Rural and Regional Buses

Rural and Regional Bus services from 1 January 2018

In progress
Start Date
Mar 2017
Final Report
Dec 2017

IPART has been asked to determine the maximum fares for rural and regional bus services from 1 January 2018, and provide advice to the NSW Government on the development of on-demand services in rural and regional areas of NSW.

We have released a Draft Report and Fact Sheet setting out proposing substantial reductions in rural and regional bus fares to encourage greater use of public transport.

For more information see:

Fact Sheet

Media Releases

Draft Report

Consultant reports

Bus marginal cost calculator

Draft Determination


We consider the main purpose of providing taxpayer-subsidised bus services in rural and regional areas is to ensure people with limited travel options – such as those who can’t drive or can’t afford a car or taxi services – have reasonable access to transport within their local communities.  To improve the value for money provided by the services, the fares should be set to meet this purpose


We used an approach for setting fares that places significant weight on people’s willingness and capacity to pay for the services.  We assessed this by examining a range of evidence - including feedback from surveys and stakeholder submissions, comparisons of the current fares with those in metropolitan NSW and bordering jurisdictions, and analysis of the expected elasticity of travel with respect to fares.  We also had regard to the other matters we were required to consider in our letter of referral, including the need for greater efficiency in the supply of services and issues related to travel across borders. 

Our review process to date has involved detailed analysis and public consultation:

  • In May 2017 we released an Issues Paper which set out our proposed approach for the review. 
  • At the same time, we released online questionnaires for bus operators and passengers.  . 
  • We appointed AECOM to provide expert advice on the efficient costs of rural and regional bus services.
  • We appointed ORIMA to undertake a survey of rural and regional areas to understand current demand for public transport and the potential for greater use of more flexible, on-demand services.   ORIMA’s report is available on our website.




This review covers all areas of NSW except the Sydney metropolitan and outer areas (Newcastle, Wollongong, part of the Hunter region and Blue Mountains).


This review affects people who may use bus services provided by private operators under contracts with the NSW Government in rural and regional areas.  

What next

We invite submissions from all interested parties, which we will consider before finalising our decisions and releasing our final report in December 2017.

Key Contact
Brett Everett
Have Your Say
IPART routinely seeks public input into our reviews via submissions, public hearings, stakeholder workshops and community surveys.
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