Tender process for the privatisation of region 8 bus services is now open. Image: Sydney Morning Herald.

The controversial privatisation of local bus services is going ahead, with a competitive tender process for operating Region 8 bus services on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore opening today.

The tender is an opportunity for leading transport operators from both Australia and overseas to demonstrate how they will deliver improved services to customers on behalf of the State Government, Transport for NSW explains.

“We’re looking for an operator to deliver new and innovative services for our customers on the North Shore and Northern Beaches,” Spokesperson Elizabeth Mildwater said.

“This will mean more frequent and convenient services throughout the day, including turn-up-and-go and On Demand routes.

“We’re also looking for operators to show us how they can help the Government transition to zero emission buses, and improve real-time information that will help customers to better plan their journeys and connect with other transport modes.”

Tenders called for Region 8 bus services.

The start of the competitive tender process in Region 8 follows several months of market sounding in 2019. Tenders will close on 30 September 2020, with the transition to the new operator expected during the final quarter of 2021. As part of the franchising process, the NSW Government will maintain control of routes, fares, assets such as buses and the existing depots at North Sydney, Brookvale and Mona Vale.

“All operational staff, including bus drivers and maintenance staff, will have the opportunity to transfer to the new operator with a two-year job guarantee on the same award terms and conditions,” Ms. Mildwater said.

“Every effort will be made to find roles for non-operational award employees before services change hands to the new operator, either with the new operator or within the public sector.”

Prospective tenderers can register to participant in the tender for Region 8 by going to the NSW Government’s eTenders website. The competitive tender process for the two other regions currently operated by State Transit, Region 7 in Sydney’s north and Region 9 in Sydney’s east, are currently planned to open in August and November respectively.

Region 8 bus service to be privatised.