Newcastle Buses & Ferries

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Newcastle Buses & Ferries
SydneyBuses line.gif
Buses at the Newcastle station layover
Parent State Transit Authority
Service area Lake Macquarie
Service type Commuter bus
Routes 26
Hubs Newcastle station
University of Newcastle
Westfield Kotara
Broadmeadow station
Charlestown Square
Depots Hamilton

Newcastle Buses & Ferries is a commuter bus and ferry service operating in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. It is part of the State Transit Authority, and operates 26 public bus routes, 149 school bus routes, and the Newcastle to Stockton ferry across the Hunter River.[1][2]


MV Shortland

The first government operated bus route commenced on 22 September 1935 to Mayfield. On 10 June 1950, the final tram routes were withdrawn. On 2 February 1983, the Newcastle to Stockton ferry service was taken over from a private operator.[3]

In November 2015, the Government announced its intention to incorporate Newcastle Buses & Ferries into a new Transport for Newcastle along with the Newcastle Light Rail with the operation of services to be contracted to a private operator.[4][5] Keolis Downer and a Transit Systems/UGL Rail consortium have announced their intentions to bid.[6][7] In December 2016 the contract was awarded to Keolis Downer who will trade as Newcastle Transport with effect from 1 July 2017.[8]


The bus network radiates from a bus terminal in Scott Street near NSW TrainLink's former Newcastle station. Buses park in a designated layover area adjacent to the station however buses do not pick up or set down in this area. Major interchanges are located at University of Newcastle, Wallsend, Glendale, Warners Bay, Belmont, Charlestown Square, Westfield Kotara and Broadmeadow station.

Since 1 July 2006 Newcastle Buses' services have formed Sydney Outer Metropolitan Bus Regions 5. The initial eight-year contract was renewed for a further three years from 1 July 2014.[9]


Depots are at Hamilton, which opened as a tram depot in 1923, and Belmont, which opened in April 1953.[10] Both locations stock timetables along with most major shopping centres. Lost property is able to be collected from Hamilton depot.


As at November 2015, the bus fleet consisted of 179 MAN, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo buses.[11] There are two ferries, the 1986 built Hunter and Shortland, named after Governor John Hunter and naval officer John Shortland.


Unlike other State Transit Authority run buses, Newcastle Buses & Ferries historically used a time-based ticketing system which was separate from the MyZone ticketing system. Single tickets could be purchased for 1 hour, 4 hours, or 23 hours, or a TimeTen ticket Multiride which equates to ten 1 hour tickets. Other than the 23-hour ticket, time-based tickets could not be used on the ferry.[12] Newcastle Buses & Ferries also accepted, but did not sell, TravelPass, MyMulti, and Excursion tickets from the MyZone system, but not MyBus or TravelTen. As part of the Opal card rollout, 11 types of tickets including the 23 hours tickets were withdrawn on 20 November 2014.[13] With Opal fares the time-based ticketing system is no longer used, introducing the distance based system used elsewhere.[14] From 1 January 2016 the 1 hour ticket will be the only non Opal ticket available for use on Newcastle Buses.[12] As of August 1st 2016, all paper tickets including the 1 hour ticket have been withdrawn.

Free Bus Zone[edit]

Trips within a designated area of the Newcastle CBD on State Transit-operated bus services are zero-fare under the Newcastle Alliance's Free City Buses programme. The zero-fare zone operates between 07:30 and 18:00, seven days a week.[15] The programme receives funding from the Honeysuckle Development Corporation and Government of New South Wales. The zero-fare zone is bounded by the Hunter River to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, Church, Bull & King Streets to the south, and Stewart Avenue to the west. Trips between the zone and the TAFE in Wickham are also zero-fare.

Newcastle Buses also ran a free shuttle within this zone as route 555 with buses in a green livery. It was discontinued due to low patronage in August 2013.[16][17]


  1. ^ Timetables and Maps Newcastle Buses
  2. ^ Newcastle Buses & Ferries State Transit Authority
  3. ^ "Newcastle Buses 75 Years of Bus Services" Australian Bus issue 41 September 2010 pages 4-15
  4. ^ Building tomorrows Newcastle: A New Approach to Transport Transport NSW 5 November 2015
  5. ^ Transport for Newcastle: private operator to integrate city’s public transport ABC News 5 November 2015
  6. ^ Keolis Downer eyes acquisitions ahead of Newcastle public transport bid Sydney Morning Herald 3 December 2015
  7. ^ Transit Systems and UGL announce intention to jointly bid for Newcastle iso Transit Systems 26 February 2016
  8. ^ Keolis Downer awarded contract to run light rail, buses and ferries says Baird government Newcastle Herald 12 December 2016
  9. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2014 page 89 State Transit Authority
  10. ^ Travers, Greg (1982). From City to Suburb...a fifty year journey. Sydney: Historic Commercial Vehicle Association. p. 97. ISBN 0 959601 62 7. 
  11. ^ State Transit Authority - Newcastle Australian Bus Fleet Lists
  12. ^ a b Newcastle Fares Transport Info, Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  13. ^ Getting on with modernising public transport as 11 paper tickets in Newcastle retired Transport for NSW 31 October 2014
  14. ^ Opal card rolling out as 11 paper tickets in Newcastle retired Transport for NSW 19 November 2014
  15. ^ Fare Free Bus Zone Retrieved 9 January 2013
  16. ^ Free Newcastle shuttle
  17. ^ Poorly patronised shuttle buses to go in favour of more services where they are needed Transport for NSW

External links[edit]