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STA Observations - January to June 2018

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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Swift » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:31 pm

Will make for a quick way to identify a TSA vehicle.
Maybe they should flip around the ST part. :idea:
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Fleet Lists » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:38 pm

The way I read it, they will do the lot whether STA or TSA or Newcastle Transport.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Swift » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:45 pm

Oh dear, that sounds ominous. :!:
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Frosty » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:46 pm

I guess the idea of these new plates came from TfNSW. Though there would be a significant cost to this exercise surely. Would it be possible to have a uniform bus number plate system for all bus contract operators in NSW
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby burrumbus » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:53 pm

Frosty,that would be the m/o system.It worked well for decades !!!
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Swift » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:01 pm

Trust the Rodent Traffic Authority to muck that up (I said muck)for good. :roll:
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Frosty » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:04 pm

Why did State Transit then a few years back went down the ST plate route ?
Though in Queensland and their public transport buses it’s just the standard random 6 characters.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby burrumbus » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:15 pm

i suspect State Transit requested those plates.I know some of the STA's plate series were being issued by the then RTA to private operators,which was stuffing up the STA's plate system.The RTA certaintly stuffed up a good system.At one stage country and metro m/o's ,TV plates and general issue plates were being issued all over the shop.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby boronia » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:59 pm

Caught a 370 Leich to Coogee service this evening. Got on at Harold park about 21.00, only 1 pax already on board. Picked up 2 or 3 more along Glebe Pt Rd. Stopped on City Rd opposite UoS and left with full seated load. Next pick up at Newtown station, another 8 or so. Dropped off a couple around St Peters. At Green Square station picked up another 6 or so, then more along Epsom Rd. I got off at Kensington, and still a lot of standees.

Most of the pax were student types, maybe living around UNSW?
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Swift » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:17 pm

The 370. The poster child for a dysfunctional service. Probably not helped by being the only service attempting the task of directly linking the east with the inner west, using a convoluted series of streets.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby J_Busworth » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:19 am

It is common for the 370 to be empty until USYD, then be completely full all the way to Coogee. Newtown and Green Square often have large amounts of people waiting to get the 370, often people get left behind. You could even just run it from USYD to Coogee and it would stay just as popular as int is now.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:21 am

burrumbus wrote:i suspect State Transit requested those plates.I know some of the STA's plate series were being issued by the then RTA to private operators,which was stuffing up the STA's plate system.The RTA certainly stuffed up a good system.At one stage country and metro m/o's ,TV plates and general issue plates were being issued all over the shop.

The system had worked well during the time when RTA and Transport were the one department but once they were split the RTA soon seemed to have lost any understanding as to why these plates were issued and as a result they were issued all over the place.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:07 am

OKO wrote:We are not allowed to substitute a bendy for a rigid. Nor are we allowed to add more trips. For either of these things to be done requires pre approval, in writing, from TfNSW.To change a rigid to a bendy requires months of passenger loading data. If State Transit makes the decision on the day to add trips to cover such a situation, we will not be paid for it.

This is a sensational revelation, if true, and lunchbox is quite in order to take it further politically (and to the press). I know that micromanagement is a bit of a general illness in NSW transport administration, but does it extend so far down into the details of operation? I detect the heavy hand of NSW Treasury at work here. Otherwise surely no management could be so incompetent?
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby OKO » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:56 am

tonyp wrote:
OKO wrote:We are not allowed to substitute a bendy for a rigid. Nor are we allowed to add more trips. For either of these things to be done requires pre approval, in writing, from TfNSW.To change a rigid to a bendy requires months of passenger loading data. If State Transit makes the decision on the day to add trips to cover such a situation, we will not be paid for it.

This is a sensational revelation, if true, and lunchbox is quite in order to take it further politically (and to the press). I know that micromanagement is a bit of a general illness in NSW transport administration, but does it extend so far down into the details of operation? I detect the heavy hand of NSW Treasury at work here. Otherwise surely no management could be so incompetent?

To be honest, I see it as neither a revelation, sensational or not, nor even micro management. It is a simple face that TfNSW control the whole kit and caboodle. Right down to even building the schedules on some occasions. Bus types, frequency, running times, just about every facet that you can raise is in their control. State Transit is just another Operator, doing to the best of their ability to comply with the MBSC, KPIs, and directives.

To put it more simply, State Transit is paid an amount of x cents to operate y trips in z type of buses. TfNSW pay for these trips as they are authorised. If "non authorised" trips are operated, this is an expense that it outside the budget agreed between TfNSW and State Transit. This actually may be considered a good thing in terms of managing tax payers money. Or, if looked at from a differing perspective, it may not be such a good thing. I can not elaborate on this as to do so would possibly result in me breaching both TfNSW Code of Conduct and State Transit's Social Media Policy.
Last edited by OKO on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby boronia » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:03 pm

I assume that 'we are not allowed to" actually means "if we do, we won't get paid any extra for doing so"??

Other runs often get "upgraded" at short notice due to operational circumstances, so I assume this is "allowed" but the operator has to bear the costs?
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:10 pm

I believe, but am not sure, that under some circumstances extra services will be paid for. Just that is covered I do not know.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby OKO » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:43 pm

boronia wrote:I assume that 'we are not allowed to" actually means "if we do, we won't get paid any extra for doing so"??

Other runs often get "upgraded" at short notice due to operational circumstances, so I assume this is "allowed" but the operator has to bear the costs?

Not allowed to means that we are extremely unlikely to be paid for them.

Yes, services do change from time to time for operational reasons, and yes the cost is most likely to be borne by the Operator.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:48 pm

OKO wrote:To be honest, I see it as neither a revelation, sensational or not, nor even micro management. It is a simple face that TfNSW control the whole kit and caboodle. Right down to even building the schedules on some occasions. Bus types, frequency, running times, just about every facet that you can raise is in their control. State Transit is just another Operator, doing to the best of their ability to comply with the MBSC, KPIs, and directives.

To put it more simply, State Transit is paid an amount of x cents to operate y trips in z type of buses. TfNSW pay for these trips as they are authorised. If "non authorised" trips are operated, this is an expense that it outside the budget agreed between TfNSW and State Transit. This actually may be considered a good thing in terms of managing tax payers money. Or, if looked at from a differing perspective, it may not be such a good thing. I can not elaborate on this as to do so would possibly result in me breaching both TfNSW Code of Conduct and State Transit's Social Media Policy.

I would call controlling the whole kit and caboodle micromanagement. Not being willing to pay for any attempt at operational flexibility to meet unexpected (revenue-producing) demand is a pretty strong incentive not to take such initiatives. No wonder everything is going downhill in NSW. It also means that public transport is competing with private car use with one arm tied behind its back. I wonder if RMS traffic management operates under such restrictions?
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby OKO » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:49 pm

Fleet Lists wrote:I believe, but am not sure, that under some circumstances extra services will be paid for. Just that is covered I do not know.


As I said originally, with pre approval extra services may be supplied. For instance, Vivid, has extra trips to cope with the increased Passenger numbers. These are requested by TfNSW and therefore authourised. If the crowd for a known event exceeds expectation, there is sometimes a request from on high for bus operators to help on VOT within the confines of both the AFM and Award. This is a case where the authorisation comes from TfNSW through the NCC and is therefore funded.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:06 pm

tonyp wrote:. No wonder everything is going downhill in NSW.

But do we know how this is handled in other states?
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:20 pm

Fleet Lists wrote:But do we know how this is handled in other states?

It would be interesting to know.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby In Transit » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:12 pm

I'm not sure why the great surprise, and I'm even more mystified about the outrage. Government is the customer and specifies what they buying. The operator supplies what government wants, and isn't motivated to go above and beyond this (bearing in mind that government incentivises operators with a range of contractual levers, including KPIs, not just the timetable and operating payments).

To take the allocation of bus types - TfNSW pay operators for the kilometres and bus hours operated, with different rates for different bus types. This "depot to depot" approach (with some variations) effectively shifts much (but not all) of the scheduling cost risk in timetable changes from the operator to TfNSW, but also enables TfNSW to specify the trips to be operated by various bus types - but with the consequence that allocation of an artic to a particular trip, for example, requires TfNSW approval for the operator to be paid appropriately.

This contrasts with the Perth approach for example, where operators are not paid for depot to depot km and hours, but on the basis of revenue km (and to some degree revenue trip hours), with full scheduling risk borne by the operator. Similarly in Perth (at least when I worked there) there are no separate rates for articulated buses, so the operating cost of increasing artic km is borne by the operator (this is in keeping with the philosophy of the operator taking full scheduling risk - ie, it may occasionally be more efficient in labour cost to allocate a full shift of work to an artic, even if only one trip on the shift requires it.

One side effect in Perth is that operators may choose - for scheduling efficiency - to not allocate their artics in the most logical fashion. This can, and does, happen resulting in some routes being crowded whilst an artic trundles around on a lightly loaded feeder somewhere. This can be exacerbated by technical approaches to scheduling.

One extreme (for an operator) effect in Perth is that whilst Sundays may see drivers paid at double time, there is no difference in the rate paid by the PTA to the operator. So if Sunday services are expanded at a greater rate than weekday services, the operator's costs increase disproportionately to the rise in income. Likewise, if the PTA insists on a new timetable with inefficient turnarounds and/or increased dead running, the operator has to swallow the increase in their running costs.

There are naturally pluses and minuses to both contractual models, both in their ongoing application and in the effect on bus operator's when bidding initially for a contract.

You can see hybrids between these two approaches in other jurisdictions. In most cases, however, there is little overall planning flexibility for operators - whilst in some cases (such as Perth) vehicle allocation is flexible, additional trips are firmly under the control of the government authority. Other factors, such as KPI regimes which measure things like overcrowding (relatively unusual for bus contracts unfortunately), customer satisfaction scores, on time performance etc - these can all help an operator decide what to do, or prevent certain courses of action, but often within quite rigid straitjackets.

This is hardly surprising - regardless of rhetoric, much contracting of bus services is for a thoroughly commoditised service by the operator (I'd suggest Perth is an extreme case of this where operators are really just bus maintainers and labour hire suppliers of bus drivers) where price rules supreme. Naturally therefore, operators tend to prefer minimal risk given their low margins, and whilst there may be some patronage incentives, farebox revenue is so significantly impacted by forces well outside the operator's control that it isn't reasonable or prudent to expose the operator to the uncertainties of the farebox. From a government perspective, gaining additional revenue at additional cost is very rarely a profitable outcome - so whilst someone mentioned the benefits of growing revenue, that is often at the consequence of a greater increase in costs.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby tonyp » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:36 pm

.... An unfortunate outcome presumably being that when there is a sudden surge in demand for some reason, an artic cannot be quickly substituted at the drop of a hat? The customer left cooling their heels on the footpath becomes the victim of that.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby Fleet Lists » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:51 pm

Can we suggest something constructive as how this should be solved, instead of just being negative all the time.
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Re: STA Observations - January to June 2018

Postby OKO » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:57 pm

Fleet Lists wrote:Can we suggest something constructive as how this should be solved, instead of just being negative all the time.


This is Government policy around most States and probably even overseas. From their point of view, it controls costs and central control allows them to have things done the way they want.

I do not believe they see any problems with the current arrangements.
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