Keolis steps up presence in Australia with an iconic bus contract in Greater Sydney targeting enhanced service and zero emissions

On 28 May 2021, Keolis Downer, Keolis’ Australian subsidiary, won an 8-year contract to operate and maintain 406 buses in Greater Sydney. The contract was awarded by Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW), the Public Transport Authority (PTA) for the state of New South Wales and is set to start on 31 October 2021. It is the first time this network will be managed by a private operator. To improve the passenger experience and boost ridership, Keolis Downer has committed to enhance transport services and facilitate the network’s energy transition by introducing 125 electric buses by 2030. Keolis has extensive energy transition expertise acquired in Europe and North America, and over 10 years of experience in Australia, where it is stepping up its presence in the country. Both will be key to the project’s success.

Marie-Ange Debon, CEO at Keolis Group, said: “We are proud that Transport for New South Wales, our partner since 2017, has awarded us this iconic contract. And we are also delighted to work with the New South Wales Government to deploy more sustainable mobility solutions by converting part of the network’s fleet to electric powered buses.”

Enhanced and sustainable bus network in Greater Sydney

The Greater Sydney Bus Contract features 47 lines covering 17.7 million kilometres annually. It serves 400,000 residents in the city’s Northern Beaches and lower North Shore suburbs.
Under the contract, Keolis Downer will welcome over 800 new employees, including 680 drivers. The deal includes:

  • operating a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network called B-Line, with 38 diesel-powered double-decker buses manufactured by MAN. Launched by the New South Wales government in 2017, the successful B-Line provides high frequency services from Mona Vale to the centre of Sydney, as well as night services. Keolis Downer will introduce innovative headway technology to further enhance the B-Line’s reliability and quality of service.
  • 368 standard diesel1 buses of which 125 will be gradually converted to electric buses2 by 2030, making this the Australian bus market’s largest energy transition contract to date.
  • integrating real-time on-demand transport service through Keoride, a first- and last-mile mobility solution operated by Keolis Downer on behalf of TfNSW since November 2017. Keoride is an app-based service that allows passengers to connect to the B-Line and/or order a ride to key hubs in the Northern Beaches area at any time. 15 vehicles are dedicated to this service.

Supporting and accompanying PTAs in the energy transition

Keolis acquired its expertise in bus fleet energy transition by working closely with PTAs in Canada, the United States, France, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, where the Group launched Europe’s largest e-bus fleet in December 2020. Worldwide, Keolis operates more than 4,000 vehicles powered by alternative energies — electricity, natural gas, biogas, hydrogen. Together they represent about 20% of its total bus fleet.