Australian and New Zealand bus operator Kinetic has been chosen by the Victorian Government to operate the Metropolitan Bus Franchise (MBF) which covers about a third of the Melbourne’s public bus network. The state’s Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll announced that the Melbourne-based operator would take control of the franchise from 31 January under a 9.5-year contract worth AU$2.3 billion.
Kinetic operates 52 bus contracts covering urban, regional, school and airport bus services across Australia and New Zealand. Collectively, the company operates over 3,000 buses and moves more than 50 million passengers every year. With 50 bus routes, 1,100 employees and 537 vehicles, the Melbourne MBF accounts for 30% of the city’s bus network. Kinetic says it will bring a comprehensive plan to work with the government to further modernise the metropolitan bus network experience and deliver benefits to the whole community.
Supporting the Victorian government’s transition to zero-emission buses, Kinetic plans to introduce 36 electric buses to the network by mid-2025, with at least one in four new buses locally built. More than half of the franchise fleet – 341 of the 537 buses – will be replaced with low or zero-emission vehicles over the term of the franchise. The vehicles will be produced at Volgren’s Dandenong South facility.
Kinetic already has a fleet of electric buses in New Zealand, with its network growing to include 60 operational electric buses over the next 12 months across Australia and New Zealand. In what it says is a first for a bus contract in Victoria, Kinetic will also deliver improved diversity and inclusion for the franchise with targets to increase the participation of women and priority job seekers.
Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said: “We are jump starting our push for a zero-emissions bus fleet in Victoria to benefit the environment and help build our engineering, design and manufacturing expertise in these emerging technologies. The roll out of 36 electric buses early on in this partnership will accelerate our pledge for all new buses from 2025 to be zero emissions and, importantly, will contribute to the learnings of the three-year Zero Emissions Bus Project.”
Kinetic Co-CEO Adam Begg added: “With a leadership team that has grown up catching buses in and around Melbourne, this is an incredibly exciting announcement for us to partner with the Victorian Government to modernise the city’s bus experience and deliver benefits to the whole community.
“We understand the incredible influence bus networks have on the livelihoods of communities and we’re fully supportive of delivering a world-class transport network that supports opportunity, inclusion, growth and community connections for generations to come.”