The Bus Industry Confederation Conference 2017 Review

The BIC (Bus Industry Confederation) 2017 annual national conference was full of the industry experts to share their brilliant ideas on Mobility as a Service or MaaS and the future value of bus and coach transport operations in Australia. The national conference was a three–day event from 12th to 15th of November. The conference was convened in Hobart at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) was said to be the new technology in transforming public transport services to be easily accessible for everyone. Anyone can easily access and choose any options to desired transport services by just simply using one’s fingertips. It will run through mobile phone applications to meet the public demand for mobility.

MaaS was pointed out as an emerging global megatrend which Australian bus and coach operators needs embrace in order to participate in this competitive market. It also has the real potential for solving city problems such as vehicle congestions, masses rushing for public transportations, communication lapses and urban high–density population growth.

The national conference presentation comprises of plenary 6 blockbuster sessions from the most distinguished speakers in the transportation industry of Australia.

Future Mobility – Opportunity or Hype

Andrew Somers – He is the Director of MaaS in Australia and demonstrated the essentials of it. Andrew Somers presented the possibilities of MaaS and the tremendous financial opportunities it could give to those innovative bus or coach operators. And also, he explained the potential motivation why a driver will sell their car and go for “freedom of mobility”.

Susan Harris – She is the Chief Executive Officer of ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) Australia. Susan Somers provided an overview information about intelligent transport system that is currently in use around Australia. She also detailed how advanced technologies can deliver safer, more efficient, and develop sustainable transport for both public & private sectors.

Bryan Willey – Is the Director of Road Transport Strategy in NSW and New South Wales government. Mr Willey outlined that the NSW government had approved the plan of MaaS and was pleased to know that it’s focused on customer–orientation. The government advocated a full support in this innovative mobility solution. He also discussed an overview of NSW government Future Transport Plan for 2056.

Graham McCabe – He is the GHD Principal Traffic and Transport Planning Consultant. Mr McCabe highlighted the services of Uber that it shows no interest to provide a service to the whole community but rather just focused on how to make people use their services as often as possible. He then raised a number of questions whether MaaS is a privilege or only available for those people who can afford to pay more.

Professor Graham Currie – He is the Professor and Director of Public Transport Research Group at Monash University. Professor Currie supports the MaaS as the “new shared mobility” and addressed some questions raised by the previous presenter from GHD. His closing statement to everyone is that “public transportation will still be the most efficient form of shared mobility to take”.

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Future Government Perspectives and Scenarios

David Anderson & Michelle Hendy – David Anderson is the Chairman and Commissioner while Michelle Hendy is the Chief Planning Officer, they both represented the National Transport Commission. The National Transport Commission Office input and interpretation of MaaS had only positive feedback. They have high expectation of this mobility service as customer–centric and hoping MaaS could deliver as what it claims.

Philippa Power – She is the Division Head, Policy and Research Division in Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Philippa Power presented an overview of the government’s current projects and the development of national infrastructure data collection. She then added with information of the government’s enhanced planning and decision making to identify places that need implementation of transport infrastructures.

Michael Roschlau – He is the former President of Canadian Urban Transit Association. Michael Roschlau presentation was about on how we might be able to navigate these times of “uncertainty” and perhaps this new technology could be the key to our future. He also spoke of an insight of the regional plan for the development of Toronto area in the times of uncertainty. His closing remarks were giving further information about Toronto Metrolink report.

Matthew Longland – Is the Deputy Director–General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Matthew Longland provided a comprehensive update on the present project of integrated network plan in Brisbane. He explained that the government’s priority is a continuous focus on developing and providing easy mass transit services for everyone. He also mentioned that Brisbane will have the bulk of employment opportunities for decades to come.

John Karaboulis – Is the Executive Director of Service Delivery & Asset Management Infrastructure & Services in Public Transport for NSW. John Karaboulis provided an impartial overview of the issues and challenges in the public transport network that Transport for NSW is presently tackling. They decided to make an end–to–end solution by offering an open market so that any interested parties can give a proposal. He also announced the current received proposals was 66 out of 43 proponents from last August 2017.

Sal Petroccitto – Is the CEO of National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Sal Petroccitto provided a comprehensive update on National Heavy Vehicle Regulator current programs. He talked about the 5 ongoing major programs that includes:

  • Round 3 of the National Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative
  • National services development across the states
  • National camera networks
  • Reviewing of 2 axle mass limits
  • Electronic works diaries

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National and International Overview

Michael Roschlau – He is the Past President of the Canadian Urban Transit Association. Michael Roschlau presented a brief history of Canadian Urban Transit Association and explained the transition from traditional public transport modes to integrated urban mobility. He also explained that government should move its role from traditional train and bus operators to a new role as mobility enablers and managers.

Clint Feuerherdt – He is the Group CEO of Transit System Group. Clint Feuerherdt highlight speech was giving a stunning example from one of the largest industrial estates in western Sydney with about 20,000 workers all without a public transportation access. If placing transport service in the right location would create a perfect opportunity. His presentation also provided more great ideas for transport businesses and emphasizes that “buses as a service”.

Bus and Future Intelligent Mobility

Neill Miller – He is the Manager of Urban Road Planning of Transport for NSW. Neill Miller provided a complete overview of the future transport plan until 2056 and the existing road infrastructure for bus operators. He pointed out 6 key themes on how Transport for NSW plans to meet the future demands of public transportation.

  • 1. Customer focus
  • 2. Successful places
  • 3. Growing the economy
  • 4. Safety & performance
  • 5. Accessible services
  • 6. Sustainability

Mel Pecen – He is the Managing Director of ANZ and Trapeze Group Asia Pacific. Mel Pecen explained the benefits of Demand Response Transport to the economy, community, and as well as the environment. He also gave examples of how successful Demand Response Transport systems throughout Europe and North America.

Stephen Lucas – He is the Chairman of ConnectU Warrnambool and Managing Director of Buslink Queensland. Stephen Lucas gave an overview of ConnectU on how it connects local businesses to a range of customers by the use of a mobility service. Presently ConnectU have 420 registered customers, and 26 volunteers driving making each an average of 16 trips per day.

Yale Wong – He is the Research Analyst and Doctoral Candidate of the Institute of Transport & Logistics Studies and The Business School from the University of Sydney. Yale Wong presented loads of research and data on how to successfully achieve the opportunity by engaging the MaaS. He also provided survey results from end–user or customer preferences and operators interest.

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Bus Operations and Business Tools for the Future

Grace Collier – She is a Columnist of The Australian. Grace Collier discussed her Labour movement in the early years before starting her own business as a consultant in industrial relations. She also revealed that enterprise bargaining is not that difficult as it seems, just some practical guidance and demonstration in relationship model, then employees will begin to understand if they belong to a union.

Paul Gwyn – He is the Managing Director of INIT–Asia Pacific. Paul Gwyn spoke of how technology plays an important role to help the advancement of public transportation. It will also benefit those people requiring special assistance in accessing the public transportation. He also provided an insight on how passenger technology should be delivered and consumed.

Hamish Duff – He is the Director of The Orion Network. Hamish Duff gave an overview of the advancement of communication technology from 2–way analogue radio devices to smartphones with GPS, smart cameras, telematics and driver navigation. He also presented technological opportunities for the bus in providing communications from drivers to ops room and passengers.

Juan Carbonell – He is the Managing Director of RouteMatch Software in Australia and New Zealand. Juan Carbonell explained the importance of MaaS today and how everyone will benefit from it. He also pointed out that MaaS is a new revenue opportunity by engaging in this Mobility on Demand. He suggested to start from smaller number of vehicles to trunk of transport services.

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Industry Focus

Michael Apps – He is the Executive Director of Bus Industry Confederation. Michael Apps started out explaining to delegates on how vast the National Work Program for the bus and coach industry will be in the coming years 2018 to 2019. He also made an audio/visual presentation review about the research and policy that Bus Industry Confederation will be supporting for the next 2 years.

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