By: Fabian Cotter

CONTRACTS FOR Melbourne’s airport bus services have been “overhauled” – effective 1 July, 2018 - to improve services and put passengers first, according to the Victorian State Government.

SkyBus will continue to deliver airport services under a 10-year performance-based contract, it's been announced.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan announced the Labor Government has signed a consolidated contract with SkyBus to deliver new services under a performance-based contract, it’s stated.

SkyBus has partnered with the Government on a new contract, which will "drive more and better services for passengers," it’s claimed.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: "We’ve delivered a new contract that will modernise, expand and upgrade Melbourne’s airport bus services to deliver more services to passengers."

"Our new airport bus service contract puts passengers first when it comes to airport bus service planning and delivery."

Statistics show more than 3.8 million trips are taken on SkyBus services each year, with the services supporting around 330 local jobs. The new contract provides more flexibility and expands services where they are needed most: Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs, the Government says.

The Western Express will commence as a new 60-minute frequency service operating seven days per week, between 7am to 7pm. Additional service and reliability improvements to the revamped Peninsula Express service will include simplified fares, a new ‘turn-up-and-go’ service, additional Rosebud and Mornington services and new stops at Mordialloc and Mentone, it’s stated.

Related article: SkyBus acquires Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle
Related article: SkyBus acquires Gold Coast Tourist Shuttle

SkyBus will deliver fare price savings for Peninsula passengers with the introduction of a cheaper standard family fare, including free travel for kids. The newly consolidated contract also allows the Government the ability to introduce an airport rail line between the Melbourne CBD and Tullamarine Airport, it’s stated.

SkyBus, with its dedicated Melbourne Airport to City express airport bus service, has operated for 40 years. The AATS Group operates SkyBus services, with an annual passenger growth averaging 6 per cent per year, it’s stated.

Also commencing on 1 July, 2018, SkyBus will introduce a new Werribee-to-Melbourne Airport service (via Tarneit) that will provide passengers in the western suburbs of Melbourne with a direct link to the airport.

The new contracts will run for 10 years, "if the operator meets strict performance targets," the Government says. Contract negotiations with other bus operators are progressing as planned, it’s claimed, and are expected to be finalised before the end of June 2018, it’s reported.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 included $50 million to kick start work for a fast-rail link from Geelong to Melbourne, as well as creating a rail pathway to Melbourne Airport.

Treasurer and Member for Werribee Tim Pallas said: "This is great news for people out west, with the new service between Melbourne Airport and Werribee directly connecting passengers between Tullamarine and Melbourne’s growing western suburbs for the first time."

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