Dr John Stone

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, organisation - contracting, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, economics - appraisal/evaluation, ridership - growth


Melbourne, franchise model, privatisation, financial performance, patronage growth


Melbourne‟s unique franchise model for public transport management and service delivery, now a decade old, is a subject of international interest for practitioners and scholars of transport planning.
In December 2009, two new franchisees, under reworked eight-year contract arrangements, took over the operation of Melbourne‟s train and tram systems ending the ten-year run of the two survivors of the first decade of public transport privatisation – Connex (Veolia) and the Transdev/Transfield consortium.
Based on material from public documents and interviews with senior managers from the departing companies and the Victorian Department of Transport, this research uses the perspectives of the departing franchisees, with their previous intimate engagement and current detachment from on-going operational and institutional issues, to provide a unique insight into the dynamics of Melbourne‟s franchise system.
The research explores the lessons of the first decade of privatisation of transit operations in Melbourne. It examines financial performance, the value to government of the franchises as a means to distance itself from public criticism over the operation of public transport, and the effectiveness of planning for current and future patronage growth.