Sydney Ferries Operating Bid


Operating Bids Tendering and Contracting

Sydney Ferries Operating Bid

Client: Sydney Ferries Corporation
Date: 2009

Project Description

In 2009, against a backdrop of budgetary and service level requirements, the NSW Government undertook a tendering process for the existing Sydney Ferries operation. Sydney Ferries is one of the world’s most recognised ferry services, providing service across Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River. Sydney Ferries’ fleet, comprising six unique vessel classes, operates over 175,000 services annually.

Sydney Ferries was required to submit a proposal for future operation. The operational advice and technical expertise provided by Phillip Boyle & Associates to the Sydney Ferries bid team resulted in a substantial revision of service plans, operational plans and operating costs, and the provision of a complete timetable and scheduling proposals, which were later adopted into final service plans (Sydney Ferries Operational Planning).


In 2010 Sydney Ferries Corporation was announced as the successful bidder for continued operation of the ferry system. The new service agreement included many of the innovative technical and operational solutions developed by Phillip Boyle & Associates during the bid development process.

Scope of Works

Key Tasks

The key operational and technical tasks included:

  • Assistance in developing the Network Review Strategy, Seasonality Plan, Vessel Strategy and Transition Plan
  • Analysis of network redevelopment options, including a set of proposed timetables for all routes during the contract period
  • Identification of efficiency gains to be realised over the contract period
  • Projected operating cost estimates for the contract period, under a range of labour agreement scenarios
  • General bid advice and assistance.

Key Challenges

In preparing the service and operational plans and timetabling and scheduling proposals for the proposal, we had to take into account a range of mode-specific operational aspects; particularly, different fleet types and safety and training requirements. These had to be integrated into proposed rosters. The restrictive labour agreements needed to be carefully assessed as part of the process of bringing together elements of three different labour agreements into unified crew rosters.


"Phillip Boyle consistently provided a high level of expertise, advice and management of the scheduling process. His strong technical skills and thorough understanding of transport operations were major assets to the provision of the Olympic and Paralympic games transportation services."

Organising Committee for the Athens Olympic Games, Athens 2004

"Phillip Boyle & Associates has supported the development of the SmartBus program through the planning and implementation phases. In particular on Route 901 and 902 he developed the timetable and worked with the multiple bus operators to create scheduling solutions for implementation. This included not only creating the vehicle runs and crew shifts but also development of information for the systems that support SmartBus technologies. In each case implementation went very smoothly and high levels of scheduling efficiency were achieved. Phillip’s operational expertise and ability to successfully work with the bus operators involved was critical to the successful implementation of these services."

Chris Bright, Manager SmartBus, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding expertise in assisting Sydney Ferries with development of its successful operating bid, driving the development of a range of “outside the box” options aimed at improving service quality and increasing efficiency levels. Phillip Boyle’s combination of technical operations capabilities and commercial experience provided Sydney Ferries with significant benefits during this process."

Denis Mole, Chief Operating Officer, Sydney Ferries, NSW

"A highly successful implementation has been achieved, complete with substantial network changes and a complete rewriting of all operating timetables. During the scheduling process Phillip Boyle & Associates worked closely with both TransLink and ourselves to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a result the operation has been made simpler and substantially more robust. Implementation was helped significantly by Phillip Boyle’s operational planning and scheduling expertise."

Paul Davies, General Manager, Westside Bus Service, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding planning, operations and implementation expertise. The project was difficult due to the complex nature of the service (local, intertown and line haul services operating under a timed-transfer system) and the number of stakeholders involved. Phillip Boyle’s hands-on approach ensured a difficult implementation went smoothly. He worked effectively with a variety of stakeholders ranging from large and small bus companies, Department of Transport staff, Metlink and local government representatives. Not only did Mr Boyle help to redesign the service, but he also drove the implementation, including development of a regional timetable in a new format."

John Storrie, General Manager – Strategic Planning & Policy, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle provided scheduling support for Brisbane Transport over several projects spanning almost ten years. The range of projects he has assisted with cover the scheduling, planning and human resources disciplines. In that time he has demonstrated high levels of scheduling, planning and operations expertise. I look forward to working with Phillip Boyle & Associates in the future and would highly recommend them to an organisation looking for planning, operations or scheduling expertise."

Roman Gafa, Network Scheduling Manager, Brisbane Transport, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates developed our operating bid for the V/Line services. Not only did they assist with format, structure and content, but also developed our operating plan and pricing strategies. Our bid success was due in no small part to the professionalism of Phillip Boyle, his ability to prepare a high-quality operating bid, and his detailed understanding of operations. Upon winning the bid, Phillip Boyle & Associates provided implementation support and advice necessary to ensure a successful implementation of the services."

Frank Bono, Managing Director, Firefly Express, Victoria

"Having worked with Phillip Boyle over many years I can say without a doubt he provides industry-leading expertise in the planning, scheduling and operation of public transportation services. His recent work on the Advanced Transit Scheduling Manual reinforced this view."

Dan Boyle, President, Dan Boyle & Associates, USA