RWC faces bus challenge


Rugby glory plays out in Brisbane this weekend, but the attention will soon switch to NZ and a world cup needing buses and drivers en masse

RWC faces bus challenge
RWC faces bus challenge

By David Goeldner | July 8, 2011

As the Queensland Reds and Canterbury Crusaders face off in Brisbane on Saturday night for the Super Rugby title, attention will soon switch to Rugby World Cup and the logistics behind marshalling buses to 11 venues across New Zealand.

Bus transport logistics at this year’s Rugby World Cup will dominate proceedings at the Bus and Coach (NZ) Association’s annual conference which kicks off next weekend at the Copthorne Hotel, Bay of Islands.

Bus and Coach Association of New Zealand CEO Raewyn Bleakley, pictured, says almost 250 delegates have registered with three days and four nights of functions starting on Sunday July 17.

"We have an exciting program," Bleakley says.

"This year has been very busy with preparations for the Rugby World Cup which is affecting 11 different centres which is a big challenge for the country," she says.

The conference will hear from Rugby New Zealand Chair Brian Roche, an appropriate choice given his previous background as Chair of NZ’s Transport Agency Board.

NZTA’s Andy Thackwray will present and answer questions about the Cup, focussing on log book requirements and fatigue management.

Thackwray will also present contingency planning to grant exemptions for driver’s work time in the event of unexpected delays on match days.

But the conference won’t be a complete homage to the All Blacks.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will also be giving an update on the Operator Rating Scheme which goes live next year.

And project work undertaken on a new bus procurement model will also be presented.

There will also be a well-known Australian panel of speakers at this year’s conference, featuring Volvo Bus’s Asia Pacific Director David Mead, Warrnambool Buslines Stephen Lucas and BusVic Executive Director Chris Lowe.

"Having Australians at the conference gives a different perspective from a different framework," Bleakley says.

"The perception in New Zealand is that Australian operators run more profitable businesses, so it’s good to hear a different angle on how things are being done and the different regulatory system they are facing, some which are different and some which are very similar," she says.

And while the conference will cover current issues of procurement and compliance, along with discussion on Rugby transport logistics, delegate numbers are down slightly on previous years.

"Last year we had our conference in September but we have brought it forward this year to avoid the Rugby World Cup and we also have a general election in late November," Bleakley says.

"And the Christchurch earthquakes have had a dramatic effect on the country, particularly in Canterbury, and this will reduce our numbers of delegates slightly."

Bleakley says there is still time to book for the conference.

To register go to www.busandcoach.co.nz.

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