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Pre-qualification launched for Victorias new Metropolitan Zero Emission Bus Franchises

The Victorian Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) has launched pre-qualification for new 10-year bus contracts

The Victorian Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) is seeking to deliver a more modern, productive and environmentally sustainable bus network.

Buses are a vital part of Victoria’s integrated transport system, with around 400 regular bus routes servicing metro Melbourne and local bus networks operating in more than 50 regional towns and cities.

The process of recontracting 30 per cent of Victoria’s metropolitan bus network is now underway, with DTP inviting suitable organisations to obtain pre-qualification to participate in the upcoming tender for the Metropolitan ZEB Franchises.

The new Metropolitan ZEB Franchises are an important next step under Victoria’s Bus Plan, to deliver holistic reform to the bus network across Victoria. Victoria’s Bus Plan sets out how Victoria will deliver a more modern, productive and environmentally sustainable bus network, increasing the number of people choosing to take the bus and delivering simple, safe, reliable and comfortable journeys.

Contracts across Melbourne’s west, north and north-east and inner south-east will be up for tender with the new 10-year bus contracts supporting Victoria’s transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable bus fleet. There are seven new franchises to be competitively tendered under a single procurement process, with new operations to commence on July 1, 2025.

In the tender process, the market will be asked to submit proposals on how to boost passenger experience, deliver network and operating efficiencies and optimise the transition to zero emissions buses.

Under the new franchises, buses and depots will be transitioned to full ZEB operations by the end of the 10-year contract term, representing the next stage of investment from the Victorian government, building on the current $20 million trial of 52 ZEBs across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour. The trial is informing the full transition of around 4,500 diesel buses in the state’s public fleet to zero emissions. The trial is also fostering vital local industry partnerships – such as with energy providers and manufacturers – that will be needed to achieve the transition across the state.

Earlier in August ahead of the pre-qualification, the Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll launched the Zero Emissions Bus Transition Consultation Paper. The paper sets out the proposed approach to the ZEB transition in Victoria and invites industry and public feedback on how the industry can partner with the Victorian government in the transition to reduce emissions, improve passenger experiences and create secure jobs in the bus industry.

Interested organisations can now apply for pre-qualification for the Metropolitan ZEB Franchises procurement on the Buying for Victoria website, with submissions due by August 24, 2023 at 2.00pm AEST.

To find out more on the ZEB Transition Consultation paper, and have your say visit the Engage Victoria website by September 3, 2023.

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