Rural and regional provisions

Rural and regional operators help a workshop with Transport for NSW as part of the annual conference

Rural and regional provisions
Over 110 regional and rural operators attended the workshop

Rural and regional operators in New South Wales are still left with many unanswered questions after a recent meeting with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) officials.

The rural and regional (RR) contract reporting and KPI workshop was held as part of the 2015 BusNSW Member Conference.

The purpose of the workshop was to assist operators and TfNSW with proposed new RR contract provisions relating to KPI’s, reporting and governance requirements.

Over 110 regional and rural operators attended the workshop and the program involved a number of sessions with various speakers.

BusNSW executive director Darryl Mellish explained how the combination of changes to the funding model and KPI’s are being used by TfNSW to achieve better value for money and justify significant changes to the existing contracts.

"TfNSW are trying to impose a new funding model and contract terms without releasing the unit rates it is using to establish the annual contract price for new contracts."

Mellish says the rural and regional KPIs are a cut down version of the metro contract KPI’s and do not take into account the different rural and regional customer profiles, which is largely driven by students travelling under the NSW Government’s School Student Transport Scheme.

"BusNSW expressed the view that the rural and regional KPI’s should not be penalty based but look at a partnership approach to providing value for money and student safety and security," he says.

BusNSW has concerns about the reporting system and contract security.

There was some discussion on how students would be allocated and transported under the proposed changes to the School Student Transport Scheme which is being introduced around the same time as the new contracts.

Operators also expressed concern to TfNSW that flexibility to make service changes was going to be removed under new contracts and operators were seeking a commitment for TfNSW to review service change applications in a timely fashion.

The proposal for TfNSW to issue uniform bus passes was another hot topic with operators advising that local colour systems for passes were used to manage capacity and ensure students were travelling with the correct operator.

Other questions related to daily capture of student boardings which seemed unnecessary for very small and small contracts.

"Overall there are still many unanswered questions," says Mellish.

The conference was held at Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach, Sydney, on April 15 and 16.

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