There were many wonderful takeaways that emerged from the recent Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) national conference held in Adelaide in late October and early November. Alongside the constructive discussions on zero-emissions buses, safety, fire mitigation and industrial relations, one particular message stood out.
John Lee, chair of the NSW Bus Industry Taskforce, discussed the ways in which the state’s bus network had been hampered by a combination of factors, resulting in fragmented services and a lack of network growth into Sydney’s outer suburbs.
Just two years ago, the NSW government decided to franchise the remaining three state transit regions that formed a large portion of Sydney’s bus network. Now, the Victorian government is re-tendering parts of its Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise. With 30 per cent of the metropolitan route network now set to be put to tender as part of the re-contracting process, it’s hoped that a change in bus contract structure in Melbourne won’t result in the same issues that Lee and his taskforce are trying valiantly to rectify in NSW, such as the race to the bottom.
Following the presentation from Lee, there’s a simple question behind all of this – what about the passengers?
Sydney’s bus network issues, which have mainly resulted from a chronic driver shortage, saw multitudes of services cancelled, leaving patrons stranded at bus stops around the city. Whether it be through resourcing or problematic operator transitions, this is having a major impact on the number of passengers choosing to hop on metropolitan bus services.
So, what can be done to make bus trips easier, more enjoyable and more efficient?
This busy edition of ABC Magazine focuses on the technology making life easier for people who board Australian buses, with the latest passenger information systems technology empowering passengers on their daily commutes.
Combined with the newest electric bus technology from BYD Australia, which graces our cover, these innovations are quickly improving the passenger experience. Check out the history of BYD as a global battery and technology force on page 18 and find out the exciting models they are already looking at bringing to Australia.
Hanover Displays is one of many bus and coach companies growing its passenger information capabilities. Whether it be its TFT screens or its LED destination displays, Hanover is paving the way for more accessible passenger information on page 25.
The likes of Consat Technologies is another business with lofty goals for the Australian transport industry. On page 29, its mission to make urban buses part of a multimodal boom through innovative service and passenger information systems will excite many.
With 3G networks preparing to shut down later this year, Webfleet is once again highlighting the benefits that 4G can have on fleet management systems from page 33, while INIT’s new LIVErtpi solution is another great market entry for passenger information on page 37.
For the operators, Triple D Software has used years of experience working alongside bus and coach companies to deliver a new fleet management software that will save countless hours for many, while NOVO’s next generation of its Safe-Check solution ensures all passengers, old or young, aren’t left behind on buses.
ABC also talks to many global companies with Australian arms about their experience at the recent Busworld fair from page 44 amid another collection of interesting industry and operator features.
As you can tell, there is plenty going on in the sector in the lead-up to the year’s end. We hope you enjoy this month’s range of stories in ABC Magazine.