In August 1958, the Metropolitan Transport Trust commenced operations with the takeover of Beam Transport and Metro Buses by the Government of Western Australia. Subsequently all private bus operators in Perth were acquired.
In August 1986, the Metropolitan Transport Trust was rebranded as Transperth. In February 1995 the provision of ferry services was contracted to Captain Cook Cruises. In September 1993, the Government announced Transperth would be corporatised and opened up to competition. In February 1995 in preparation for privatisation, Transperth was restructured with the operation of services transferred to MetroBus, with ownership of the buses retained by Transperth.
In September 1994, expressions of interest were sought from organisations for the operation of Transperth bus services in the Armadale South and Joondalup North areas. MetroBus successfully bid to retain these services.
The remaining services were tendered in 1995/96 to Connex, Path Transit, Southern Coast Transit and Swan Transit. Connex sold its operation to Swan Transit in September 2002, before re-entering the market by purchasing Southern Coast Transit.
Transperth retained ownership of the buses leasing them to the operators. MetroBus did not win any further tenders and operated its last bus on 4 July 1998.
The Metropolitan Transport Trust adopted an olive green and cream livery. Following the 1986 rebranding as Transperth a green and white livery was introduced, this being replaced in 1999 by a grey/silver and green livery. This livery was inversed in 2010 as part of a refurbishment.
Transperth offers bus, ferry and train services which currently serve the Perth Metropolitan Area from the Perth CBD, east to Wundowie, west to Fremantle, south to Mandurah–Pinjarra and north to Two Rocks. These suburbs are divided into nine fare-zones according to distance from the city centre.
Bus services in Perth are operated by three private companies with services divided into 11 zones that are re-tendered every 10 years. As at June 2018 the contracts were held by:
- Path Transit: Kalamunda & Morley
- Swan Transit: Canning, Claremont, Marmion, Midland, Southern River & Beenyup
- Transdev WA: Fremantle, Joondalup, Rockingham & Perth CAT
Transperth oversees and regulates a bus service throughout the Perth metropolitan area and some fringe rural areas. Routes follow two basic formats: feeder services between residential suburbs and bus stations or bus/train interchanges, and routes directly to the CBD. There are also some cross-suburban services, most notably the CircleRoute. Additional services are provided for schools and special events. Transperth’s most frequent bus routes run from 05:00 until 24:00 with services generally every 4–15 minutes on weekdays and every 15–30 minutes on evenings and weekends. Most other local routes run about every 10 minutes in peak periods reducing to every 30 minutes during the day in inner Perth with outer feeder services running every 15–20 minutes in peak periods and every 60 minutes during the day, with reduced service on evenings and weekends. Services to and from railway stations are normally co-ordinated to connect with every, second or every fourth train.
The Perth Central Area Transit bus (also known at Perth CAT) is a free bus service that serves central areas in Perth city, Fremantle and Joondalup. In the centre of Perth, there are four routes; the blue cat between Perth and Northbridge areas, the red cat between West Perth and East Perth areas, the yellow cat running between East Perth and West Perth along Wellington Street, and the green cat between Leederville station and Elizabeth Quay bus station. In Fremantle there are two routes, the red cat and blue cat serving tourist destinations. In Joondalup three routes, the red, yellow and blue CAT routes, which operate around the Joondalup CBD and Edith Cowan University. The CAT system is also responsible for the operation of the Midland Gate Shuttle, and Rockingham City Centre Transit System. The main CAT systems are operated by Transdev WA.
As of 2018, the fleet consisted of approximately 1,475 buses, primarily Volgren bodied Mercedes-Benz and Volvos. Transperth previously operated large numbers of AEC Regal VIs, Leyland Royal Tiger Worldmasters, Leyland Leopards, Leyland Panthers, Leyland Tiger Cubs, Hino RC520Ps, Mercedes-Benz Citaros, Mercedes-Benz O305s and Mercedes-Benz O405s, Renault PR100.2s, Renault PR180.2s and a Renault PR100.3.
Chassis Body Year Fuel type Number Picture Notes MAN A24 NG313F Custom Coaches CB60 EVO II 2008 CNG 1 Iveco Citelis 18 Custom Coaches CB60 EVO II 2009 CNG 1 Scania L94UA Volgren CR228L 2008 CNG 1 Mercedes-Benz O405NH Volgren CR225L 1999-2002 Diesel 337
- ‘Midi’ version 11.2m
- Being withdrawn
Mercedes-Benz O405NH Volgren CR226L 2001 Diesel 5
- Formerly operated in Perth CAT
Mercedes-Benz O405NH Volgren CR225L 2001-2003 CNG 26
- Being withdrawn
Mercedes-Benz OC500LE Volgren CR228L 2004-2010 CNG 473
- Midi version 11.5m
Volvo B7RLE Volgren CR228L & Volgren Optimus Since 2011 Diesel 713 Volvo B8RLE Volgren Optimus 2016-2018 Diesel 44 Volvo B8RLEA Volgren Optimus 2014-2018 Diesel 70 Volvo B12BLEA Volgren CR228L 2011-2012 Diesel 30 Mercedes-Benz OC 500 LE Volgren CR228L 2011 Diesel 66
- Moved to regional fleets
2015 Bus fires
As of September 2015, there have been a number of catastrophic fires aboard the fleet’s natural gas powered Mercedes-Benz OC 500 LEs. It was discovered that there were possible faults in the on-board fire suppression system installed in the engine compartment at the rear of the bus. A bus fire at the Elizabeth Quay bus station in July was said to have been caused by a leaking coolant cell. A series of one-off fires have occurred in two of the fleet’s Mercedes-Benz O405NH diesel buses, both of which were sparked by frayed fan belts. Nobody was injured in any bus fires as the drivers were quick to respond and evacuate any passengers before the fires became lethal.
CircleRoute: The CircleRoute is a cross suburban route that links numerous railway stations, shopping centres, universities, schools and the port city of Fremantle. Services run 5–15 minutes weekdays and 15–30 minutes weekends and public holidays.
- Red CAT: Southern East Perth to West Perth
- Yellow CAT: Northern East Perth to West Perth
- Blue CAT: North to south
- Green CAT: (Monday to Friday only) Leederville station to Elizabeth Quay bus station
Joondalup CATs run Monday to Friday only.
- Red CAT: CBD loop (anticlockwise)
- Blue CAT: CBD loop (clockwise)
- Yellow CAT: Edith Cowan University shuttle
Transperth operates route 380 from Elizabeth Quay bus station to Terminals 1 and 2 of Perth Airport via Belmont Forum. Terminals 3 and 4 are serviced by route 935 from Kings Park via Belmont Forum; and route 40 from Elizabeth Quay bus station via the Great Eastern Highway.
Transperth operates a ferry service across the Swan River between Elizabeth Quay (Perth CBD) and the South Perth foreshore. Services depart twice an hour during winter and every 15 minutes during summer. The ferry is popular with commuters and tourists who use it to get to the Perth Zoo. There are currently two Transperth ferries, the MV Shelley Taylor-Smith and the MV Phillip Pendal. The ferry service has been operated under contract by Captain Cook Cruises since February 1995. In the year ended June 2015 there were 400,000 passenger boardings on Perth ferry services.
Transperth Trains operates Perth’s urban rail services. The network consists of 70 railway stations on six narrow-gauge lines to Midland, Armadale, Fremantle, Butler and Mandurah. Trains to Thornlie run via a spur off the Armadale line.
Services operate from 05:00 until 24:00 (until 02:00 on Saturday and Sunday mornings) with a minimum frequency of 3–15 minutes until 19:30 and 30 minutes until midnight, 15 minutes weekday and weekend (including public holidays). Post midnight services on Saturday and Sunday mornings operate on one-hour frequency until 02:15. In the year ended June 2015, 64.2 million passenger journeys were made on the network, up from 31.1 million in 2003/04.
The network has been served exclusively by electric multiple unit railcars since it was electrified in the 1990s. Before that diesel locomotive-hauled trains and ADK/ADB and ADL/ADC diesel multiple units were used.
In September 2012, the government announced that construction would begin in 2016 on a new Perth light rail network, to be known as Metro Area Express (MAX). The first stage of the MAX network was to run from the Polytechnic West campus in Balga, in Perth’s northern suburbs, to the Perth CBD, with spur lines from the CBD to the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre in Nedlands and The Causeway in East Perth. Construction of the first stage was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. In December 2013 the government deferred a decision on whether to build the line, with it cancelled in 2016.
TravelEasy sends customers an email notification when there are disruptions and changes to their nominated services. The service was introduced in 2003. TravelEasy also provides a SmartRider link facility, allowing customers to check card balances and add value.
The TravelEasy service will only e-mail subscribers for major significant disruptions, which are planned ahead. General day-to-day disruptions (technical difficulties, overheating engines etc.) which may cause delays of up to two hours will not be notified to travellers.
Perth became the first city in Australia to use Google transit, whereby all bus stops, railway stations and ferry wharfs have a clickable symbol on Google Maps which reveals the next departures from that stop. Also, public transport is available as an option for Google Maps’ directions feature.
Live train times
As of 10 December 2009, the TravelEasy users can view the live train times to see whether the train services is on time or not as well as live departure times. This service has now been made available to all commuters, and a cut-down version has been placed on 136213.mobi.
The 136213.MOBI service was launched on 10 June 2008. The service allows for public transport information, such as upcoming departures, service changes and SmartRider balances, to be obtained on a WAP-compatible mobile phone.
The methods and types of tickets used on the network continue to change with the progression of time and technology. Today, passengers on the network can either purchase a cash ticket from any ticket vending machine at a train stations, from a ferry wharf, or bus driver or use a re-loadable stored-value card known as SmartRider.
Fares are calculated on a zone-based system starting from 2-sections to 9 zones and charged at either standard or concession rates. Concession rates are available to children under the age of 15 years, persons over the age of 60 possessing a Senior’s Card, students of primary, secondary, and tertiary schools possessing a SmartRider with valid concession status, and those in receipt of various state and commonwealth pensions with acceptable proof of that status. DayRider and FamilyRider tickets are also available. Passengers to some special events such as football matches can travel free with a valid ticket to the event.
Some additional fare classes exist within the system and include:
Fare type Details DayRider Valid for all zones, all day (Only for purchase and use after 09:00 on weekdays) FamilyRider Unlimited travel for 7 passengers (including 2 adults). Available all day on weekends and public holidays, after 09:00 on school holidays, after 18:00 Monday to Thursday (school days) and after 15:00 Friday (school days) Seniors SmartRider Available for seniors, valid for free travel on all days between 09:00 and 15:30, as well as weekends / public holidays and Senior’s week. (replacing the Senior MultiRider) Student SmartRider Available for primary and secondary school students as well as full-time tertiary students. (replacing the Student MultiRider)
In the early 1990s, the network changed over from the use of train conductors with old rotary paper ticketing units and installed self-service ticket vending machines supplied by Ascom. The same rotary units in place on buses were replaced with technology supplied by Wayfarer Transit Systems.
- August 2014: A bus driver was fired for “screaming” at a teenage boy after he accidentally pressed the “stop button” too early by accident. The bus driver was said to have suddenly stopped the bus and forced the boy off the bus on an isolated stretch of road in Perth’s southeastern suburbs.
- February 2016: A bus driver refused to give an underage girl a ride from Whitfords after she was unable to use her SmartRider as she ran out of credit, instead forced to pay the 80 cent fare. Despite efforts from fellow passengers to pay the fare, the bus driver forced her to walk to Whitfords train station and drove off.
- February 2016: A bus driver was fired after a Byford grandmother was “dragged” behind an Armadale bus service. When the doors closed, her arm became trapped. Afterward, the bus driver moved off, but only stopped when passengers intervened. The bus driver did not apologise to the woman, nor offer assistance.
In March 2007, the Public Transport Authority commenced a trial of upgraded ticket vending machines installing two new units on the Eastern concourse at Perth railway station and all Mandurah railway line stations.
These trial units are based on touch-screen technology, and provide an expanded number of options including being able to purchase multiple quantities of tickets at the same time, as well as optionally being able to pay using either notes or electronic funds transfer from a cheque or savings account using a debit card, dependent on these components being installed in the unit. These are now installed in all railway stations in place of the older ticketing vending machines. They were made by and contracted out to Xerox who won the bid to change out the fare system.
In 2007 the MultiRider ticketing system was replaced with the SmartRider ticketing system which uses contactless electronic ticketing system using smartcard technology for the process of charging patrons for public transport.
The SmartRider is a smartcard incorporating a microchip and internal aerial, allowing the smartcard to communicate with processors located on Transperth buses and ferries and at railway stations. The microchip enables value to be loaded onto the card, as well as allowing the journey details to be recorded and the appropriate fare deducted from the stored value on the card. The card is able to pay for bus, ferry or train travel and can also be used at some Pay ‘n’ Display railway station car parks to pay for parking. In a system which Transperth calls “SmartParker”, the user can register his/her car’s registration plate and pay for parking by swiping the card at a payment machine on the way from the car park to the station: such payment is now valid for 24 hours.
It is also used to authenticate access to the Lock ‘n’ Ride secure bicycle storage areas at some stations.
Free Transit Zone
Perth has a Free Transit Zone with travel free on buses in the central business district.
On the rail network, however, free travel within the zone is only available to passengers who have purchased a SmartRider card. This was not always the case, but is now required due to changes in station structures brought about by the implementation of the SmartRider ticketing system.
A new 20-year rail expansion plan was released before the 2008 Western Australia state election by Premier Alan Carpenter. The plan included a link to Ellenbrook via the Midland line, the extension of the Armadale line to Byford, the extension of the Joondalup line to Yanchep, new stations on the Mandurah line, a spur rail to Perth Airport, and new south west links, connecting other retail centres, hospitals, airports, universities and communities. The rough system map was to be released after the state election.
Directions 2031 (Plan)
The State Government is currently drawing up plans for an expansion of the rail network, construction of a light rail network, and creation of rapid transit bus services. The plan includes:
- Extending the Joondalup line to Yanchep
- Building a rail line to Ellenbrook – will run from Perth station
- Building the Forrestfield-Airport Link to Perth Airport and Forrestfield
- Constructing two new stations on the Mandurah line at Karnup and Aubin Grove
- Constructing a light rail network to serve the CBD, Curtin University, University of Western Australia, Subiaco, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Mirrabooka and Stirling
- Creating a rapid transit bus network
- List of bus routes in Perth, Western Australia
- List of Perth bus stations
- List of Perth railway stations
- New MetroRail – second rail network expansion project
- Northern Suburbs Transit System – rail network expansion project from the late 1980s
- Transwa – also run by the Public Transport Authority, controls public transport in Western Australia, outside Perth
- Tilley, Bruce (1985). Bus Fleets MTT Perth. Beverley, South Australia: Railmac Publications. pp. 2, 4. ISBN 0 949817 47 3.
- MTT – Acquired from Other Operators Western Australian Fleet Lists
- South Perth ferry service taken over by private company Minister for Transport 5 February 1995.
- “Competitive Tendering” Australian Bus Panorama issue 10/6 February 1995 page 20.
- Restructuring plan for Transperth Minister for Transport 14 September 1993.
- “Trading Name” Australian Bus Panorama issue 10/5 January 1995 page 21.
- Launch of MetroBus (formerly Metropolitan Transport Trust) Minister for Transport 14 February 1995.
- “Tenders” Australian Bus Panorama issue 10/7 April 1995 page 22.
- “Tendering Process” Australian Bus Panorama issue 10/4 November 1994 page 32.
- “Competitive Tendering” Australian Bus Panorama issue 11/2 September 1995 page 23.
- Preferred tenderer to provide Midland public bus services announced Minister for Transport 12 September 1995.
- Private companies awarded preferred tenderer status for bus service contracts Minister for Transport 28 June 1996.
- “Additional contract areas” Australian Bus Panorama issue 12/1 August 1996 page 28.
- “New operators take over” Fleetline November 1996 page 206.
- “Competitive Tendering” Australian Bus Panorama issue 12/3 December 1996 pages 24-26.
- Balance of Transperth’s bus services to be tendered out to private sector transport operators Minister for Transport 5 October 1997.
- First stage of contracting out remainder of Transperth’s bus service completed Minister for Transport 23 December 1997.
- Names of private sector tenderers to take over MetroBus services announced Minister for Transport 22 April 1998.
- Connex WA sale approved by Government Minister for Planning & Infrastructure 1 September 2002.
- Sale of Australian bus operations National Express 3 September 2004.
- Connex pursues further development in Australia Connex 7 September 2004.
- National Express sells buses The Age 22 September 2004.
- Private sector will take over remaining Transperth services this Sunday Minister for Transport 2 July 1998.
- Report for year ended 30 June 2018 Public Transport Authority
- “Bus Timetable 100” (PDF). Transperth. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- “Bus Timetable 110” (PDF). Transperth. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- “New Ferry” Australian Bus Panorama issue 13/2 October 1997 page 26.
- Flash young model to hit the Swan WAtoday 2 March 2009.
- Merry Ferry Christmas Australasian Bus & Coach 4 December 2012.
- Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2015 Public Transport Authority
- “PTA history at a glance: 1951 to 1975”. www.pta.wa.gov.au. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- “WA’s first light rail network gets the green light”. Ministerial Media Statements. Government of Western Australia. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- A ‘bold’ light rail system to ‘transform’ Perth WAtoday 2 September 2012.
- Shelving of light rail project criticised ABC News 19 December 2013
- “What’s New”. Transperth. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
- Live Train Times, Transperth website, 2009 (accessed 12/12/09).
- Beattie, Adrian (2 August 2014). “Transperth driver forces sick boy off bus”. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- McNeill, Heather (17 February 2016). “Transperth bus driver to be investigated after refusing girl a ride in Whitfords”. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- McNeill, Heather (18 February 2016). “Transperth bus drags grandmother after arm trapped in door”. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- Lock ‘n’ Ride Bike Shelter Upgrade.
- Free Transit Zone Transperth website, accessed 2007-10-03.
- Butler Extension Project Public Transport Authority.
- Perth grapples with growth and funding challenges International Railway Journal 6 November 2013.
- Public Transport for Perth in 2031 Department of Transport.
Media related to Transperth at Wikimedia Commons