The Andrews Labor Government will overhaul the contracts that run Melbourne’s huge bus network to improve services and put passengers first.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan announced today that the Government will negotiate new contracts with 12 metropolitan bus operators which together run 70 per cent of Melbourne’s bus network.

More than 120 million trips are taken on Melbourne’s extensive bus network every year, which supports more than 3,500 local jobs.

However, the number of people using Melbourne’s buses has been in decline since mid-2014.

The current arrangements – which date back to 1970’s – are old and inflexible, and in many cases are not meeting the changing needs of passengers.

Today’s announcement begins the process to phase out exclusive bus contracts over the next decade – paving the way for better services.

To support both big and small operators through the transition to non-exclusive contracts, operators will be able to choose between short and long-term agreements that best suit the needs of their business.

The Labor Government is also renegotiating Melbourne’s train and tram contracts, and overhauling Victoria’s taxi and hire car industry to regulate rideshare and deliver safer, more responsive services to Victorian passengers.

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources will manage the bus contract negotiations on behalf of the Labor Government.

The remaining 30 per cent of the bus network is operated by Transdev, through an ongoing contract signed in August 2013.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“The reality is our bus contracts are old and out-of-date, and aren’t delivering the services passengers need.”

“Through these negotiations we will modernise, expand and upgrade Melbourne’s extensive bus network, so it works better for the thousands of passengers who rely on it every day.”

“It’s the next step in our comprehensive overhaul of our public transport system – which includes the Metro Tunnel, 50 level crossing removals and more than 100 new trains and trams for Victoria.”