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STA Privatisation / Franchising

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Frosty » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:31 pm

Surely there is just enough layover space at Kingsford sharing with the 343 maybe during peak hour have 343 trips terminate in Rosebery or Eastlakes.
Mascot Station is a better terminating spot for customers and isn't too far either end but there is no layover room.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Jurassic_Joke » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:53 pm

Constance and his mate Sidoti were talking about Region 6 and Transit Systems in Parliament today, interesting heres the transcript:

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansa ... 322-103309

SYDNEY BUS SERVICES

Mr JOHN SIDOTI (Drummoyne) (15:05): I address my question to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. How is the New South Wales Government improving bus services across Sydney, and is the Minister aware of alternative proposals?

Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE (Bega—Minister for Transport and Infrastructure) (15:06): I thank the member for Drummoyne for his question, and it is most appropriate that he asked it. Members opposite fought the Government over the franchising of region 6 for a long time. The service has now been operating for six weeks and it is worth reflecting on how well the franchise has performed. It has gone well. Members opposite will not like hearing that under the public operator, an average of 130 trips were cancelled each day. I invite members to guess the average now. It is not 100, not 70, not 60, not 40, and not 20; it is 18. That is the key point.

My dear friend from Strathfield told me that there would not be enough bus drivers to provide this service. There are now more bus drivers to cover the requirements of region 6 than there were under the public operator. Complaints also fell by 3.75 per cent in July, and that is despite a 6.6 per cent increase in services. The most important difference is that on-time running has improved by 3 per cent. That represents a significant saving of about $140 million over the life of the contract. Coupled with that, almost five million bus kilometres will be delivered as part of the contract. Of course, that wonderful initiative called "on-demand transport"—which the Labor Party hates—is also being delivered in region 6.

I thank the member for Vaucluse and the member for Coogee for joining me earlier in the week for the launch of the new Bondi link service. The 333 bus route will now offer a turn-up-and-go service with buses running every three minutes during the morning peak, every six minutes through the day, every 10 minutes at night, every 10 minutes in the evening on weekends, and every six minutes during the day on weekends. This will be a popular high-frequency and reliable service, which is what passengers want. The Government is building capacity, and about 29,000 additional passengers will be able to use the service.

Of course, this all follows the wonderful B-Line initiative. The B-Line buses are phenomenal. They have delivered 16,800 trips on average every weekday and there has been a 4.6 per cent increase in the number of bus trips along the B-Line corridor between Wynyard and Mona Vale compared to this time last year. B-Line buses make up 10 per cent of services on the Northern Beaches and carry more than 26 per cent of customers. Very pleasingly, trips in the middle of the day have increased by 9 per cent.

As members whose electorates border that corridor know, the frequency of services is great in the evenings and during intra-peak periods. It is also pleasing to see a 6 per cent mode shift from cars to buses along Military Road and Spit Road in the morning peak period. That has resulted in a 2 per cent decrease in travel times for general traffic. That is public transport at work under this Liberal-Nationals Government. We are seeing some fantastic outcomes. I was asked about alternative proposals. I have not heard any from members of the Opposition, and I am not expecting to any time soon. All we hear from the party of protest is ongoing complaints. What we have seen in question time this week has been deplorable.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Gosford to order for the first time.

Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: Members opposite are not prepared to come into this place to ask questions about things that matter to the people of New South Wales; they are interested only in the politics of—

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Gosford to order for the second time.

Mr ANDREW CONSTANCE: My favourite tweet of the week reads: "Lame question time attack by NSW Opposition on Gabby Upton ... @lukefoley badly needs to lift his game." That was written by Andrew Clennell; it is a comment from the press gallery. The bottom line is that members opposite have had a hopeless week. The Government will get on with delivering for the people of New South Wales.


Anyways, I was about to say, I'm pleased myself with Transit Systems and the service provided. And this is with all the construction challenges of the Inner West. Complaints are down, Constance says.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Swift » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:26 pm

Looks like the snobs to the north who demand their bus services remain government owned and run, don't know what they might be missing. They vote continually for a party that believes in privatisation, yet wants their buses to continue to be fully government run. A bit of cognitive dissonance going on with these ignorant people.
It looks like TSA should have been charged with running the B -line.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Tonymercury » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:24 am

Swift wrote:Looks like the snobs to the north who demand their bus services remain government owned and run, don't know what they might be missing. They vote continually for a party that believes in privatisation, yet wants their buses to continue to be fully government run. A bit of cognitive dissonance going on with these ignorant people.



They'll be able to go electric when Tony Abbot gets a nuclear power plant built in the electorate.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby J_Busworth » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:07 am

Mr Constance says the service is better, I’ve only had bad experiences so far. This includes two buses held together with masking tape, a swearing driver and a driver who stopped to let passengers off in the parking area at Bondi Jumction Interchange, making us walk back across the road to get into the terminal and all those buses were late. I guess that’s just my bad luck as I think TSA R3 is great.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Frosty » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:44 am

I’ve found Transit Systems on my local m20 have worse on-time running usually being late from the depot and often loosing 5 mins for a driver change at Zealand. For a short while drivers didn’t have best knowledge of the route but it’s getting better.
Does anybody know how the $5k on-time running bonus is going.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:48 am

Are you peeps forgetting already that region 3 started off like this too before it became respected?
Give them more time.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby lunchbox » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:36 pm

For the record, Sidotti rode home from the city on the M52 at about 1800 last night (16.8.18). Nobody sat next to him. I'd have been on any earlier Vic Rd service if I hadn't had to wait 20 minutes for ANY kind of bus from Chalmers Street to Elizabeth / Bathurst. Not good enough for that time in the peak hour.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Stu » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:51 pm

Frosty wrote:I’ve found Transit Systems on my local m20 have worse on-time running usually being late from the depot and often loosing 5 mins for a driver change at Zealand. For a short while drivers didn’t have best knowledge of the route but it’s getting better.
Does anybody know how the $5k on-time running bonus is going.


There was a group of drivers who won so the prize will be split.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Nugget » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:42 pm

Two quick questions about the TSA change.

1. Is this the first time that a private operator has run state transit livery?

2. AEC Decker indicated that it was rumoured that the buses would be reregistered from ST to m/o plates. I noticed that most of them are still on ST plates. Rumour incorrect or just haven't gotten around to it?
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby J_Busworth » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:53 pm

Nugget wrote:Two quick questions about the TSA change.

1. Is this the first time that a private operator has run state transit livery?

2. AEC Decker indicated that it was rumoured that the buses would be reregistered from ST to m/o plates. I noticed that most of them are still on ST plates. Rumour incorrect or just haven't gotten around to it?


1. No - TSA still runs most of the old STA Bonnyrigg buses in STA livery and has done so since 2013.
2. Probably won't do it until the rego comes up for renewal.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Tonymercury » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:03 pm

Does any of this matter any more?
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Fleet Lists » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:21 pm

J_Busworth wrote:
Nugget wrote:Two quick questions about the TSA change.

1. Is this the first time that a private operator has run state transit livery?

2. AEC Decker indicated that it was rumoured that the buses would be reregistered from ST to m/o plates. I noticed that most of them are still on ST plates. Rumour incorrect or just haven't gotten around to it?


1. No - TSA still runs most of the old STA Bonnyrigg buses in STA livery and has done so since 2013.
2. Probably won't do it until the rego comes up for renewal.

Same applies in Newcastle where Newcastle Transport still runs buses in STA livery and on ST plates. Newcastle has been like that since 1st July 2017 so dont hold your breath for reregistrations.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Fleet Lists » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:22 pm

Tonymercury wrote:Does any of this matter any more?

It does to some people.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Free Lance » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:14 pm

When did the "common" government decreed livery become "STA" I thought the STA had its own distinct livery before our "Gladys" decreed all metro (inc Newcastle & the Gong) services buses would look the same, I recall she even set a ridiculous timetable for all buses to have "her" chosen colour scheme applied.

I think the issue of all buses looking the same was discussed at length on this panel.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby boronia » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:24 pm

Nugget wrote:Two quick questions about the TSA change.

1. Is this the first time that a private operator has run state transit livery?

2. AEC Decker indicated that it was rumoured that the buses would be reregistered from ST to m/o plates. I noticed that most of them are still on ST plates. Rumour incorrect or just haven't gotten around to it?

Possibly there could be m/o and -ST plates with the same numbers?
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Fleet Lists » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:42 pm

Free Lance wrote:When did the "common" government decreed livery become "STA" I thought the STA had its own distinct livery before our "Gladys" decreed all metro (inc Newcastle & the Gong) services buses would look the same, I recall she even set a ridiculous timetable for all buses to have "her" chosen colour scheme applied.

I think the issue of all buses looking the same was discussed at length on this panel.

Nothing to do with Gladys see viewtopic.php?f=42&t=56503&p=663495&hilit=New+Bendy+at+Volgren+Tomago#p663495 the first photo I can find of one back in 2010 while Labor was still in power.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Fleet Lists » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:54 pm

boronia wrote:
Nugget wrote:Two quick questions about the TSA change.

1. Is this the first time that a private operator has run state transit livery?

2. AEC Decker indicated that it was rumoured that the buses would be reregistered from ST to m/o plates. I noticed that most of them are still on ST plates. Rumour incorrect or just haven't gotten around to it?

Possibly there could be m/o and -ST plates with the same numbers?

That does not seem to have worried Newcastle Transport - in the only rereg that I can find in their fleet is 2732 which was reregd from 2732 ST to m/o 1950 but a closer look showed that happened back in STA days. But all buses acquired by Newcastle Transport since 1st July have non matching fleet numbers and m/o regos and as Transit Systems have not worried about in region 3, I can see them worrying about that in region 6.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby gld59 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:43 pm

Free Lance wrote:When did the "common" government decreed livery become "STA"

?? Nothing at all to do with the discussion here today.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby boronia » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:41 pm

Free Lance wrote:When did the "common" government decreed livery become "STA" .

IIRC, The STA was the first to get this livery, with the Tomago Volgrens, and I think it was assumed then that was just a new STA livery. It took a while to sink in that private operators were getting it too.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby 1whoknows » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:48 am

Several private operators have run ex STA buses on school charter work still in the former STA livery. Choice is one that comes to mind but there were others as well.
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby boronia » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:56 am

^^ many still displaying STA fleet numbers
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby Nugget » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:04 am

1whoknows wrote:Several private operators have run ex STA buses on school charter work still in the former STA livery. Choice is one that comes to mind but there were others as well.


I thought that this was because the operators were lazy and didn't comply with the requirement to repaint the bus. Or they said it wasn't STA livery because the painted over the red stripe or just painted the front of the bus white!!
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Re: STA Privatisation / Franchising

Postby rogf24 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:53 pm

Neil Smith got into buses after turning down a job as a spook in the early 1970s. Graduating with a double major in history, he "wasn't qualified for a lot" when he graduated.

"The only people who offered me a job was ASIO. But in the '70s, no self-respecting left-leaning Sydney University student would go and work for ASIO," Smith tells AFR Weekend.

"So I sort of reverted back to this thing that I'd been interested in and I ran an advertisement for myself in a trade magazine and got a job out in Blacktown with a small bus company [now known as Busways]."

Transport is in Smith's genes. His ancestor Henry Kable, a convict who arrived with the First Fleet, set up Australia's first stage coach from George Street to a pub known as the Ramping Horse.

When Smith was 11, living in Chatswood on Sydney's north shore, he wrote a letter to the transport department asking them to redesign the bus network in Manly and Warringah.

"It was the most complicated part of the Sydney bus network and it interested me. I just didn't think they did it right.

"They sent me a letter saying: 'We know what we're doing, thank you very much.' But interestingly – and nothing to do with me – they did later restructure on very similar lines to what I suggested."

Today, Smith – who lives in London and doesn't have a car – is the chairman of Transit Systems, the largest private operator of public bus services in Australia, running services in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin.

The private company, which Smith co-founded with accountant Graham Leishman and property specialist Lance Francis (who previously ran their own bus services) in 1996 when they won Perth's first outsourced bus contract, also manages hundreds of red double-decker buses in London and almost 400 buses in Singapore.

Hooked on outsourcing
Earlier this year it won Australia's biggest-ever tendered bus contract following a controversial decision by the NSW government to outsource the running of 600 buses in Sydney's inner west from the start of July. Smith said he was hooked by the idea of outsourcing when he was doing a masters degree in transport management at Sydney University in the early 1990s.

"I did this series of lectures on outsourcing and when I got to the end of it, I thought, 'Actually I could do that.' And that was the intellectual germ on which the whole business has been built."

Transit Systems claims to be a more efficient operator, pointing out that in the first six weeks since it took over the inner west bus contract, the number of average daily cancelled bus trips dropped 85 per cent.

With Australian cities now obsessed with reintroducing the tram systems most abandoned decades ago, and Sydney and Melbourne building underground metros, buses may seem like an anachronism.

But Smith says buses can have a "symbiotic" relationship with trains, because people still need buses to get to the trains.

"I've got no problems with the future of buses. One of the things we tell our banks is that we are sort of a proxy for urbanisation and that is one of the mega-trends in the world today."

A changed role for buses
Buses are, however, "changing the role" they play, shifting away from fixed routes and timetables to more flexible on-demand services that can move people around neighbourhoods rather than just to and from city centres, Smith says.

Transit Systems spent millions of dollars last year to buy Bridj, an on-demand shuttle bus brand that emerged in Boston in 2014, because it believed the company's technology could provide a "potential solution" for decentralised cities, Smith says.

"It failed in Boston because it was trying to run a profitable service out of its fares and that doesn't work. But its technology is very good so it's a matter of finding the right place for it."

Transit Systems has teamed up with NSW's transport department to trial the 18-seat buses in Sydney's inner west and Sydney's eastern suburbs, where it is driving people between harbour ferry stops and Bondi Beach. It says the Bridj app has been downloaded 3805 times since the start of June.

People who book the Bridj service on an app are directed to a nearby location to get on board. Adults pay a $3.10 flat fare.

Rideshare companies cause more problems
But Smith does not believe technology alone can solve the problems of urban congestion, arguing that ride-sharing companies are "destructive" to urban public transport networks because they encourage people to jump in a car rather than taking a train or a bus.

"In a sense it's almost like watching the 1950s again because you're seeing more cars coming into cities and public transport carrying less people."

Smith claims Bridj is "a new form of transport" because unlike taxis or ride-sharing services, it can carry up to 18 people.

But he is wary of "the myth" that technology can easily transform loss-making urban transport businesses into a money-making businesses.

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft – which are still reporting annual losses – are not financially sustainable because they are supported by their shareholders, Smith says. "They haven't created a new economy, they've just shifted who's paying for it."

Smith believes Bridj will be more successful in Australia than the US because instead of competing with public transport, it is aiming to "complement" the public transport network or actually become part of it.

Transit Systems has not formed a consolidated group in Australia, and accounts for its state bus operations, which operate under different names, are filed separately.

The group says its Australian annual revenues in 2017-18 were $287.7 million, and its London and Singapore business, known as Tower Transit, in the 12 months to March 2018 were £181.8 million ($329.8 million).

The company, which spends hundreds of thousands throwing a "high class" annual party for its bus drivers each year, declined to disclose whether it makes an annual profit or loss but Tower Transit reported an £8.1 million net profit in 2016-17 compared with a £3.4 million loss a year earlier, according to reports filed with the UK's Companies House.

Smith says there will always be a role for traditional buses in cities on popular routes that operate seven days a week, but that demand-responsive services like Bridj can "fill in the gaps".

Get rid of timetables
But he believes cities should get rid of bus timetables, pointing out that it is hard for operators to have buses arrive at an exact time every day of the year, when on some days everyone is rushing to school or work, clogging up the roads, while on other days students and workers are on holiday.

"I'm an anti-timetable person," he says, arguing it is better to organise services so they arrive every 10 or 15 minutes.

"In London and Singapore that's what we tell the travelling public and the government regulates us on the gap, so we're not penalised if the 10 o'clock bus comes at 10.05, we're penalised if we promise a 12-minute gap between buses and it becomes 13 minutes."

The emergence of apps on mobile phone also makes people less likely to want to hang around and wait for buses to arrive, he says.

"As apps got more sophisticated and started to tell you that, instead of catching this bus, if you walk it will only take you three minutes longer, you will use 38 calories and can have another glass of wine tonight, people dropped the bus and walked."

Transit Systems recently abandoned an attempt to enter New Zealand (Smith says the company lost a tender because it could only win by slashing drivers' wages and it didn't want to do that) but expects to continue expanding in Australia.

"We're not in Melbourne, we're not in Canberra, we're not in Brisbane so there's a lot of opportunity here," Smith says, but adds the bus business is "hard to predict".

"I tend to have the view that most of the things that happen in business are unexpected for good and ill, so I'm a big one on being ready to do some things, not trying to draw up some detailed five-year plan as to how things are going to happen," he says.

"Because in my experience, those plans are always wrong."


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