Skybus Super Shuttle
|Parent||Catalyst Direct Capital Management
OPTrust Private Markets Group
|Service area||Melbourne, Australia|
|Service type||Bus operator|
Southern Cross station
|Fleet||49 (May 2014)|
|Annual ridership||1.6 million (June 2008)|
|Chief executive||Simon Cowen|
The Skybus Shuttle operates an airport bus service between Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine and Southern Cross station in the Melbourne City Centre. Although likely the best known service, there are cheaper alternatives which also allow the use of the Myki card. The most user friendly of which is a connection via Broadmeadows railway station (Craigieburn line) to the 901 bus that takes passengers directly to Melbourne airport. This service takes approximately 60 minutes which is similar to sky bus transit times in peak traffic periods with the advantage of being 79% cheaper.
Skybus carries over 2 million passengers per year and 8.3% of all Tullamarine passengers.
Skybus commenced operations on 6 June 1978, running a shuttle service between Melbourne Airport and Melbourne City Centre. On 2 August 1982, Skybus took over the airport bus services run by the now-defunct airlines Ansett and TAA.
Until November 2000, the Melbourne City Centre terminus was at a coach depot in Franklin Street. It would pick up passengers at the then Spencer Street station and various city hotels before continuing on to the airport. In November 2000, Skybus relocated to Spencer Street station with services operating express to the airport, cutting the journey time to 20 minutes and allowing more services to be introduced. Connecting minibuses were introduced to continue the hotel transfer/pickup service.
In 2002 the Government of Victoria opted to contribute $3 million to a $10 million plan to expand and improve Skybus services, after a feasibility study into a city to airport rail link found the service would not be viable. The initiative funded the purchase of new buses, and improvements to the Tullamarine Freeway, to give Skybus vehicles priority in traffic. The operation has an audited revenue share arrangement with the Victorian Government.
In August 2008 the Skybus contract was renewed for five years, without being put to tender. Wizzbus had earlier indicated it wanted to be able to tender for the service but was not ready to do so in 2008 due to funding limitations by its parent. Wizzbus had proposed a double deck fuel cell service with increased standing room. In 2007 Skybus' patronage grew by 17% over the previous year, to 1.6 million passengers, with estimated revenue of $24 million.
Proposals to improve the bus service involving turning emergency lanes into bus lanes on the freeway and the Bolte Bridge and putting SkyBus on a myki fare, were challenged by CityLink operator Transurban, because it would limit its toll revenue, and by Melbourne Airport, because it would reduce its car parking profits. (Both facilities were privatised in the 1990s.)
In September 2014, Skybus was purchased by a consortium that included Catalyst Direct Capital Management and OPTrust Private Markets Group.
Between 06:00 and 23:30 the service operates every 10 minutes with departures every 15 to 30 minutes at other times. As stated on the Skybus website, departures every 10 minutes are a guide only and can be unreliable. Skybus will not issue compensation (for example ticket refund) when the service fails to meet the 10 minute departure timetable.
SkyBus is not a myki ticketed service. SkyBus issues its own tickets, which can be purchased online or at a SkyBus ticket booth at the airport and Southern Cross Station. V/Line tickets, free travel passes and concessions are not accepted by SkyBus. Proposals in January 2013 by the State Government to integrate Skybus ticketing with Melbourne's myki integrated public transport ticketing system were shelved after opposition from Transurban and Melbourne Airport.
As at May 2014 the fleet consisted of 49 buses.
- cheaper alternatives cheaper alternatives
- Skybus: Representing Melbourne’s travel and tourism industry into the future Victorian Competition & Efficiency Commission
- "Victorian Buses in the eighties" Australian Bus Panorama issue 6/2 September 1990 page 13
- Skybus Australian Bus Fleet Lists
- New Home For Skybus At Spencer Street Station Government of Victoria 6 November 2000
- Better buses replace dumped rail link The Age 12 June 2002
- Train derailed by buck-passing and vested interests The Age 26 June 2010
- Brumby Government Signs New Five Year for Skybus (sic) Premier of Victoria 26 August 2008
- SkyBus lane faces fight The Age 4 January 2013
- OPTrust, Catalyst acquire Australia’s SkyBus AltAssets 8 September 2014
- Timetable Skybus
- Timetable Skybus
- Skybus Standard Ticketing Conditions Skybus
- PTV - Airport buses
Media related to Skybus Super Shuttle at Wikimedia Commons