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Adelaide Metro

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Adelaide Metro logo.svg
Parent Government of South Australia
Founded 23 April 2000
Headquarters Adelaide
Service area Adelaide
Service type Bus, tram & train
Operator Light City Buses
Torrens Transit
TransAdelaide (Trains & Trams)

Adelaide Metro is the public transport system of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. It is 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.[1][2] 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.[3]

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.[4][5]

Adelaide Metro has faced criticism for punctuality issues, "unreliable" services, ageing buses with inadequate air conditioning or heating, and allegations of racism on certain lines.[6] 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.[7]


The Adelaide Metro is a brand introduced in April 2000 following the second round of tenders privatisation of formerly government-operated bus services.[8][9]

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.[10][11] 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.[11] 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.



Main article: Buses in Adelaide
Torrens Transit Custom Coaches bodied Mercedes bus.

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 100km/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.[12]

Adelaide Metro buses are operated by:[13][14]

  • 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.[11][15]
  • Transitplus - following the abolition of joint owner TransAdelaide in late 2010, Transitplus services were taken over by joint owner Australian Transit Enterprises's SouthLink.

Commuter rail[edit]

Main article: Railways in Adelaide

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. Since then, the full lengths of the Seaford and Tonsley lines have been electrified, as well as the segment of the Belair line from Goodwood to its terminus at Adelaide.[16] Although the original plans were to electrify the remaining three lines, they were abandoned in 2012[17] with the potential for a Gawler line upgrade in 2017-18.[16]

The current fleet consists of 70 3000/3100 class diesel railcars and 15 three-carriage 4000 class electric multiple units, with seven further units still on order from Bombardier Transportation.[18] All remaining 2000/2100 class train cars were retired from service in August 2015, being replaced by 3000/3100 cars being available on other lines after the 4000 class trains started operating on the Seaford and Tonsley line..

The six rail lines all run into Adelaide Railway Station in the CBD. They are:

Light rail[edit]

Main articles: Trams in Adelaide and Glenelg Tram
Flexity Classic tram on the Glenelg Tram line in December 2014

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 Tartanyangga 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 / Tartanyangga down King William Street then along North Terrace opened in October 2007.[19] 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. The extended line now has stops adjacent to key city points, including Rundle Mall, the Adelaide railway station and the City West campus of the University of South Australia.[20][21] 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 / Tartanyangga has also been proposed. If this goes ahead, this could replace the City Loop and Connector free buses, which are currently in operation.

The line is operated by TransAdelaide from Glengowrie depot with 15 Flexity Classic trams built between 2005 and 2010[22] and six Alstom Citadis trams that were built for, but were surplus to their needs of Metro Ligero de Madrid in 2009.[23][24][25] The latter were modified by Yarra Trams' Preston Workshops before entering service.

In October 2013 the Government of South Australia announced a proposal to create the AdeLINK network, this included:[26]


A map of Adelaide’s railway & tram network

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

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

Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler Central line with bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Salisbury North, Salisbury, Munno Para, and Smithfield

Located at the bottom of Semaphore Road and provides bus and train transfers from the Outer Harbor line to Port Adelaide, and Osborne

Located in the inner north-eastern suburbs with bus connections to Oakden and the Circle Line. Intermediate station on the O-Bahn Busway

Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler Central line and bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Adelaide, Mawson Lakes and Salisbury

Located in Adelaide's southern suburbs and interconnects trains services on the Noarlunga Centre line with bus services to the outer southern suburbs including Aldinga, Seaford and Moana

Located in the north-eastern suburbs with bus connections to Para Hills, Athelstone, Newton and Campbelltown, intermediate station on the O-Bahn Busway

Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler Central line with bus servics to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Salisbury North, Paralowie, Burton, Virginia, Greenwith, Elizabeth, Hillbank, Greenfields, Mawson Lakes and Parafield Gardens

Located in Adelaide's northern suburbs and interconnects train services on the Gawler Central line with bus services to areas around metropolitan Adelaide including Munno Para, Craigmore and Andrew's Farm

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

Located in the Outer North-East, may services from the O-Bahn continue to here and connect to Salisbury, Greenwith and Fairview Park

Located in the mid-southern suburbs, these two interchanges (located close together) connect to Marion Interchange, City, Glenelg and the Outer-South.

Located in the Mid-South, one of Adelaide's biggest interchanges, connections to City, Glenelg, the Outer-South and Blackwood Station

Located in the Adelaide Hills, connections available to Piccadilly, Stirling, Mount Barker and Blackwood

Located in the Adelaide Hills, connections are available to Strathalbyn (operated by non-metroticket service), Nairne, Murray Bridge (via non-metroticket service operated by Link SA) and Lobethal via Hahndorf


Main article: Metrocard (Adelaide)

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.[27] It was rolled out in November 2012.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual Report 2009-2010" (PDF). TransAdelaide. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Public transport facts". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Record Adelaide Metro patronage as passengers flock to train network". Premier of South Australia. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "New electric train chosen for Adelaide". The Advertiser. 10 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Adelaide Creates World’s First Solar-Powered Public Transit System". Ecolocalizer. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bus complaint line running hot". Adelaide Now. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "Adelaide Metro to publish weekly performance data". 28 April 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Morgan, Peter (21 April 2000). "A new deal on the buses". The Advertiser. 
  9. ^ "Adelaide Metro Introduced" Australian Bus Panorama issue 16/1 August 2000 page 12
  10. ^ "Hills Transit" Australian Bus Panorama issue 11/3 October 1995 page 33
  11. ^ a b c Wallis, Ian; Bray, David (June 2001). "Competitive Tendering for Bus Services: The Improved Adelaide Model" (PDF). Thredbo Series. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Bus priority lane project Adelaide Metro July 2012
  13. ^ New Contractors for Adelaide bus services Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure 29 April 2011
  14. ^ Report on the Adelaide Metro Bus Service Contracts Minister for Transport August 2011
  15. ^ Kain, Peter. 019-2009-08-24-Kain-Australian-and-British-Experiences-with-Competitive.pdf "Australian & British Experiences with Competitive Tendering in Rail Operations" Check |url= scheme (help) (PDF). Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Rail Network Electrification Government of South Australia
  17. ^ South Australia cuts back Adelaide electrification International Railway Journal 8 June 2012
  18. ^ Bombardier Wins Contract to Supply 25kV Railcars for Adelaide, Australia Bombardier 31 March 2011
  19. ^ Official opening for tram extension ABC News 14 October 2007
  20. ^ Adelaide Tramline Extension Project 2007 Department for Transport, Energy & Infrastructure
  21. ^ Tramline Extension Project - Victoria Square to City West Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure
  22. ^ Flexity Class Vicsig
  23. ^ New European trams a massive boost to Adelaide network Rail Express22 June 2009
  24. ^ Spanish discovery New Connections (Infrastructure SA) issue 4 2009
  25. ^ Citadis Class Vicsig
  26. ^ Big trams on the table in Adelaide Rail Express 30 October 2013
  27. ^ Smarter ticketing on the way New Connections Infrastructure SA issue 6 2010
  28. ^ Public transport Metrocard ticketing up and running on SA buses, trams and trains by November Adelaide Advertiser 19 September 2012

External links[edit]