SA privatises Adelaide's rail network

Corey Wingard says privatising the train network will result in safer and more frequent services.
Corey Wingard says privatising the train network will result in safer and more frequent services.

The operation of Adelaide's train network has been privatised with the South Australian government signing a $2.14 billion contract to run for the next eight years.

Keolis Downer Ltd will operate the network from the end of January 2021.

Transport Minister Corey Wingard says the deal will result in better, safer and more frequent services.

"We're all about getting people from A to B faster so they can spend more time with their families and doing what they love. Public transport should be a convenience," Mr Wingard said.

"Keolis Downer has an exceptional track record of running successful public transport systems across Australia and around the world.

"From Melbourne to the Gold Coast and Newcastle, Keolis Downer is heavily focused on customer service and ensuring the journey for rail users is simple, easy and efficient."

The contract includes an extended trial of high-security zones on platforms with CCTV, improved lighting and the installation of phones to create a safer environment for travellers.

The state government will also retain ownership of all infrastructure, including tracks, trains and stations and will continue to have control of fare price and service standards.

Keolis Downer chief executive David Franks said the company would have a strong focus on customer service, providing commuters with more ways to access real-time information.

"Customer service staff will receive new tools to better engage with customers, share real-time information, gather feedback and advise passengers of any disruptions and alternative options when needed," he said.

But Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said with train operations in private hands, commuters faced the prospect of poorer services and higher fares.

"We know what will happen next, privatisation always means cuts, poorer services and higher fares," he said.

"Adelaide's trains will be run for profit, not for people."

Australian Associated Press