Stage 2 Describing the Starting Point

Assess the Internal Environment

It is also important to describe and understand the bus industry structure. Any planned changes will impact directly and indirectly on the owners, managers and personnel, and on other stakeholders. Improvements will need to be financed, managed and implemented by the agencies, operators and other stakeholders. Failure to understand the participants, their relationships and their capacities is a common cause of problems, such as unrealistic plans, which cannot be financed or implemented.

Having described the external environment, an analysis of the existing transportation system needs to be made. Information on all modes of transport should be reviewed. The bus system can be broadly classified into two categories – operated by a government agency or by private operators.

Considering private operators, the following aspects should be described to the extent possible:

  • Regulatory framework for the private operators – process for issuing permits.
  • Monitoring mechanism in place (if any)
  • Total number of operators and fleet size
  • Organization of operators e.g. whether a company, proprietorship etc.
  • Average staff salary
  • Share of routes between different operators
  • Tariff-setting mechanism
  • Effectiveness of enforcement of rules and regulations governing the permits
  • Coordination mechanism between operators

For Government-Owned Agencies, the following aspects should be described:

  • Whether the bus company is owned by the State Government, City Government or via any other arrangement
  • How the bus organization is structured- Government Company, State Transport Undertaking under the Road Transport Corporation Act, a government department or within the city government
  • Which agencies are represented on the Managing Committee/Board of Directors
  • The extent of autonomy enjoyed by the agency
  • The average tenure of the Chief Executive

The analysis of existing transport should form the basis for the evaluation of the system. It may be necessary to compare the various parameters or indices with established benchmarks, or with comparable cities. This will help in determining where improvements could be made. It should be noted that strengths and weaknesses are within an organization’s competence, whereas opportunities and threats are external. For a typical Government-run bus system, the SWOT analysis would be as set out in the illustrative example below.

Table 2 Example SWOT Analysis of a Government-Owned Organization

STRENGTHS (S)

  • Expertise and experience in bus operation
  • Owns lands at key places
  • Skilled human resources
  • Less pollution per person carried
  • Less road space occupied per person carried

WEAKNESSES (W)

  • High cost of operations
  • Overstaffed
  • High indiscipline amongst staff
  • Financial pressure
  • Obsolete bus fleet
  • Bureaucratic system of management
  • Inadequate autonomy

OPPORTUNITIES (O)

  • Rising Demand for Public Transport.
  • Rising Cost of fuel
  • Increasing concern for environment
  • Rising congestion on roads
  • Increasing population density
  • Government patronage
  • Transport policy gives priority to public transport systems

THREATS (T)

  • Unfavourable fiscal regime
  • Competition from other modes
  • Increasing staff costs
  • Unviable fares fixed by Government
  • Poor enforcement of laws and rules
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