TRANSIT SYSTEMS ‘TO ACQUIRE’ ADELAIDE LCB - 370 BUSES, 700 EMPLOYEES

By: Fabian Cotter


ADELAIDE’s Light City Buses (LCB) is under negotiation between current operator Broadspectrum and Transit Systems’ subsidiary Torrens Transit, according to Transit Systems.

TRANSIT SYSTEMS ‘TO ACQUIRE’ ADELAIDE LCB - 370 BUSES, 700 EMPLOYEES
All LCB staff will be offered a position with Torrens Transit, Transit Systems states.

Torrens Transit has signed a contract to acquire Light City Buses (LCB) and it will involve the transfer of more than 370 buses and 700 employees into the Torrens Transit network, it’s stated. The services to be transitioned were previously operated by Torrens Transit between 2005 and 2011, says Transit Systems.

With a history spanning 18 years in Adelaide, Torrens Transit is the only Australian-owned operator in the State and will lean on its own local network knowledge to work with Government to investigate and implement service improvements, including the potential relinking of services across the areas covered by Torrens Transit’s three contract areas, it’s stated.

Transit Systems Group CEO - and local Adelaide resident - Clint Feuerherdt added that they would be looking to reduce city congestion, while increasing frequency, connections and convenience.

"We have a successful history of performance in Adelaide, and we are keen to deliver improved services through our local knowledge, combined with our global experience in some of the world’s best public transport networks across Australia, London and Singapore," he said.

"This transaction enables us to further bring the benefits of our experience as a leading operator in London and Singapore to Adelaide. We are looking forward to bringing world’s best practice to even more Adelaide commuters."

Transit Systems also owns and operates BRIDJ, Australia’s first demand-responsive public bus transport solution, holding the first contract in Sydney to blend both mass and on-demand transit, as part of the Region 6 contract in the Transport for NSW network, the company states.

"We are excited to work with the South Australian Government to deliver improved services for the Adelaide community and ensure the moving public can get on with their day in the most time-efficient manner possible."

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All timetables, routes and bus stops in Adelaide will continue to be regulated by the Government and all buses and other assets, such as depots, will remain under the control of Government. All LCB staff will be offered a position with Torrens Transit, Transit Systems states.

Fares will continue to be set by the Government, just as they are today, and passengers will continue to use their Metrocards as they currently do, it’s claimed.

The transaction is in the final stages of "due diligence" and is "expected to complete early June 2018", it’s stated.

What’s In A Name?

Originally known as Transfield Services, Broadspectrum was the approved change of name for the construction and maintenance firm late 2015.

When ABC magazine contacted Broadspectrum with regards to why it rebranded, a company spokesperson stated:

"Broadspectrum was formerly Transfield Services. It rebranded after Transfield Holdings reduced its shareholding in the formerly listed company and the licence to the ‘Transfield’ name expired."

Media reports at the time, however, recount the reason being controversy from the company holding contracts on detention centres Manus Island and Nauru.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper among other media outlets, Transfield Holdings - a privately held company owned by the sons of Transfield's founder Franco Belgiorno-Nettis – sought to distance itself from Transfield Services for that reason.

Asked if in 2018 Broadspectrum still had any links, services, bus contracts or anything associated with the detention centres on those islands today, the spokesperson replied: "The Regional Processing Centres are managed by the Government. Broadspectrum’s contracts with the Government concluded in October 2017. There is no link. Any enquiries regarding services at the Regional Process Centre can be directed to the Department at media@homeaffairs.gov.au."

"Transit Systems has issued a media statement to confirm their intent to acquire Light City Buses."

Who Is Broadspectrum?

According to Boradspectrum’s website, Transfield Services was founded in Australia in 1956 by an Italian-born electrical engineer, Franco Belgiorno-Nettis. He called his company Transfield Services and was joined by former colleague from Electric Power Transmission (a power line engineer), Carlo Salteri.

Together Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis built Transfield into one of Australia's most successful companies and focused on major engineering projects such as bridges, tunnels, dams, hydro-electric and coal power stations, oil rigs, concert halls, sugar mills and power lines, it’s stated. Included in its list of achievements is constructing the Gateway Bridge in Brisbane and working on the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

By the early 1980s, it employed more than 3000 people and had an annual turnover of $350 million. It was known as the biggest engineering firm in south-east Asia, it’s claimed.

Broadspectrum (née Transfield) was so well known that Pope John Paul II toured its factory in Seven Hills, NSW, when visiting Australia in 1986, it’s stated.

It added to its vast capabilities in the late 1980s by establishing a naval shipbuilding arm in Australia. Amongst its first projects was the construction of two FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy. It acquired the Williamstown Dockyard in Melbourne and, in 1989, won the AUD$6 billion contract to build 10 ANZAC class frigates for the Australian and New Zealand Governments – the largest defence contract in Australia at the time, it’s stated.

Also in 1989, Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis stood down as joint managing directors of Transfield Holdings in favour of their eldest sons, Paul Salteri and Marco Belgiorno-Zegna, the company states.

In 1995, the Salteri and Belgiorno-Nettis families evenly divided the company (valued at $733.2 million), with the Belgiorno-Nettis family keeping the Transfield name, having earlier established Transfield Holdings’ Operations and Maintenance division in 1993 at Mobil Altona in Victoria.

In 2015, the company was rebranded to Broadspectrum.

Ferrovial’s acquisition in 2016 was closely followed by Broadspectrum’s ASX delisting after 15 years as a publicly listed company.

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