process that the existing frontline workforce will be provided with the greatest level of opportunity for on-going work.

“We made a commitment to leave no stone unturned as we sought to deliver better public transport services and drive patronage growth.

“The framework will enable the Government to leverage the capability, innovation and expertise from private sector organisations to improve the efficiency and quality of service, while continuing to determine the fare price and the levels of service provided to customers.

“At the moment South Australia is the only jurisdiction in the country that does not outsource the operation of its tram services.

“Melbourne, one of the biggest metropolitan train networks in the country, outsource their operations and has shown how this model can deliver sustained improved efficiency and customer service outcomes.

“If we are going to provide better and more customer focussed public transport services, we need to keep pace with the rest of the nation and benefit from their learnings.”

Outsourcing of operations is increasingly a preferred business model for delivery of public transport services around the world, because it blends government ownership and control with the best practices the private sector can bring to operate efficiently and deliver better services. 

In the past 20 years many European cities have transitioned to outsourced operations.

In Australia, Adelaide led the way in transitioning to the modern form of outsourced service delivery model for bus services in the early 2000s and will now complete the transition for its train and tram network.

Tram services will be included in the scope of Phase 2 of the current Bus Services Contract Tender released on 2 July 2019.  

Timings for the tender for train services will be finalised after a market engagement process that will commence later this year and full transition to private sector operations is expected by mid-2021.

Adelaide Metro’s rail network consists of the Glenelg to Adelaide Entertainment Centre tram service (as well as services in the Adelaide CBD to Festival Plaza and Botanic Gardens), and trains operating across four major lines; Belair (21.5km), Gawler (42.2km), Outer Harbor (21.9km), and Seaford (36.0km) and spur lines on Grange (5.5km) and Tonsley (3.9km).

The State Government is committed to working collaboratively with employees that will be impacted by the change in delivery model and employees and employee associations will be consulted on details of the new service providers.