Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Entrepreneurs Needed For After Hours Buses

Jim Glasson, the Director General of the Ministry of Transport, was the guest speaker at the regular Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) transport seminar at Sydney University.

In response to a question from the audience, Mr Glasson discussed the fact that the Bus Service Contract Areas are no longer totally exclusive.

"The Lead Contractor now has to share. And that's a good thing," he said with a smile. "For instance, you have an operator now, taking advantage of the legislation which allows runs of 40klms or more without stops, to operate without a contract and go across contract areas into the city".

"But if someone wanted to offer a service within a contracted area they wouldn't be able to?" the questioner asked. "That's right. I would look at it, but it has to make sense from a public transport perspective" said Mr Glasson.

I asked him about after-hours and weekend services when the contracted operator has decided not to provide service. (It is not uncommon in Western Sydney to have bus services finish at 6 or 7pm during the week and at midday on Saturday, or no service at all on Sunday). "These services are generally not viable, that's why they are not being provided" Mr Glasson said.

"What about if someone did ask you for a contract to provide such a service" I asked.

"Well I would look at it. It would have to be an unsubsidised service and I don't have anyone banging on my door asking to provide a service like that" he said.

So there's an opportunity for all you budding entrepreneurs. Can you think of a business plan that would make providing after-hours and weekend bus services in the suburbs financially viable and can you sell it to the Director General?

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