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THE operation of Sydney's harbour ferries is to be contracted out to the private sector, but the NSW government says it will subsidise unprofitable routes.
NSW’s new Coalition government today called for expressions of interest to run a franchised Sydney Ferries, with plans to contract out the operation of the services by the end of next year.
The move follows up on a long-held Coalition promise.
Under the franchise model, the government would retain ownership of the ferries and control over fare structures, routes and services.
However, one operator would run and maintain the ferries, with the aim of improving and expanding current services.
“We do have the best harbour in the world, we deserve the best services that match that,” said NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian.
She said the Independent Pricing and Regulation Tribunal would continue to determine fares and guaranteed no routes would be scrapped under the franchise model, with the government subsidising unprofitable routes.
“All current routes will maintain their viability under our model,” she said.
“the government will always subsidise public transport. this doesn’t change that.”
Lobby group Infrastructure Partnerships Australia welcomed the news of private sector involvement.
“Sydney Ferries should be the jewel in the crown of the state’s public transport system, but under public operation, it has been plagued by inefficiencies and regular service failures,” IPA chief executive Brendan Lyon said in a statement.
“a private operator could provide new routes, better value for taxpayers, more services and greater job satisfaction for workers – at the same independently set fares.”
<a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/sydneys-harbour-ferries-to-go-private/story-e6frgczx-1226054029162tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/sydneys-harbour-ferries-to-go-private/story-e6frgczx-1226054029162Wed, 11 May 2011 04:10:55 GMT 00:00″>Sydney's harbour ferries to go private