Right di­rec­tion

It’s been a mas­sive year for the bus in­dus­try with tech­nol­ogy seem­ingly mov­ing faster than we do, writes Ran­dall John­ston

ABC (Australia) - - AT THE HELM -

The 2017 Bus In­dus­try Con­fed­er­a­tion An­nual Con­fer­ence in Ho­bart was well at­tended and saw a huge num­ber of speak­ers give pre­sen­ta­tions mostly based around the con­cept of Mo­bil­ity as a Ser­vice ( MaaS).

MaaS puts users at the core of trans­port ser­vices, of­fer­ing them tai­lor- made mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions based on their in­di­vid­ual needs.

This whole con­cept seems a world apart from what bus op­er­a­tors have tra­di­tion­ally done, which is to iden­tify one set route that will be of use to the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple.

Twenty years ago, bus op­er­a­tors would have strug­gled to iden­tify where de­mand for ser­vices are with­out do­ing some se­ri­ous home­work, but with the avail­abil­ity of so much in­for­ma­tion on­line that’s no longer the case. More­over, they would not have had the tech­nol­ogy to re­spond to this de­mand, even had they known it ex­isted.

The par­a­digm has now shifted and, as Tran­sit Sys­tems Group CEO Clint Feuerd­herdt pointed out in his pre­sen­ta­tion in Ho­bart, our cities are grow­ing but pub­lic trans­port pa­tron­age is not nec­es­sar­ily grow­ing with them.

“If our cities are grow­ing, why is our pa­tron­age fall­ing? I think it’s be­cause some of our ser­vices are not in the right place,” he says.

“If we want to re­main rel­e­vant, then I think we need to see our­selves as ‘ buses as a ser­vice’.

“The num­ber one thing there is to pro­vide a ser­vice that the cus­tomer tells you they want, not what you think they want.”

You can read more about the BIC con­fer­ence on page 20.

This leads per­fectly well into Ricky French’s ar­ti­cle on Tran­sit Sys­tems and the de­vel­op­ments the com­pany is putting into on- de­mand ser­vices ( p26).

While De­cem­ber is of­ten a time to re­flect, the fu­tur­is­tic theme con­tin­ues with a North Amer­i­can Daim­ler sub­sidiary in­tro­duc­ing its first bat­tery- pow­ered school bus for se­ries pro­duc­tion in the USA ( p42), and Sca­nia’s new coach sweep­ing a Euro­pean fuel con­sump­tion test with a sim­i­lar model set to be launched in Aus­tralia in the third quar­ter of 2018 ( p43).

There’s also a lot go­ing on in De­cem­ber lo­cally and abroad.

Tokyo- based op­er­a­tor Hato Bus has po­si­tioned it­self as the pre- em­i­nent force in on- road pub­lic trans­port in the sprawl­ing city ( p30).

The I-Bus is uniquely built on the Isuzu truck driv­e­train and chas­sis; Tech­ni­cal Writer Paul Aldridge takes it for a spin ( p36).

Don’t for­get to flick to the en­gine bay of this mag (the rear) to check out the lat­est Aus­tralian bus and coach de­liv­ery in­for­ma­tion to see where the money is go­ing as we reach the end of 2017. En­joy the Christ­mas break!

“The num­ber one thing there is to pro­vide a ser­vice that the cus­tomer tells you they want”

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