Gaz­ing into the crys­tal ball

Where will you be when the fu­ture of PT be­comes the present? MichaelApps writes

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

Mo­bil­ity as a Ser­vice, on-de­mand ser­vices, point to point, in­tel­li­gent mo­bil­ity, con­nected travel, door to door, last and rst mile – these are all the mod­ern terms for pas­sen­ger trans­port that you have been hear­ing over the last 12 months or more. Fu­ture mo­bil­ity will be dif­fer­ent, no doubt. It has to be with the mas­sive en­croach­ment of big data, smart­phones and pas­sen­ger de­mand.

The bus in­dus­try is al­ready in­volved in the chang­ing pas­sen­ger task. As an in­dus­try, we are al­ready pro­vid­ing real-time in­for­ma­tion to pas­sen­ger, elec­tronic timeta­bles on their phones and WiFi on buses. In­dus­try is al­ready in a mode of trans­for­ma­tional change. This is go­ing to con­tinue as we move into a dif­fer­ent mar­ket­place and busi­ness mod­els that will of­fer a va­ri­ety of trans­port op­tions for trav­ellers to get from A to B. In this re­spect, PT will still be a cen­tral plank of fu­ture mo­bil­ity.

I have had a num­ber of people tell me that ‘on-de­mand’ travel is not new and it has been around for more than 2030 years: “We have run bus ser­vices that are based around door-to-door and a phone book­ing sys­tem. In some cases it worked out that it was better for taxis to do the job.”

The de­mand and cost of some on-de­mand ser­vices just didn’t stack up, while others are still run­ning to­day. The dif­fer­ence this time around is the tech­nol­ogy con­nect­ing people to trips. The pas­sen­gers will de­ter­mine the type of on-de­mand ser­vice they might re­ceive from an op­er­a­tor.

The chal­lenge for bus and coach op­er­a­tions around Aus­tralia will be the an­swer to this ques­tion: What type of op­er­a­tor will you be? A tra­di­tional provider of trunk pub­lic trans­port ser­vices in a mod­ern bus, or per­haps a trans­port provider of a range of mo­bil­ity choices that al­lows people to plan their whole trip us­ing trans­port ser­vice of­fer­ings? Who knows where it might go.

How the ser­vices of a mod­ern trans­port ecosys­tem in­ter­act and in­te­grate – so­cially, com­mer­cially and in a reg­u­la­tory sense – is some­thing that in­dus­try needs to start dis­cussing and plan­ning for now.

The re­al­ity is govern­ment and in­dus­try are still sort­ing through what the fu­ture pas­sen­ger trans­port reg­u­la­tory and pol­icy frame­work needs to be. The chal­lenge is for trans­port ser­vice de­liv­ery to meet the so­ci­etal out­comes that gov­ern­ments want to de­liver through the trans­port net­work, such as tra­di­tional sub­sidised fare ser­vices, and at the same time in­ter­act and in­te­grate with com­mer­cial ser­vices – those ser­vices pro­vided through tech­nol­ogy providers who are not trans­port providers at all.

The key is that there will al­ways be a need for trans­port op­er­a­tors to pro­vide the ser­vices of the fu­ture. Tech­nol­ogy providers de­liver the plat­form for people to con­nect their trips. There is no trans­port with­out an op­er­a­tor. The ser­vices might change but the skills to co­or­di­nate and de­liver them will not.

The BIC Con­fer­ence this year is all about the above. Join us in Hobart to look at the fu­ture scope of your own busi­nesses through the lens of fed­eral, state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments, re­cent in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, and your own col­leagues. The con­fer­ence brochure is in this edi­tion of the mag­a­zine and you will see the qual­ity range of speak­ers we have conrmed. Reg­is­ter to­day and book your ac­com­mo­da­tion. I look for­ward to see­ing you there in Hobart on Novem­ber 12-15.

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