Infrastructure Australia all for private ownership
A policy of franchising public transport systems could have long-term positives, according to the latest public transport industry report
Privatising Australia’s government-operated bus and rail services could save taxpayers up to $15.5 billion by 2040, which could be reinvested into new transport services, Infrastructure Australia says.
Infrastructure Australia’s Improving Public Transport: Customer Focused
Franchising report recommends that state and territory governments pursue franchising, where the operation of government- owned bus and ra il services are subject to a competitive tender process and the contract is awarded to the best operator.
“Experience both here and abroad shows that public transport franchising can deliver better services for commuters and signicant savings for taxpayers,” Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies says.
“Re-investing these savings back into our public transport networks will help deliver the infrastructure Australia needs to meet our future growth challenges.”
“Franchised public transport is delivered in a tightly-regulated environment with clear performance targets, and contracts are regularly reviewed to ensure competition delivers the best result for the commuters and taxpayers.”
Governments would still own the infrastructure and have responsibility for important decisions such as network planning, investment in new infrastructure, fare prices and timetabling.
They would also be able to hold private operators to account via clear performance targets and penalties for poor service.
“The billions of taxpayers’ dollars this could save should then be reinvested back into the public transport system to deliver new trains and buses, station upgrades or additional capacity on our networks,” Davies says.
“Franchising has been successfully operating in Melbourne for almost 20 years, providing reliable transport at governmentregulated prices.
“While it has not been without its challenges, franchising Melbourne’s tram and heavy rail services has delivered better services for commuters.”
Performance targets for private operators have driven clear improvements in punctuality with, for example, on-time running for Melbourne Metro improving by 7.1 percentage points since 2009.
“Customer-focused franchising would allow state and territory governments to invest more money in delivering public transport and enable all Australians to benet from world-class infrastructure,” Davies says.
Public transport franchising can deliver better services for commuters and significant savings for taxpayers