Stage 5 Developing the Improvement Plan

Modal Integration Plan

Although the focus is on improving bus services, this should go hand in hand with other modes. While modal integration may be a long-term goal, realistically it can only be achieved where there is a co-operative framework and a reasonable quality of service.

Integration can be achieved at the following levels:

  • Routes and services
  • Network
  • Physical infrastructure (e.g. terminals)
  • Tariffs and ticketing
  • Information and marketing
  • Customer support

Improvements to enable integration can include:

  • Comprehensive multi-modal data collection, analysis and network design
  • Common or consistent branding and information
  • Integrated and multi-modal tariff structures
  • Revenue-sharing agreements among operators
  • Harmonisation of operational practices
  • Creation of a special-purpose company to manage integrated facilities (e.g. ticketing, information, customer support, network planning)

Operator’s Efficiency: Improvements to operator efficiency and productivity achieves better use of resources and improves profitability. Inefficiencies can arise from many factors including:

  • Small scale, leading to higher unit costs
  • Lack of technical facilities
  • Lack of technical know-how
  • Lack of organizational know-how
  • Lack of data and analytical skills
  • Poor operating conditions
  • Poor organizational practices that the individual operator cannot change (e.g. having to queue at terminals)
  • Restrictive or destructive practices by staff (e.g. fraud, theft, absenteeism)

If the operators are working inefficiently, profitability will be low and they will find it difficult to raise finance for fleet renewal or for quality maintenance. The overall service level offered to customers will be low.

Quite often, change is difficult for the individual operator or small company who must work within an established system or within the limits of their training and experience, and it requires external intervention to introduce new practices and raise efficiency levels.

Improvements include:

  • Developing a template for a self-implemented efficiency review for operators. Focus on basic indicators such as:
    • Service-kilometres operated/vehicle owned
    • Passenger carried/staff member
    • Staff/vehicle owned
    • Revenue/vehicle owned
    • Revenue/vehicle km, or revenue/passenger trip or revenue/passenger-km
    • Cost/vehicle km, or cost/passenger trip or cost/passenger-km
    • % buses operating in the peak
    • Kilometres operated between breakdowns
    • Fuel consumption/km
  • Track performance parameters over time and across operators
  • Implement benchmarking and train operators in how to use it effectively – it is not just statistics, the primary objective is to identify areas for improvement
  • Provide experience exchange, technical know-how, technical assistance and grants to operators willing to implement measures to improve efficiency and productivity
  • Encourage and assist consolidation of independent operators into larger companies or associations that can gain efficiencies of scale

These principles would also apply to government-run companies.

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