PT re-think in regional NSW

Entirely new public transport network planned for Newcastle to integrate with light-rail

A new multi-modal public transport system for Newcastle will be implemented and the New South Wales (NSW) Government may select a local bus operator to spearhead the initiative.

Newcastle residents are unsatisfied with current services and a fresh approach, focused on better integration between the new light-rail line, bus and rail is proposed.

"We are asking global leaders to create Transport for Newcastle, connecting the city with one major operator to plan and run Newcastle Light Rail, buses, ferries and interchanges," NSW minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance announced recently.

"Patronage on public transport in Newcastle has dropped and customers tell us service levels are not up to scratch.

"It’s clear the current approach to transport in Newcastle isn’t working so it’s time to think outside the box."

With the new light rail system on the way, Constance says the time is right to completely re-think the public transport network in Newcastle to support jobs, growth, and urban renewal in the CBD.

"If we want Newcastle to reach its potential, we need to create a modern and connected system that links light-rail with frequent and reliable buses, ferries and trains.

The plan required one transport operator to partner with the City of Newcastle to deliver a modern network, where using more than one mode of public transport is seamless.

"Rather than having multiple operators running ad hoc services with mismatched timetables, services would be streamlined to a sole provider, Transport for Newcastle, focussed on customer service," Constance says.

"The community has been very clear on their desire for more locally based decisions about transport in Newcastle.

"This would be public transport run in Newcastle, for Novocastrians, not run from Sydney."

A ‘market sounding’ process is now underway and the NSW Government will evaluate interest in the integrated transport model early next year.

Any new operator would need to base themselves in Newcastle and work closely with the community to design and run the network.

It is the government’s intention that existing jobs be carried over to the new integrated operator and Transport For NSW will retain full control of fares.

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