Gazing into the crystal ball
Where will you be when the future of PT becomes the present? MichaelApps writes
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 conrmed. Register today and book your accommodation. I look forward to seeing you there in Hobart on November 12-15.