Adelaide Metro brand for all bus services with handover to private firms completed in 2000

Adelaide metropolitan buses took on a uniform look, although run by different area private operators, from 2000.

All state government-run Adelaide bus services were privatised by 2000, the same year as the Adelaide Metro brand was created for the whole urban public transport system.

Buses, the largest element of Adelaide public transport, had been run from 1975 to 1994 by the government’s State Transport Authority (STA) that also oversaw the metropolitan rail operations of the former South Australian Railways and buses and trams of the Muncipal Tramways Trust (MTT).

In 1995-96, the government’s TransAdelaide took over from the STA and it ran only three bus services and other area services were tendered out to private operators including Serco in its first Australian bus operation. Services were run and marketed under each operator’s name, presenting a disjointed network to the public.

The 2000 round of tenders for private operators to take over saw the end of TransAdelaide's (and the state government’s) direct operation of bus services in Adelaide, although it retained tram and rail services. The Adelaide Metro brand was created across all transport (bus, train, tram) operators, appearing to the public as a unified network, with common livery, timetable designs and a city information centre.

Contracts for private operators of the bus regions have changed and been shuffled but in 2019 they were operated by Torrens Transit (North-South, East-West and Outer North East, including Free City Connector and O-Bahn) and SouthLink (Outer South, Outer North and Hills). A large fleet of diesel and natural gas-powered buses operates services that mostly terminate in the Adelaide city centre or at a suburban railway stations or shopping centre interchange.

As contracts have been revised for privatised bus operations, more cross suburban routes have been added to the network. Buses get priority on many roads and intersections, with dedicated bus lanes and “B”-light bus-only phases at many traffic lights.

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