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Jam-packed coach catch up

A broad spectrum of coach and charter-related topics will cram into a tight seminar schedule in Sydney this Friday

By David Goeldner | February 23, 2011

Coach operators will be brought up to speed on an industry-wide Transport NSW bus and coach audit at this Friday BusNSW’s annual Coach and Charter seminar.

About 90 delegates are expected at Park Royal Parramatta to hear Transport NSW senior officials explain the audit, which BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says is important in terms of identifying immediate training needs.

“Transport NSW will give an analysis of the outcome of audits across the industry, focussing on the coach section, and what level of compliance has been found through the audits,” Mellish says.

“That will be important because then we can tailor our education and training needs once we hear how operators are performing.”

Mellish says BusNSW has placed priority in recent years to look at greater opportunities for the non-contract sector in the bus and coach industry.

“Ahead of the NSW election there are increased pressures on compliance which in some ways influenced our design of the seminar program,” he says.

Lessons learnt from route service operator compliance will be applied to coach and charter operations in a session to be delivered by BusNSW Industry Development Manager Matt Threlkeld (pictured).

Threlkeld will run a session on ‘knowing your costs and using KPIs’ which he considers important due some operators lacking an appropriate checklist to appropriately pass on costs to clients.

“I will be running through the costs coach operators should consider and what methodology is best to price the charter,” Threlkeld says.

He says this requires some marketing and customer ‘education’ to ensure operators price jobs accordingly and offer services perceived as value for money.

“We will also look at key performance indicators and try to get operators using KPIs to better understand how their businesses can work.”

Threlkeld is aware that the vast majority of coach operators understand that maintaining KPIs is a mandatory requirement for contracted route service work, but in the coach sector it is mostly voluntary.

“That’s how I will be bringing it across – it’s a bit like ‘do-it-yourself’ because coach operators are not obligated to have KPIs but it is good business practice,” he says.

“I will show some of the KPIs that metropolitan operators have to deal with so they can understand what those operators do.”

Other topics to be covered across the full-day seminar include an update on the CBD coach parking strategy, Sydney airport access, mass limits, fatigue, drug and alcohol testing and manual handling.

Mellish says these topics are key issues affecting coach operators.

Also anticipated is a discussion convened by Tourism NSW representatives on in-bound tourism and transport opportunities over the next five years, particularly from China.

“With China’s economy growing and individual wealth improving they will look at travelling, and there will be transport opportunities in Australia,” Mellish says.

Seminar registration opens at 8.30am this Friday. Sessions conclude at 5pm.

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