Keolis starts operating a new real-time on-demand transport service in Newcastle, Australia

Keolis’ Australian subsidiary, Keolis Downer, has started operating a new real-time on-demand transport service in Newcastle, as part of its Smart City Program. This new service builds on the success of existing on-demand services in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, where ridership continues to grow by over 5% each month. It provides the local community and visitors a better access to public transport and aims to shift from private cars to public transport

On 28 October 2019, Keolis’ Australian subsidiary, Keolis Downer, started operating a new real-time on-demand transport service in Newcastle. The new service is a 12-month trial that is part of the Newcastle Smart City Program being implemented by the City of Newcastle. 

It will further optimise Newcastle’s transport network by providing residents with a new way to reach key CBD locations (city center) or to connect with other modes of transport, such as the Newcastle Interchange, light rail and bus services and Broadmeadow railway station. 

It will pick customers up from a designated point within a 10km area (see map) and take them to a designated point close to their destination. To provide this service, Keolis Downer has partnered with New York-based tech company Via, and car-sharing service GoGet, to deliver the world-class technology that allows live bookings and provides real-time information.

Keolis Downer CEO, David Franks, said:

“Newcastle On Demand will be an easy, stress-free way to commute into the city in the morning and get home in the evening. Through the existing real-time service in Lake Macquarie – which carries over 5,000 passengers each month – and the other On-Demand services we operate in Sydney, we have seen that these flexible transport options provide a great alternative to individual cars and encourage the use of shared mobility solutions.”

Via co-founder and CEO Daniel Ramot said:

“We're thrilled to see continued investment in On-Demand services in the Newcastle region. With this innovative On-Demand approach to public transport, Newcastle continues to be a model for modern and smart cities across Australia."

About the new On-Demand service in Newcastle:  

  • The service will operate from Monday to Friday, between 6.30am and 9am in the morning and between 3.30pm and 6.30pm in the afternoon.
  • Cost is AU$3.20 per trip. Customers can pay using their Opal card or credit/debit card.
  • Three vehicles will be used: two six-passenger KIA Carnivals and an 11-passenger VW Crafter with a wheelchair access.
  • The service can be booked using the Newcastle Transport On Demand app available on the App Store or Google play. 

Keolis in Australia  

Established in 2009, Keolis Downer is the joint venture between Keolis and Downer, the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand.
With a presence in five states, it employs some 5,000 people and carries more than 250 million passengers per year. In Newcastle, Keolis operates the multimodal transport network which includes the light rail and bus services, as well as an on-demand transport service and ferries. The group also operates and maintains the largest tram network in the world in Melbourne (Yarra Trams), the light rail network on the Gold Coast (G:link) and more than 1,200 buses in four states: New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.