Sydney Ferries Operating Bid

Provided the operational advice and technical expertise to the Sydney Ferries bid team

Client: Sydney Ferries Corporation

Project Description

Sydney Ferries Pic

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.