Adelaide Metro (South Australia)

Adelaide Metro (South Australia)

Adelaide Metro is the public transport system of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. It is an intermodal system offering an integrated network of bus, tram, and train service throughout the metropolitan area to 63 million riders annually, with an average daily ridership of 33,000 people. The system has evolved heavily over the past fifteen years, and patronage increased dramatically during the 2014–15 period, a 5.5 percent increase on the 2013 figures due to electrification of frequented lines.

Adelaide Metro began in 2000 with the privatisation of existing government-operated bus and train routes. The Glenelg tram, the only of Adelaide's tramways to survive the 1950s, was also integrated into the current system. Services are now run by four private operators and united with common ticketing systems, marketing, and livery and signage under the supervision of South Australia's Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Since the last fifteen years, energy sustainability and eco-friendly transport has been a major focus for Adelaide Metro; in recent years the fleet has been upgraded with electric trains and solar-powered buses–one of which (known as the Tindo electric bus) is 100% solar powered and the first of its kind in the world. Despite this, almost 80 percent of Adelaide's metropolitan buses still run on diesel fuel instead of more environmentally friendly fuel like biodiesel.

Adelaide Metro has faced criticism for punctuality issues, "unreliable" services, ageing buses and incidents of severely coarse language, racism, and assault on some lines. The complaints increased since the system switched to a private operator in October 2011. The Adelaide Metro received 7,562 feedback reports–more than 40 a day–in 2012. In order to counteract these problems and increase accountability, performance data will now be published weekly as opposed to quarterly by the Adelaide Metro. This will highlight how trains and buses are performing in terms of punctuality and service, as well as comparisons to interstate public transport. The 2014 service figures indicate that the system performed slightly better in 2014 than it did the previous year

Adelaide Metro History

The Adelaide Metro is a brand introduced in April 2000 following the second round of tenders privatisation of formerly government-operated bus services.

Previously, the public transport system in Adelaide has been known under several names. The State Transport Authority was formed in 1974, combining the metropolitan rail operations of the former South Australian Railways Commission, and the bus and tram operations of the former Municipal Tramways Trust. Adelaide removed all tramlines during the 1960s leaving only the Glenelg line. This tramline was extended in 2007 by the Department Of Transport, Energy & Infrastructure (DTEI), and again to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in 2010. In July 1994, the STA was abolished and government public transport services were transferred to TransAdelaide, a publicly owned corporation.

In 1995-96, there was a partial tendering of the bus services. TransAdelaide retained three contract regions, Serco won two contract regions, and Hills Transit a joint venture between Australian Transit Enterprises and TransAdelaide, one. Services were run and marketed under each operator's name, presenting a disjointed network to the public.

The 2000 round of tenders saw the end of TransAdelaide's direct operation of bus services in its own right, although it retained the train and tram services. Serco won the North-South, Outer North, and Outer North-East contract areas, SouthLink the Outer South contract area, Torrens Transit the East-West contract area and City Free services and Transitplus, a joint venture between Australian Transit Enterprises and TransAdelaide, the Hills Contract area. The Adelaide Metro brand was applied across all transport operators, appearing to the public as a unified network, with common livery, timetable designs and a city Information Centre.

Adelaide Metro Environmental incentives

The State Government pledged that the Adelaide Metro would use cleaner fuels like biodiesel and natural gas in an effort to make Adelaide a carbon neutral city, however nearly 80 percent of the Adelaide Metro buses are still run on diesel, which is harmful for the environment due to the presence of sulfur.

Adelaide Metro Services

Adelaide Metro Buses

The largest element of Adelaide's public transport system is a fleet of diesel and natural gas powered buses. The majority of services terminate in the Adelaide city centre, suburban railway stations or shopping centre interchanges. As contracts are revised for privatised bus operations, more cross suburban routes are added to the network, whereas in the past bus routes were largely focused on moving passengers from the suburbs to the CBD.

A major component of the Adelaide Metro bus service is the O-Bahn guided busway to Modbury carrying around 9 million passengers a year. From opening in 1986 until August 2011 it was the world's longest busway, with a length of 12 kilometres and remains the world's fastest busway with a maximum permitted speed of 100 km/h. Away from the O-Bahn, whilst there have been dedicated bus lanes and bus only signal phases at some traffic lights provided for a number of years, a major improvement to bus priority and reliability arrived with the delivery in July 2012 of the CBD Bus Lane project.

Adelaide Metro buses are operated by:
  • Light-City Buses - North-South and Outer North East contract areas (includes the 300 suburban connecter and O-Bahn services)
  • SouthLink - Outer South, Outer North and Hills contract areas
  • Torrens Transit - East-West contract area (includes City Free)
Companies which had operated Adelaide Metro services in the past but which no longer operate in Adelaide are:
  • Serco - ended its contract in 2004, at the contracted half-term break-point, after failing to renegotiate its contract on better terms. Serco had previously informed the Minister for Transport that it was not willing to continue to operate the bus services for a further five years on the terms contained in the then existing Contract. Serco had made a submission to the Department of Transport & Urban Planning proposing to operate the bus services in the contract areas on new terms and conditions. The submission was rejected and the contracts retendered.
  • Transitplus - following the abolition of joint owner TransAdelaide in late 2010, Transitplus services were taken over by joint owner Australian Transit Enterprises's SouthLink.
Adelaide Metro Commuter rail

The Adelaide suburban railway network consists of six lines operated by the Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure Public Transport Division.

Until 2014, the suburban network was the only one in Australia to operate solely with diesel railcars. In 2013-2014, the full lengths of the Seaford and Tonsley line were electrified, as well as the segment of the Belair line from Goodwood to its terminus at Adelaide; and electric trains have run on the Seaford and Tonsley lines since 2014. Although the original plans were to electrify the remaining three lines, they were abandoned in 2012 with the potential for a Gawler line upgrade in 2017-18.

The current fleet consists of 70 3000/3100 class diesel railcars and 22 three-carriage 4000 class electric rail cars. All remaining 2000/2100 class train cars were retired from service in August 2015.

The six rail lines all run into Adelaide railway station in the CBD. They are:
  • Gawler line: runs north from Adelaide station for 42 kilometres, terminating at Gawler Central. This is the most frequent and heavily patronised line on the network. On weekdays some services terminate at Gawler and Salisbury.
  • Seaford line: runs south from Adelaide station for 35 kilometres and terminates at Seaford.
  • Tonsley line: a 4-kilometre branch of the Seaford line, running to Tonsley.
  • Outer Harbor line: runs north-west from Adelaide station for 22 kilometres and terminates at Outer Harbor. On weekdays some services terminate at Osborne.
  • Grange line: a 6-kilometre branch of the Outer Harbor line, running to Grange.
  • Belair line: runs south-east from Adelaide station for 22 kilometres, winding through the Adelaide Hills to terminate at Belair. On weekdays some services terminate at Blackwood.
Adelaide Metro Light Rail

Adelaide's once extensive tram network was dismantled in the middle of the 20th century leaving only the Glenelg tram running 12 kilometres between Victoria Square Tarndanyangga in the city-centre and Moseley Square on the beachfront at Glenelg. The majority of the line is on a dedicated corridor though the western suburbs, but travels on roadway in the city from the terminus to South Terrace and along Jetty Road in Glenelg.

An extension of the line from Victoria Square / Tarndanyangga down King William Street then along North Terrace opened in October 2007. A further extension to Port Road, Thebarton and then to a terminus at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Port Road (Hindmarsh) opened in December 2009. Since then, the extended line has had stops adjacent to key city points, including Rundle Mall, the Adelaide railway station and the City West campus of the University of South Australia.

The line is operated from Glengowrie depot with 15 Flexity Classic trams built between 2005 and 2010 and six Alstom Citadis trams that were built for, but were surplus to their needs of Metro Ligero, Madrid in 2009. The latter were modified by Yarra Trams' Preston Workshops before entering service. A further three unused former Madrid Citadis trams will enter service in 2018.

Proposed Future Extensions

A plan to create a city loop by extending the line through either Morphett or Gray Streets, Currie Street, and Grote Street to rejoin the line in Victoria Square / Tarndanyangga has been proposed. If this goes ahead, this could replace the City Loop and Connector free buses, which are currently in operation.

In October 2013 the Government of South Australia announced a proposal to create the AdeLINK network, this included:
  • CityLINK – a tram running in a continuous loop at regular intervals along the Morphett Street, Sturt Street, Halifax Street and Frome Street corridors, with transfers available from other tram lines and railway stations.
  • EastLINK − a tram line running along The Parade to Magill
  • PortLINK – a conversion of the Outer Harbor railway line to deliver a new tram service to Outer Harbor, Port Adelaide and Grange, and construct new tram lines to West Lakes and Semaphore
  • ProspectLINK − a tram line running from Grand Junction Road along Prospect Road and O’Connell Street
  • UnleyLINK – a tram line running along Unley Road and Belair Road to Mitcham
  • WestLINK – a tram line running along Henley Beach Road to Henley Square, with a branch line to Adelaide Airport (the existing tram line to Glenelg will also form part of WestLINK)
Adelaide Metro Interchanges

According to Adelaide Metro, interchanges "provide convenient connections between buses and trains. Many also feature Park ‘n’ Ride services and bike storage
  • Aberfoyle Interchange - Located in the southern suburbs at the Aberfoyle Hub Shopping Centre with connections to Chandlers Hill, the City and Old Reynella
  • Arndale Interchange - Located in the north western suburbs at the Arndale Central Shopping Centre
  • Blackwood Interchange - Located in the south eastern suburbs in the Adelaide Hills and provides train transfers from the Belair line with bus connections to Upper Sturt, Stirling, Crafers and Aldgate
  • Crafers Park'n'Ride Interchange - Located in the Adelaide Hills, connections available to Piccadilly, Stirling, Mount Barker and Blackwood
  • Elizabeth Interchange - Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler line with bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Salisbury North, Salisbury, Munno Para, and Smithfield
  • Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre - Located in the mid-southern suburbs, these two interchanges (located close together) connect to Marion Interchange, City, Glenelg and the Outer-South.
  • Glanville Interchange - Located at the bottom of Semaphore Road and provides bus and train transfers from the Outer Harbor line to Port Adelaide, and Osborne
  • Golden Grove Village - Located in the Outer North-East, may services from the O-Bahn continue to here and connect to Salisbury, Greenwith and Fairview Park
  • Klemzig Interchange - Located in the inner north-eastern suburbs with bus connections to Oakden and the Circle Line. Intermediate station on the O-Bahn Busway
  • Marion Interchange - Located in the Mid-South, one of Adelaide's biggest interchanges, connections to City, Glenelg, the Outer-South and Blackwood Station
  • Mawson Interchange - Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler line and bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Adelaide, Mawson Lakes and Salisbury
  • Mount Barker Dumas Street Park'n'Ride - Located in the Adelaide Hills, connections are available to Strathalbyn (operated by non-metroticket service), Nairne, Murray Bridge (via non-metroticket service operated by LinkSA) and Lobethal via Hahndorf
  • Noarlunga Centre Interchange
  • Old Reynella Bus Interchange and Centro Colonnades - Located in Adelaide's southern suburbs and interconnects trains services on the Seaford line with bus services to the outer southern suburbs including Aldinga, Seaford and Moana
  • Paradise Interchange - Located in the north-eastern suburbs with bus connections to Para Hills, Athelstone, Newton and Campbelltown, intermediate station on the O-Bahn Busway
  • Salisbury Interchange - Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler line with bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Salisbury North, Paralowie, Burton, Virginia, Greenwith, Elizabeth, Hillbank, Greenfields, Mawson Lakes and Parafield Gardens
  • Smithfield Interchange - Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler line with bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Munno Para, Craigmore and Andrew's Farm
  • Tea Tree Plaza Interchange - Located in the north-eastern suburbs at the Westfield Tea Tree Plaza and the Tea Tree Plus Shopping Centres, terminus of the O-Bahn Busway
Adelaide Metro Ticketing

The Adelaide Metro ticketing system is multi-modal, meaning that one ticket can be used to transfer between trains, trams and buses, regardless of the service provider. In September 1987 the Metroticket system developed by Crouzet was introduced. This used magnetic strip technology. In 2010 a contract to introduce the Metrocard smartcard ticketing system was awarded to Affiliated Computer Services. It was rolled out in November 2012.

A trial is being performed to assess whether a mobile ticketing option can be integrated into the network. This option would use NFC technology found in most smartphones.

Adelaide Metro Overview

Parent: Government of South Australia
Founded: 23 April 2000
Headquarters: Adelaide
Service Area: Adelaide
Service Type: Bus (includes O-Bahn), tram & train
Operator: Light-City Buses
Torrens Transit
TransAdelaide (Trains & Trams)

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