On 17 December 2017, Keolis Downer began passenger service on a 7.3 km long extension of the Gold Coast tram network in Queensland, Australia. The extension increases the network’s total length from 13 km to 20.3 km. The opening occurs ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where light rail will play a vital role. To mark the occasion, an official opening ceremony was held at the new Helensvale station, in the presence of Queensland State officials, including Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier.
Keolis operates in Australia through its subsidiary Keolis Downer (51% for Keolis, 49% for Downer). Keolis Downer is part of the GoldlinQ public-private partnership, which in 2011 was selected by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads to operate and maintain the G:link tram network, for 18 years. The 13km network entered passenger service in 2014 and The Department of Transport and Main Roads awarded the contract to operate the 7.3 km line extension to GoldlinQ Pty Ltd in May 2016. This is the first greenfield transport system to have been funded by a public-private partnership in Australia with all 3 levels of government.
The new extension has added three new stations to the network, bringing the total number of stations to 19. Four new trams were added to the fleet increasing fleet numbers to 18 light rail vehicles.
G:link now travels north to Helensvale, where it links directly to the railway station allowing passengers to connect with train services to Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city. The extended network will provide the Gold Coast community with easier public transport access to key social hubs and provide an efficient alternative to the car. This supports the Queensland Government’s objective to improve the rail connectivity between Queensland’s two largest cities and drive economic growth. The extension will also support the increased need for sustainable transport solutions for a population that is set to increase from 575,000 to 1 million people, by 2040.
Since beginning operations, G:link’s original 13km network has performed highly with results of 97% punctuality and 90% customer satisfaction in 2017. Results such as these prove the value of an efficient transport system. 22,000 trips are made on G:link every day which equates to 660,000 passengers every month. Since beginning operations, the Gold Coast has seen a 31.8% increase in patronage across bus and tram services, providing a significant boost to the region’s social and economic development.
Keolis Downer is immensely proud to be operating this extension to the Gold Coast’s vibrant and popular tram network. The growth of the service will enable more people in the community to benefit from an efficient, sustainable form of transport. We are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games next year to deliver an optimal experience to all visitors travelling to the Gold Coast, and support TransLink and the Queensland Government to make public transport a major success of the Games.
Keolis Downer currently operates in five states across Australia, which in addition to G:link, includes Yarra Trams in Melbourne ( the largest network in the world), Australia’s first multimodal network in Newcastle, New South Wales and bus networks in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.