Perth buses to go below

Moves are underway to call for tenders to sink Perth’s Wellington Street bus station

Perth buses to go below
Perth buses to go below

By David Goeldner | January 23, 2013

It’s a vision that has eluded Perth’s town planners for decades, and is now about to be realised – linking the CBD with the nearby Northridge entertainment precinct.

Key to the plan is sinking the Wellington Street bus station, taking Perth’s busiest bus interchange underground, while creating an urban village connecting the two inner city precincts on the surface across a new 5.2 hectare transit-oriented inner urban development.

The City Link project this week reached a new phase with WA Transport Minister Troy Buswell calling for expressions of interests – in bureau-speak ‘requests for proposals’ – canvassing prospective construction companies to tender for the sinking of the bus station.

"This is a major step, as the sinking of the bus station is the last public transport component of the Perth City Link project which will transform our city by reconnecting the CBD and Northbridge," Buswell says.

The bus station is the last part of the plan to go underground, with about half of the adjacent commuter rail yard already excavated, similarly taking Perth’s inner city trains below street surface at the site.

A feature of the underground bus station will be the use of a dynamic stand allocation system, which Buswell claims as an Australian first, although modelled on the old Christchurch bus station, prior to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The system is based on buses arriving and departing from the next available bay at the station, within a range of allocated stands.

The Wellington Street underground station will have 16 stands, replacing 17 currently above ground.

Request for proposals to sink and construct the bus station were this week issued through WA’s Public Transport Authority (PTA).

The main ‘alliance’ construction contract is expected to be worth about $175 million, with the project as a whole close to $250 million.

Buswell explains the difference in cost between construction and delivery will be $75 million for an ‘intelligent transport system’ required to manage traffic through the new facility, and also includes costs for temporary works in conjunction with nearby rail.

He says the Wellington Street Bus Station (WSBS) project would be carried out through a rail alliance contract.

"Because we want the transition from the rail side of the project to the WSBS work to be seamless, we are giving plenty of notice to those organisations which might be interested in undertaking such a landmark job," Buswell says.

"This is especially important given the task of sinking the railway is already more than 50 percent complete and our experience with the rail contract suggests the process of briefing potential tenderers, development and subsequent evaluation of bids, final negotiation, and formulation and signing of an alliance contract can take almost a year."

The underground Wellington Street Bus Station will allow an uninterrupted street level connection to run from Perth’s Queen Street to Nick’s Lane.

About 12,000 passenger boardings a day are expected at the new bus interchange, which is expected to open in 2016.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook