In May, Craig will be succeeded as managing director by Loretta Lynch (page 15)..
new cities and new vehicles to our network.
However, transitioning fleets to electric requires more than replacing diesel buses with electric. Upgrades to existing depots, training for employees and changes to scheduling also need to be considered.
We were delighted the Victorian Government committed to purchasing 40 Euro 6 buses as part of its order of 100 new buses for the Transdev Melbourne fleet. These buses are lower emissions and are quieter, meaning lower operational costs and improved passenger comfort. Ultimately, the decision to purchase a specific type of vehicle is determined by individual public transport authorities.
ABC: Much attention is on electric buses on trial in Australia or coming to our shores in future soon; where does hybrid tech sit in the scope of what Transdev Australasia wants to do with its bus services?
IC: Around the world, Transdev fleets comprise a range of eco-friendly mobility options – alternative fuels, hybrid and fully electric vehicles. We are the leading operator of zero-emission mobility solutions globally, and can draw on our experience and expertise in this area.
In the future, hydrogen may become the energy source of choice for transportation networks around the world. However, right now, electric vehicle technology is more advanced than hydrogen fuel cells. We are excited to be partnering with Auckland
Transport and expect to be operating one of their hydrogen fleet towards the end of this year.
ABC: Transdev Australasia is one of a few key big public transport operators here in the region now, with many traditional smaller operators having been acquired by such bigger entities along the way. Any further expansion plans? Should industry fear certain operators increasing size while others close down or sell up as things consolidate? Is such consolidation a bad thing? Or why is it advantageous to the greater industry?
IC: The world has changed and these
Our drivers will remain a core part of the business and do a wonderful job of greeting our customers every day.
days there is a lot of regulation bus operators need to comply with including environmental and safety regulation. Larger operators are often better equipped to manage complex regulatory environments. Consolidation when managed effectively, often results in better outcomes for clients. At Transdev, we operate different modes of transport across a global network and draw on our experience and expertise to deliver better outcomes for customers.
ABC: How big is the Transdev Australasian fleet currently? What’s the mix of brands used or is it all one preferred brand or combination? What’s been the most successful or reliable product that Transdev has used in this market thus far and why?
IC: Across Australia and New Zealand we operate a fleet of just over 1,735 buses. This includes a mix of Scania, Volvo, MAN, Mercedes-Benz and Optare models. When supporting clients with procurement projects, we work closely with our clients to recommend the vehicles which will be best suited to the operation and will deliver the best safety and environmental performance.
ABC: Around the world, where does Transdev as an operator sit in terms of being number one in regions or countries? Is it number one in most countries now?
IC: Transdev operates in 18 countries across five continents. Our focus is to develop long-term partnerships with businesses and public authorities, in the development of safe and innovative mobility solutions. We are the leading zero-emission mobility operator in Europe, and actively sharing our knowledge and expertise with our partners here in Australia.
ABC: Your HQ is in Victoria – do other States report to you, or is each state a lot more independent in what they do with their fleets in terms of scheduling and general public transport strategy? Is Transdev in all states and territories?
IC: We currently operate bus fleets in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland and Wellington. While there are some commonalties and knowledge that can be shared across the bus businesses, scheduling decisions are determined by each bus business. General public transport strategy is usually informed by the relevant public transport authorities in each region; we work in partnership with the relevant authorities to deliver services.
ABC: Driverless buses – will Transdev be operating autonomous vehicles soon and can it confirm what will happen to the role of the traditional driver? Any driverless bus trails coming up or insight into what branded product will be used? Or will a few different manufacturers’ product be tested? How are current tests going? From logistical and legal views, what are the implications for the Asia-Pacific region?
IC: At Transdev, our belief is that shared autonomous transport will change the way we travel and live, and present a valuable opportunity to provide first and last mile for communities.
We have successfully completed an Australian-first trial of a fully electric autonomous driverless shuttle known as ARDi in Armidale.
The Armidale Regional Driverless Initiative (ARDi) was the first automated shuttle to operate in mixed traffic within a city centre and operated on one of the longest and most complex trial routes. The trial helped us understand the technical capabilities of ARDi and how it integrated into the transport network and operated in real-life urban traffic scenarios.
Our drivers will remain a core part of the business and do a wonderful job of greeting our customers every day and getting them where they need to go. In the medium term, autonomous technologies present some exciting opportunities for application in our depots.
ABC: What double-decker buses does Transdev have in the fleet, if at all these days? Any chance for more coming on board and which areas would they be used in and why there?
IC: Transdev currently has a number of double-decker buses operating in New South Wales, Auckland and Wellington. Ultimately, the decision to purchase double decker buses lies with individual public transport authorities.
ABC: So what is it that you, as a person, uniquely bring to this role? What is it that makes you different that will help enhance the managing director role you have been appointed with?
IC: I am a big believer you are as only as good as your team. Luckily, we have an outstanding team in Melbourne and across each of our bus businesses. Their passion for operational excellence and improving the customer experience inspires me daily. I see my role as creating the right environment for my team to succeed in and helping move challenges out of the way.
Above: Transdev operates in 18 countries across five continents.