Local bus routes in Sydney
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Local bus routes in Sydney, Australia, are set by Transport for New South Wales. The network initially evolved from a privately operated system of feeder services to railway stations in the outer suburbs, and a government-operated network of bus services introduced to replace trams in the inner suburbs. Following its establishment in its current form in 1930, the bus network has undergone major reform in recent years, with the government taking responsibility for route and fare-setting, opening contracts for most routes up to competitive tendering, and introducing more cross-regional services.
The current regions, known as Sydney Metropolitan Bus System Contract Regions, were established in 2006 and 2007, with incumbents encouraged to form joint ventures as necessary to continue delivering services. All but the four State Transit regions went to competitive tender in 2013 and 2014, with region 11 subsumed into region 10.
The current regions are:
- regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 13 in Western Sydney
- region 4 in the Hills District
- region 6 in the Inner West
- region 7 in the Northern Suburbs
- region 8 in the lower North Shore and Northern Beaches
- region 9 in the Eastern Suburbs
- region 10 in the Sutherland Shire
- region 12 in the upper North Shore
- region 14 in the Forest District
- region 15 in the Macarthur Region.
Local routes in region 1 serve major centres including Parramatta, Penrith, Norwest Business Park, Westmead health precinct and Blacktown. The region also includes smaller and emerging centres such as Mount Druitt, Rouse Hill, Seven Hills, Richmond, Windsor and St Marys. Routes are generally numbered in the 600 and 700 series. Most services connect suburbs with T1 Western Line railway stations.
Travel – both by car and public transport – within region 1 is highly self-contained. As of 2006, 79% of journeys started and finished within the region. With low urban density and diffuse travel patterns, public transport mode share is below the Sydney average.
Region 1 was formed in October 2006. At the time, local bus services were provided by three private operators, Busways, Westbus and Hawkesbury Valley Bus and Coach Service. The three operators formed the Area 1 Management Company to service the region. In late 2012, following a competitive tender process, the region’s bus contract was awarded to Busways alone. At present, Busways operates 66 local routes in the region, from depots at Penrith, Mulgrave and Glendenning.
Contract region 2, in south-western Sydney, extends to Liverpool, Kentlyn, Cobbitty and Badgerys Creek. Routes in this region are numbered in the 800 series. Major destinations served by region 2 routes include Liverpool, Campbelltown, Leppington, Ingleburn and Casula Mall.
In 2014, a competitive tender process saw the region 2 contract handed to Interline exclusively.
Contract region 3, in south-western Sydney, extends to Wetherill Park, Fairfield, Liverpool and Horsley Park. It includes the 30-kilometre Liverpool–Parramatta T-way infrastructure. Routes in this region are numbered in the 800 series. Major destinations served by region 3 routes include Parramatta, Liverpool, Westmead, Cabramatta, Fairfield, Prairiewood, Bonnyrigg and Green Valley Plaza.
Bus transport in the area began in 1934 with a single bus service linking Liverpool and Green Valley. Today's 41 routes serve a denser, more urban region. Significant change for the region's bus network came with the Unsworth bus reforms. Initiated in 2004, these changes have put pressure on private bus operators to consolidate or co-operate in order to service amalgamated operating regions.
Region 3 was established in October 2006 and the then local operators, Busabout, Hopkinsons, Metro-Link and Westbus, formed a joint venture called the Area 3 Management Company to provide bus services. 
Approximately 82 routes are numbered 600 through 698.
Hillsbus also operates high frequency Metrobus services within the area, connecting Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills with Hornsby and Parramatta (route M60), and Sydney CBD (route M61).
Routes containing an "X" suffix operate via the Lane Cove Tunnel, and not via Epping Road.
Services in the Inner West district and part of the St George area of Sydney are numbered in the 400 series, and connect these suburbs and the central business district. There are 70 routes numbered 400 through 495. Express and limited-stops services are also provided. Much of the network in the Inner West is modelled on Sydney's former tram network, closed in 1961 in favour of a commuter bus system. 400 series services are operated by Sydney Buses, Punchbowl Bus Company, and Transdev NSW. Bus-rail interchanges are provided at Hurstville station, Campsie Station, Rockdale station, Burwood Station and Strathfield station. Bus-only lanes are in operation on Parramatta Road from Leichhardt to Broadway.
Routes 400 and 410 are Metroline services between Burwood, Campsie, Rockdale, Sydney Airport, Eastgardens, the University Of New South Wales, Randwick Jn and Bondi Jn
The 418 service was merged with the 357 service in October 2013, which now links Burwood and Bondi Junction via Tempe and Randwick Jn
In 2009, changes were implemented introducing new routes 473, 490, 491, 493 to replace the discontinued routes of 411, 471, 472 and 499
M10 runs from Leichhardt to Maroubra Junction via Parramatta Road and Anzac Parade, and commenced on 12 October 2008. The M10 Metrobus service connects with Sydney Trains stations at Central and Museum. It also allows passengers to transfer to regular buses to outer suburbs of Sydney at major transport interchanges such as Broadway, Railway Square, Cleveland Street, and Kingsford.
On 28 December 2008, the M10 was curtailed to Leichhardt Town Hall no longer operating to MarketPlace due to issues raised by Leichhardt Council regarding buses laying over in Lords Road. On 14 November 2010 the M10 was extended to the corner of Norton and William Streets at Leichhardt Pioneer Park. On 26 October 2009, the M10 was extended from Kingsford to Maroubra Junction.
The following services in this region run late at night:
- 423 - Nightly between City and Kingsgrove via Newtown, Marrickville and Earlwood.
- 431 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to Glebe Point via Glebe.
- 438 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to Abbotsford via Leichhardt and Five Dock.
Services connecting Sydney's Northern Suburbs and North Shore regions with the central business district are numbered in the 200 series. There are 62 routes, numbered 200 through 297. Express and limited-stops services are also provided. Much of the network is modelled on Sydney's former tram network, closed in 1961 in favour of a commuter bus system. 200 series services are operated by Sydney Buses and Forest Coach Lines.
The major bus interchanges in this region are located at Chatswood Interchange, part of Chatswood railway station, Lane Cove, and stands in Blue Street, Miller Street and the Pacific Highway in North Sydney.
In general, citybound 200 series buses terminate at the Queen Victoria Building (near Town Hall railway station) and operate via the bus/rail interchange above Wynyard station. In general, 200 series buses operate from Sydney Buses depots at Willoughby (M runs), North Sydney (N runs) and Ryde (Y runs); and the Forest Coach Lines depot at Terrey Hills. Route 200 operates from Waverley depot (W runs) near the line's southern terminus in the Eastern Suburbs. Bus-only lanes have been installed on the Warringah Freeway, Epping Road, North Sydney and Military Road, Neutral Bay as well as on a southbound lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Services connecting Sydney's Northern Suburbs, upper North Shore regions, and the central business district are numbered in the 500 series. Sixty-one routes are numbered 500 through 599. Express and limited-stops services are also provided.
Much of the network is modelled on Sydney's former tram network, closed in 1961 in favour of a commuter bus system. 500 series services are operated by Sydney Buses from a depot at Ryde, and Transdev NSW from a depot at Mount Ku-ring-gai. Acquisitions in the 1990s saw Sydney Buses expand its presence in this region significantly.
Bus interchanges are located at Hornsby and West Ryde railway stations, Blaxland Road, Top Ryde, and at Parramatta. Victoria Road, the key link between Ryde and the city, has Transit Lanes in both directions. A proposal to change these to bus-only lanes is under consideration.
The following services in this region run late at night:
- 290 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to Epping via North Sydney, Lane Cove and Macquarie Centre.
- 501 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to West Ryde via Railway Square and Victoria Road.
- 520 - Nightly between City and Parramatta via Victoria Road.
Sydney Buses depots are located at Brookvale (V runs), Mona Vale (F runs), North Sydney (N runs) and Willoughby (M runs). Forest Coaches operates from Terrey Hills. Bus-only lanes are in operation at Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation, Balgowlah and Manly Road, Balgowlah.
Route 144 has the distinction of being the first government-operated bus route in Sydney. Services commenced between Manly Wharf and Cremorne Junction on 25 December 1932, connecting with tram services at Cremorne Junction. Buses were initially hired from White Transit Company at Naremburn. The service was an instant success with over 2000 passengers carried on the first day alone. In October 1931, government legislation prevented the operation of private bus services in competition with government owned tram services. As private operators could not survive as feeders only to the trams and trains, they ceased operation. This allowed the government to lease excess stock from the private operators when services began from 1932. By the 1960s, the 144 had been extended to St Leonards, and later to Chatswood.
On 2 August 2009, State transit implemented changes on this network including direct services Between Cromer Heights/War Veterans' Home, and the City, new services to Elanora Heights, an extension to Warringah Mall for Route 135, and the withdrawal of some services like routes 146, 152, 172, E72, E73, & 193 plus more changes to various routes within the region.
The following services in this region run late at night:
- 130 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings between Manly, Freshwater, Curl Curl, Narraweena and Allambie.
- 151 - Nightly between City to Mona Vale via North Sydney, Balgowlah and Manly.
- 155 - Nightly between Manly, North Manly and Dee Why.
- 188 - Nightly between City to Avalon via Balgowlah and Warringah Mall.
Bus routes in Sydney's eastern suburbs are numbered in the 300 series. Seventy-one routes are numbered 301 through 399, all of which are operated by Sydney Buses. Express and limited-stops services are also provided numbered in the X and L series. Much of the network is modelled on Sydney's former tram network which closed in 1961 in favour of a commuter bus system. Given their high density, Sydney's eastern suburbs have a significant public transport infrastructure in place. A bus-only roadway uses the old tramway alignment to speed buses through Moore Park and Centennial Park. A bus-only tunnel at Edgecliff gives buses priority access from New South Head Road to the terminal above the railway station. Bus-only lanes are in place on Anzac Parade and Oxford Street, two of the region's main roads. Buses run to most major locations such as Bondi Beach, Bondi Jn, Botany, Coogee Beach, Eastgardens and Maroubra Jn.
State Transit maintains two major bus interchanges, located above Edgecliff railway station and Bondi Junction railway station. Another interchange is located within the Westfield Eastgardens shopping centre complex in Pagewood. Other significant nodes include Randwick Junction, Kingsford Nine Ways, Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach and the University of New South Wales. Bus depots serving the area are located at Port Botany (P runs), Randwick (R runs) and Waverley (W runs).
State Transit previously operated the Airport Express bus (numbered 300) in bright green and gold livery between the city and Sydney Airport. The service was withdrawn after the opening of the Airport rail link to encourage passengers to use the new rail line, given that the NSW government was obliged to pay compensation to the Airport Link Company if patronage targets were not met.
In the Eastern Region there are many high profile services that operate 24/7 to many significant nodes and provide late night transport, they are 373 - Coogee Beach via Moore Park & Randwick, 380 - North Bondi via Paddington & Bondi Jn and 394 - La Perouse via Moore Park & Maroubra Jn. They all operate from Circular Quay and Oxford St at 10-minute frequencies during the day and hourly frequencies at night, the last buses from Central Station which operate every 30 mins are at around 00:30, they are 339 - Clovelly via Moore Park & Centennial Park and 374 - Coogee via Moore Park & Bream St. There are 4 Metrobus routes in this area which are the M10 - Maroubra Jn - Leichhardt via Moore Park and Parramatta Rd, M20 - Botany and Gore Hill via Central and Sydney Harbour Bridge, M40 - Bondi Jn - Chatswood via Paddington and Wynyard and M50 Coogee Beach - Drummoyne Oval via Central and Rozelle. Metrobus services operate from 6am - 8:30 pm and at a 15 frequency daily using bright red articulated buses.
The 370 linking Coogee Beach and Leichhardt via Newtown, Glebe and the universities of New South Wales and Sydney, 400 linking Bondi Jn and Burwood via Randwick, Sydney Airport and Rockdale, 418 linking Bondi Jn and Burwood via Randwick, Sydenham and Ashbury are the non - Metrobus cross country routes that link many parts of inner Sydney.
In 2008, State Transit released a proposal to reorganise some bus routes around the Green Square area, involving routes 301, 302, 303, 311, 343, X43, 357, & 359, and the results were that there were to be some changes to some of those services but the biggest change is that Route 348 has now been altered to operate a Weekday Daytime service and at the same time, extended to Wolli Creek via Rosebery.
In 2013 the state government announced some major changes proposed for the bus routes around Randwick and Kingsford following the plan to build a light rail line by 2020. This included the discontinuation of some services (M10, M50, 373, 376, 395 & 396) and re-routing of some other services to Randwick, Kensington or Edgecliff for heavy rail (374, L94). The only Anzac Parade services to the city will run to Central from Coogee and Clovelly (339, 372). All non-city services will remain as well as peak-hour express services.
The following services in this region run late at night:
- 300 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from Kings Cross to Railway Square
- 324 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to Watsons Bay via Kings Cross and Vaucluse.
- 373 - Nightly between City and Coogee via Randwick Junction.
- 380 - Nightly between City and North Bondi via Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach.
- 394 - Nightly between City and Little Bay via Anzac Parade.
- 396 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings from City to Maroubra Beach via Anzac Parade.
- 998 - Early Saturday and Sunday mornings between Glenmore Hotel, Walsh Bay to QVB via Wynyard.
Though the Unsworth review had recommended a single region for the Sutherland Shire, the Government elected to split it between region 11 – the Kurnell peninsula west of Miranda, plus the isolated Port Hacking villages of Mainbar and Bundeena – and a larger region 10. Region 10 contained 57 routes operated by Connex (since renamed Transdev), while region 11 contained just nine routes, divided among three operators (Caringbah Bus Service, Crowthers and Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service). In 2013, the Government put regions 10 and 11 out to tender as part of a single contract. Transdev, the region 10 incumbent, won the work, but subcontracted a single route – the occasional 989 service from Maianbar to Bundeena – to the family owned incumbent Maianbar Bundeena Bus Service.
The Ku-Ring-Gai Bus Company was formed in the 1920s to provide feeder services to local railway stations. It grew by acquisition and, following the acquisition of Hornsby District Bus Company in the 1970s, rebranded itself Hornsby Bus Group. In 1988, having established itself as the dominant provider of bus services on the upper North Shore, the company renamed itself Shorelink. In 2001, the business was sold to Transdev, the current owner. Transdev won the contract for region 12 following a competitive tender process in 2013 and dropped the Shorelink brand the following year.
Services connecting Sydney's south-west are numbered in the 800 series. Forty-one south western routes are provided. 800 series services are operated by Busabout, Interline and Transit Systems Sydney.
- New South Wales Ministry of Transport (October 2006). "Contract region 1" (PDF).[dead link]
- "Busways wins 300-bus contract in Western Sydney". 7 November 2012.
- Transport for New South Wales (November 2015). "Greater Western Sydney bus network map" (PDF).
- Transport for NSW – Contract Region 2[dead link]
- More than 30 new buses for South West Sydney under new bus operators Transport for NSW 4 June 2014
- Transport for NSW – Contract Region 3[dead link]
- Transit Systems awarded Sydney buses contract Transit Systems, 11 July 2012
- "Metrobus Developments": Australian Bus issue 41 September 2010 page 16
- Travers, G. The NSW Government Bus- a 75th Anniversary. The Sydney Bus and Truck Museum, 2007.
- Saulwick, Jacob (20 November 2013). "All out, change: bus-tram trip to CBD". smh.com.au. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- NSW Ministry of Transport (January 2005). "Contract region 10: Hurstville – Miranda – Menai – Bankstown" (PDF).[dead link]
- NSW Ministry of Transport (April 2007). "Contract region 11: Caringbah – Cronulla – Kurnell – Miranda" (PDF).[dead link]