Fu­tures work­ing group

As a fol­low up from the 2016 con­fer­ence, BIC and state as­so­ci­a­tions will hold dis­cus­sions with the NTC in a spe­cially con­vened meet­ing in Mel­bourne, Michael Apps writes

ABC (Australia) - - CANBERRA - Michael Apps BIC Na­tional Sec­re­tariat

Those who at­tended the BIC con­fer­ence in Perth last year will re­mem­ber that a strong fo­cus of the con­fer­ence pro­gram was look­ing at the fu­ture of the bus in­dus­try in the con­text of the evo­lu­tion of ser­vices like Uber and Lyft, and what on-de­mand ser­vices might mean for fu­ture pub­lic trans­port.

The idea of ‘last-mile’ ser­vices is be­com­ing a fa­mil­iar catchcry in many gov­ern­ment cir­cles, where al­ter­na­tives to a large bus cir­cu­lat­ing suburbs could be re­placed by more per­son­alised on-de­mand ser­vices to the pas­sen­gers’ door.

This con­cept is mov­ing fast, with the NSW Gov­ern­ment al­ready call­ing for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est to run some tri­als of th­ese types of ser­vices, and the ACT Gov­ern­ment re­cently tri­alled a night rider bus ser­vice that in­cluded a $10 Uber voucher for pas­sen­gers to use to get home once the bus ar­rived at their clos­est sta­tion.

The Uber ve­hi­cle was lit­er­ally booked from the bus and wait­ing at the bus stop.

The con­fer­ence also dis­cussed the emer­gence of driver­less or au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles and what this could mean for the fu­ture de­liv­ery of pub­lic trans­port ser­vices by bus.

A key out­come of the con­fer­ence was a call by the BIC for the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC) to form a Bus Fu­tures Work­ing Group. The aim of the work­ing group is to: work through th­ese is­sues and look at what im­pact such changes could have on the bus in­dus­try; pro­vide in­put to as­sist in en­sur­ing that fu­ture ser­vices meet the needs of the com­mu­nity; pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for the bus in­dus­try to tran­si­tion over time to new busi­ness mod­els if re­quired; and to re­form con­trac­tual ar­range­ments to en­hance the op­por­tu­nity for bus op­er­a­tors to be part of a new era of trans­port ser­vice pro­vi­sion.

The gath­er­ing with the NTC on March 6 will be the rst meet­ing to progress this mat­ter on be­half of the in­dus­try, and will in­volve ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors and op­er­a­tors from each state along­side a num­ber of key sup­pli­ers.

The NTC has al­ready re­leased a dis­cus­sion pa­per on ‘Land Trans­port Reg­u­la­tion 2040’ that looks at the chal­lenges of op­er­at­ing and reg­u­lat­ing au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.

Th­ese ve­hi­cles are not go­ing to be on the road ‘en masse’ in the near fu­ture, but they will be­come a re­al­ity as the tech­nol­ogy is fur­ther de­vel­oped and we bet­ter un­der­stand how they will in­ter­act with driven ve­hi­cles, pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists, and who is re­spon­si­ble in the event of an ac­ci­dent. The list of is­sues to be re­solved goes on, but the truth is they will be­come a re­al­ity.

Just as on-de­mand ser­vices have be­come a re­al­ity, au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles are be­ing tri­alled right now and will be part of the bus in­dus­try work en­vi­ron­ment. We need to be ahead of the game so bus op­er­a­tors are ready for the brave new world of pas­sen­ger ser­vice de­liv­ery and Mo­bil­ity as a Ser­vice (MaaS).

March 6 is the start of the BIC and state as­so­ci­a­tion work pro­gram to grow the in­dus­try and be a key player in fu­ture pas­sen­ger ser­vices.

As I men­tioned in my last BIC column, the BIC Na­tional Con­fer­ence will be held at the Grand Chan­cel­lor Ho­tel Ho­bart from Novem­ber 12-15, 2017.

It will be an im­por­tant fol­low-up event and up­date from the 2016 con­fer­ence about the fu­ture na­ture of bus and coach busi­nesses. The NTC Fu­tures Work­ing Group will be a key con­trib­u­tor to the 2017 con­fer­ence.

The con­fer­ence pro­gram is al­ready de­vel­op­ing, and the so­cial events and pre- and post-tour­ing op­tions are be­ing nalised. The con­fer­ence is be­ing planned to be a fam­ily and child friendly af­fair, where we work dur­ing the day at the con­fer­ence ses­sions and we en­joy the com­pany of col­leagues and fam­ily at our so­cial events.

Mercedes-Benz and Sca­nia have big things planned for Mon­day and Tues­day night din­ners, and we will see an­other magnicent Iveco Big Arvo Out event on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 15 fo­cused around Moo­rilla Win­ery and Moo Brew Es­tate for lunch. It will in­clude en­ter­tain­ment and the op­por­tu­nity to visit MONA – the Mu­seum of Old and New Art – which has be­come one of the largest tourist at­trac­tions in Aus­tralia. Iveco is once again putting on he­li­copter rides for the af­ter­noon to view Ho­bart and the Der­went River scenery.

Mark it in your diary.

“Au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles are be­ing tri­alled right now and will be part of the bus in­dus­try work en­vi­ron­ment”

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