Keolis steps up presence in Australia with an iconic bus contract in Greater Sydney

targeting enhanced service and zero emissions
30th May 2021
  • 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, Présidente du Directoire de Keolis :

    “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 diesel buses of which 125 will be gradually converted to electric buses 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 accompagnying 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.

    Over a decade in Australia

    Keolis Downer is a joint venture that was created in 2009. It employs 5,000 people and its pre-Covid ridership totalled over 250 million passengers a year in five states.e

    Today Keolis Downer operates the Adelaide commuter rail system in South Australia; Newcastle’s multimodal network; the tram networks of Melbourne, Newcastle and the Gold Coast; and bus networks in four states (New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland).

    It also provides first- and last-mile mobility solutions including autonomous electric vehicles (in Renmark, Raby Bay and Sydney), and real-time on-demand transport service (in Sydney, Newcastle, Mount Barker and the Barossa Valley).

    Greater Sydney Bus Contract at glance :

    • 47 lines

    • 406 buses, including 125 electric buses

    • 770 staff

    • 3 depots

    • 17.7 million kilometres annually