Regional Express (Rex) Airline has kept the contract to provide regional air services in North West and Western Queensland but the contract for long-distance bus travel has changed hands.
Current service contracts were due to expire in December and Skytrans had bid for the five west and north west subsidised air routes for the next five years but the government has decided to continue with the incumbent Rex.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said a new package of five-year contracts would provide regional communities with long-term certainty around their local travel options, ensuring the future of seven long distance air routes and 20 coach routes.
"We're very pleased to announce the continuation of these routes under new contracts which deliver accessible and efficient passenger transport that meet local community needs." Mr Bailey said.
Rex General Manager Network Strategy, Warrick Lodge, said the decision was an endorsement of the airline's service to remote outback Queensland over the last decade, especially during the pandemic.
"We have exceeded all KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), achieved record customer satisfaction ratings and we have not had a single missed flight over the last seven years to the 23 communities that we serviced under the contract," Mr Lodge said.
The five regulated routes Rex have are:
Northern 1 Route from Townsville to Winton to Longreach and return;
Northern 2 Route from Townsville to Hughenden to Richmond to Julia Creek to Mount Isa and return;
Gulf Route from Cairns to Normanton to Mornington Island to Burketown to Doomadgee to Mount Isa and return;
Western 1 Route from Brisbane to Toowoomba (Wellcamp) to St George to Cunnamulla to Thargomindah and return; and
Western 2 Route from Brisbane to Toowoomba (Wellcamp) to Charleville to Quilpie to Windorah to Birdsville to Bedourie to Boulia to Mount Isa and return.
Meanwhile Greyhound Australia has won the Mount Isa bus contract from incumbent Bus Queensland.
Mr Bailey said locking in contracts for the next five years would give certainty to regional communities reliant on coach and air services for their connection to the rest of the state.
"With some coach contracts changing hands, operators have been able to provide connections to other services, for example the Mount Isa to Townsville coach to be run by Greyhound will connect with a Camooweal and Tennant Creek service once a week," he said.
The new contracts start January 1, 2022.
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