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2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

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2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby runawaybus » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:21 pm

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gover ... udqcd.html
Twelve of the 13 contracts for Melbourne's bus network will be opened to competition for the first time in generations, in a bid to get more people using the city's lagging bus services.

Bus passenger numbers have been falling since 2014, despite rapid population growth across the city, particularly in the outer suburbs where buses are often the only available public transport.


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Melbourne's bus contracts are set to be overhauled.
Melbourne's bus contracts are set to be overhauled. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

In an effort to reverse the declining use of buses, which cost taxpayers $600 million a year, the Andrews government is preparing to kill off the old system of exclusive, heavily subsidised contracts that have existed since the mid-1970s.

It hopes overhauling the contracts will usher in a better and more popular bus network, with fewer near-empty buses operating on slow, zig-zagging routes across the suburbs.



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The old contracts are due to expire next year and, when they do, the government will break with the convention of rolling the contracts over to the 12 incumbent operators, many of whom have worked Melbourne's streets as family-run businesses for almost a century.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the current contracts made it difficult to change bus routes and timetables to better meet the needs of passengers.


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"There are some challenges in the current arrangements, particularly around the exclusivity that sits in the contracts that really restricts the ability to plan and deliver new bus services now and into the future," Ms Allan said.

Buses travel is the only mode of public transport in Melbourne that is becoming less popular, she said.

"We have to recognise the current arrangements are clearly not attracting people to use bus services."


Hoddle Street intersections are set for major upgrades.
Bus companies will lose their exclusive contracts with government. Photo: Angela Wylie

But the incumbents, including Ventura, Dysons, CDC and Kastoria, will have time to adapt to the new regime.

The contractual changes will be brought in over the next 10 years, and the 12 affected bus operators will be given a choice of entering into a shorter-term contract that maintains exclusivity for five years, or a 10-year agreement with tougher performance targets.

The bus industry has long opposed any change to the existing arrangement of exclusive contracts.

Chris Lowe, chief executive of industry group the Bus Association, said it accepted buses had to be more responsive to demand in the age of Uber, but did not support putting existing contracts out to competitive tender.

"The industry supports the government's position to negotiate over the renewal of contracts as opposed to putting them out to competitive tender," Mr Lowe said.

Transdev, which operates 30 per cent of Melbourne's bus routes, will not be affected because it already has a franchise agreement with the state that was awarded through a competitive tender in 2013.

Victoria's Auditor-General analysed the state's bus contracts in 2015 and found they offered "minimal incentives for improving services".

"Many of Melbourne's bus routes currently have long wait times, indirect routes, and do not operate on schedules designed to harmonise well with the rail network or other bus routes," the Auditor-General's report found.

"These issues are longstanding and reduce the usefulness of bus services for commuters and impede patronage growth."

The contracts' pending expiry in 2018 was a "critical" opportunity to improve things, it found.

My comments:

According to PTV Annual Reports over the past few years patronage on buses has increased

The Government probably wants to stop complacency with many smaller operators thinking they are going to continue to operate services post 2018 because they are doing a good job.

However, I bet all those operators have put up improved services for various routes only to be knocked back by PTV and the Victorian Government.

Compared to other cities Melbourne has quite a good bus service with lots of feeder buses which somehow Adelaide (whilst has some) still has buses travelling parallel to the train service. For example the Gawler Central Rail line is one such example.

Also Melbourne has an excellent Integrated ticketing system which uses the Myki Card but Sydney's Opal fares a still based on mode rather than having an integrated system.

The Smartbus system it excellent in Melbourne but there might be a need to consider operating smaller ones (ie. kms wise) and have cross suburban services say from Werribee to Melton that would be an interesting one and say from Watergardens to Williamstown.

These are just my ideas what do you think??
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2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Craig » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:47 pm

The Age wrote:Government's $600 million fix to lure commuters back to buses
Adam Carey
February 15 2017 - 5:52PM

Twelve of the 13 contracts for Melbourne's bus network will be opened to competition for the first time in generations, in a bid to get more people using the city's lagging bus services.

Bus passenger numbers have been falling since 2014, despite rapid population growth across the city, particularly in the outer suburbs where buses are often the only available public transport.

In an effort to reverse the declining use of buses, which cost taxpayers $600 million a year, the Andrews government is preparing to kill off the old system of exclusive, heavily subsidised contracts that have existed since the mid-1970s.

It hopes overhauling the contracts will usher in a better and more popular bus network, with fewer near-empty buses operating on slow, zig-zagging routes across the suburbs.

The old contracts are due to expire next year and, when they do, the government will break with the convention of rolling the contracts over to the 12 incumbent operators, many of whom have worked Melbourne's streets as family-run businesses for almost a century.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the current contracts made it difficult to change bus routes and timetables to better meet the needs of passengers.

"There are some challenges in the current arrangements, particularly around the exclusivity that sits in the contracts that really restricts the ability to plan and deliver new bus services now and into the future," Ms Allan said.

Buses travel is the only mode of public transport in Melbourne that is becoming less popular, she said.

"We have to recognise the current arrangements are clearly not attracting people to use bus services."

Bus companies will lose their exclusive contracts with government. Photo: Angela Wylie

But the incumbents, including Ventura, Dysons, CDC and Kastoria, will have time to adapt to the new regime.

The contractual changes will be brought in over the next 10 years, and the 12 affected bus operators will be given a choice of entering into a shorter-term contract that maintains exclusivity for five years, or a 10-year agreement with tougher performance targets.

The bus industry has long opposed any change to the existing arrangement of exclusive contracts.

Chris Lowe, chief executive of industry group the Bus Association, said it accepted buses had to be more responsive to demand in the age of Uber, but did not support putting existing contracts out to competitive tender.

"The industry supports the government's position to negotiate over the renewal of contracts as opposed to putting them out to competitive tender," Mr Lowe said.

Transdev, which operates 30 per cent of Melbourne's bus routes, will not be affected because it already has a franchise agreement with the state that was awarded through a competitive tender in 2013.

Victoria's Auditor-General analysed the state's bus contracts in 2015 and found they offered "minimal incentives for improving services".

"Many of Melbourne's bus routes currently have long wait times, indirect routes, and do not operate on schedules designed to harmonise well with the rail network or other bus routes," the Auditor-General's report found.

"These issues are longstanding and reduce the usefulness of bus services for commuters and impede patronage growth."

The contracts' pending expiry in 2018 was a "critical" opportunity to improve things, it found.


Previous report from 2015 regarding the auditor general's findings...

The Age wrote:Billion-dollar public bus contracts not value for money: auditor-general
Adam Carey
May 6 2015

It costs Victorians $1 billion a year to run Melbourne's public buses, yet there is no guarantee that bus operators give value for money and little incentive for them to work harder to provide punctual and reliable services, a scathing auditor-general's report has found.

The report found serious deficiencies in how the state manages its contracts with bus operators, which provide the only public transport within 400 metres of 70 per cent of Melbourne households.

These include an inability to reliably track buses against the timetable, a failure to tackle fare evasion and a decision by state authority Public Transport Victoria not to impose financial penalties when an operator did not meet its contractual obligations.

An attempt to improve bus service standards two years ago by putting many of Melbourne's bus routes out to competitive tender has not delivered value for money either, Victoria's Auditor-General John Doyle found in a report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

The contract with operator Transdev saved the state almost $33 million in 2013-14, yet this did not mean it had secured full value for money, Mr Doyle wrote.

Public Transport Victoria has failed to enforce performance measures imposed on Transdev, which won a $1.7 billion, 10-year contract to operate 30 per cent of Melbourne's bus network in 2013, the report found.

An opportunity to withhold almost $400,000 in contract payments to Transdev for its underperformance in key areas was passed up by PTV, which instead extended the company's deadline to meet its contractual obligations.

The report found this decision undermined government attempts to improve bus services through an incentive-based contract with Transdev. The contract milestones Transdev missed but was not penalised for included refurbishing older buses and installing automatic passenger counters.

Long-standing data reliability problems had also held back efforts to electronically track Transdev's buses against the timetable, in order to enforce the reliability and punctuality targets it must meet. The performance regime was meant to be in full effect by April but has been delayed, as has a timetable revamp proposed by Transdev, which was rejected by the Andrews government.

The report also found the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has been tardy in laying the groundwork for new contracts for operators who run the other 70 per cent of routes, meaning the state risks again failing to secure a deal that will improve services.

"The state risks having its options in 2018 severely curtailed due to a lack of time to substantively progress these reforms, meaning it may be forced to again renegotiate with incumbent operators," Mr Doyle wrote.

There are more than 300 public bus routes in Melbourne, run by 12 operators under 28 contracts. All of those contracts, with the exception of Transdev's, were renewed in 2008 with long-standing operators without going to competitive tender. This process was the subject of a previous, critical report by the auditor-general.

Public Transport Victoria and the department accepted all of the auditor-general's recommendations to improve tendering for bus contracts.

PTV executive Mark Wild wrote to Mr Doyle to "acknowledge that further improvements are achievable", but also defended aspects of the franchise agreement with Transdev.

The contract would achieve savings of $380 million over its 10-year life, Mr Wild wrote, while PTV "is now accurately tracking over 90 per cent of Transdev bus movements and is confident that Transdev's performance is being monitored effectively".


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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:29 am

I am fully expecting that responses on this forum to this news will fall into two broad categories: either the State Government is to be condemned for moving to destroy businesses built up over many years simply to implement competitive tendering for all metropolitan bus services, or the State Government is to be condemned for not having moved to competitive tendering for all metropolitan bus services earlier. (And woe betide anyone who dares to suggest that this move is actually the right thing to do.)

I'd be interested to see how this plays out in the north-western suburbs: while the rest of Melbourne is covered by large operators with expansive territories (albeit via numerous smaller contracts with subsidiary companies), the north-west still plays host to small independent operators such as Moonee Valley, Moreland, Ryan Bros and Tullamarine. Will the contracts be sized to cover those operators in their entirety, or will they be grouped together in an area-based consortium (similar to Sydney in the initial phase of their bus contract reforms), or will there be inducements to merge or sell out to create a suitably-sized operator for that area?
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby BroadGauge » Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:32 pm

Alex on the Bus wrote:I'd be interested to see how this plays out in the north-western suburbs: while the rest of Melbourne is covered by large operators with expansive territories (albeit via numerous smaller contracts with subsidiary companies), the north-west still plays host to small independent operators such as Moonee Valley, Moreland, Ryan Bros and Tullamarine.

How many operators are there that service the Moonee Valley area? I can think of...

Ryans Bus Service
Kastoria
SITA
Dysons
Moreland Bus Lines
Moonee Valley Coaches
Sunbury Bus Service
Tullamarine Bus Lines
CDC Melbourne
Transdev

It would be a shame for any of the smaller operators to lose their contracts because the standard of drivers and vehicles is often noticably better than what is common elsewhere.

The way that the bus network is structured in the area though, it doesn't seem as if there would be a huge amount to gain by streamlining the contracts as each companies routes seem to go different places and not hinder the others.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:36 pm

The North West of Melbourne has indeed,as Broadguage says, the best operators in Melbourne.I'd single out Ryans,Sunbury and Tullamarine,for quality of service,vehicles and driving staff.Also the Craigieburn network of Kastoria/Broadmeadows which is superb..There is ,however,in my opinion, much scope to rejig,alter,change services in that area to fit modern travel patterns
From reading the announcement it appears the government will tender the operations singly of the 12 operators that operate.That would mean grouping the entire Ventura network of 9 subsidiary companies as one,or the Dineen owned network of Martyrs,McKenzies and Panorama as one.That to me is foolish,as those operations are geographically and operationally diverse and are so large only a large scale operator,or the incumbent would win the tender.As the Sydney tendering experience has shown ,with two exceptions,shuffling contracts and services between large scale operators has not improved services,quality or most importantly patronage.
The services need to be grouped together in complementary geographical areas,with frequent corridor services running through them linking major activity areas and train lines.The areas should not be massive geographically ,but of a size where an efficient network can be constructed.Also there need to be more innovation in terms of services operated like area buses at off peak times,on demand routes,more small buses used.Not just old hat full size buses banging up and down routes which haven't changed in decades.And mainly carrying fresh air.
And to answer Alex's question I do support the exercise on the proviso that it be done well.The bus network in Melbourne really does need fundamental change and innovation to reach the potential of a growth city.Sadly the old network in Melbourne has stagnated and declined,with the few new services showing growth.I'd single out 301,401,601 parts of the Smartbus network ,the Wyndham and Cragieburn networks as success stories.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:27 pm

At the risk of dredging up a previous idea of mine, what may work best would be to carve up the network into groups of no more than ten routes and offering contracts for those. Such a size would allow coverage of a sufficiently large area whilst being small enough to allow smaller players to continue if they so desire, although it may require some of those smaller operators to take an area outside their traditional territory and the concession of territory by larger operators.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:14 pm

That idea has much merit Alex.I think smaller networks of 3-10 routes would be ideal.For example,the Sunbury town network on its own,or the Ryans network of 3 routes,both of which of which are very well operated and efficient,and probably shouldn't be changed a lot.My suspicion is that the existing smaller operators will stay.
Or lets,say the Endeavour Hills network of 5 routes.This really needs to change to give other usable frequent travel options other than Dandy.
One of the major issues is the networks ,by and large have not been changed for decades.They wander round too much and do not connect well to the trunk train and bus services.So many areas really need their route structures torn up and redesigned.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby tonyw » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:40 am

I lived in Endeavour Hills in the 90s when it was still developing and was basically a satellite of Dandenong.

More than 20 years later it is beyond belief that these routes don't go from Dandenong to (say) Fountain Gate, Belgrave, Cranbourne via Endeavour Hills.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:13 pm

An example of what I proposed can be demonstrated here:
g52154.png
Moreland Transport Network - concept
g52154.png (296.8 KiB) Viewed 6627 times

Note: The network depicted is another project I'm working on - maybe it will pop up in the Armchair Operator thread down the track. For the current exercise, though, please focus on the groups of routes as indicated by the different coloured ways.

Here I have assembled groups of between six and ten routes. Apart from the somewhat unfamiliar structure you will notice that some of the groupings take in routes from multiple operators (which is also why I used Moreland as an example - I could have used a map of Knox but everything would have been operated by Ventura). The idea of initially assigning operators to these groups would be thus:
* Each current operator would be offered at least one group of routes, based on where they are most dominant (by current operators we would mean the controlling owners - Ventura, CDC, Sita, NTH, etc. - rather than individual companies),
* If two operators are only present in an area covered by one group an accommodation would be made in a neighbouring group, ideally one with a diverse set of incumbent operators,
* Subsequent groups would be assigned based on which incumbent operator was most dominant in that area.
There are some further rules that could be added in, such as capping the loss of services or route kilometres at a certain amount to prevent elimination by diffusion, or excluding services currently operated under the Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise from those savings provisions.

In the case shown above, the routes coloured brown across southern Moreland currently cover services from four different operators, two of which (Moonee Valley and Moreland) current operate exclusively within that territory (the others being Dyson's and Ventura). Under the first rule either Moonee Valley or Moreland would be offered that group (as Dyson's and Ventura are dominant elsewhere), whilst under the second rule the operator that wasn't offered their home group would instead be offered another group - in this case most likely the routes coloured aqua in the inner north (currently operated by Sita, Dyson's and the current MMBF holder Transdev). In fact I would be offering the former to Moreland and the latter to Moonee Valley. Meanwhile, over the other side of CityLink the group of routes coloured purple would be offered to Ryan Bros as it covers the entirety of their services, Tullamarine holds the group in yellow around Gladstone Park, while NTH would get the marine-coloured routes in northern Moreland and eastern Hume (as well as services around Craigieburn and out past Sydenham).
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:57 pm

Interesting concept Alex.Something I hadn't thought about.So the plan would be to enlarge the smaller operators contract areas to include a greater geographical area to enable ,presumably ,the rejigging of the route network in that area.And then give it to the existing smaller players.
What would you do ,lets say in the eastern suburbs,where Ventura is absolutely dominant??.Would you divvy up their terrritory into smaller areas and then tender the areas out ,or give it all to Ventura??
I have a sneaking suspicion the government wants some new players in the market,much like the Sydney tendering introduced Transit Systems and the recent Newcastle tender introduced Keolis Downer.
Could you also provide a link to see your route ideas in detail on the Moreland area ??
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:18 am

The idea is to have a contract regime that sits somewhere between the large contract areas used in places like Sydney and the individual route contracts used in London. It would also mean more sustainable small operators by having a critical mass of work in an individual group of routes - think of it as an evolution of the "go or grow" policy of the 1980s, except in a more regulated manner and with more emphasis on growing than going.

In the case of Ventura the immediate effect would be the offer of multiple tranches in the initial case - the assigning of groups to operators in the first contract period would then be followed by a open tendering for subsequent contract periods (which is what is being proposed by Spring Street). The same would occur with CDC on the western side of town and, to a lesser extent, with Dyson's in the north. No doubt there would be a desire to bring in new operators down the track by way of knocking out those major operators for some of their tranches: that would come down to the rules surrounding the awarding of tenders (whether it is solely based on price or if the quality of proposals and/or candidates is an influence) and the policies of the government of the day. By having contracts of the size I suggested it would allow new players to enter the system rather easily and, more importantly, make it accessible to smaller operators rather than just the major national and multinational concerns that would initially come to mind. Those smaller operators may be charter firms seeking to diversify their operations, regional operators looking to try their hand at metropolitan work, or even community or non-profit concerns. (A good example of this from overseas is CT Plus, formerly Hackney Community Transport, who hold a number of London bus contracts.)

As for the network I displayed before, I'm still working on the rest of it - I have completed 4 areas so far, and I'd like to get most of them done first before I publish them. (Also I'd need to organise hosting, as I'd like to put up PDFs rather than thumbnail images.)
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:52 pm

Thanks for the info and criteria you've based your ideas on,Alex.I really like those ideas as the critical mass of work in a geographical area definately gives the opportunity to rejig the services in a way that will suit modern travel patterns,whilst still keeping those quality smaller operators in business.You really wouldn't want to lose those smaller northern suburbs operators from the system.It also gives the opportunity for new smaller operators the chance to get a contract area to build better services up.
I would hope the long term goal by the Victorian government is not based on lowest price,like the Sydney tendering experience or Transdev in Melbourne.That has shown up very quickly in a lack of quality.
I also like the London system of tendering individual routes,but that wouldn't work in Melbourne ,because you really need to rework the services,and the vast majority of routes only uses small numbers of buses.The London system has consistently been operated by between 20 and 30 different operators of different sizes.CT Plus ,I understand also have a couple of school bus networks in England,plus services on Jersey ,I think.
I remember in 1988 when the then Cain government led by transport minister,Jim Kennan, wanted to tender out the private route services.From memory Melbourne was broken up into ,I think,just under 50 individual tranches.But back then there were over 30 operators on route service.Now only 13.
How many areas would you reckon in Melbourne ??
My idea would be around the 30-35 mark.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:58 pm

tonyw wrote:I lived in Endeavour Hills in the 90s when it was still developing and was basically a satellite of Dandenong.

More than 20 years later it is beyond belief that these routes don't go from Dandenong to (say) Fountain Gate, Belgrave, Cranbourne via Endeavour Hills.

I agree totally Tony.That suburb is built out totally now,but still the only usable services are to Dandy.The patronage in Endeavour Hills is a bit up on the Melbourne average,but still doesn't serve the public in the range of destinations.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:45 am

burrumbus wrote:I remember in 1988 when the then Cain government led by transport minister,Jim Kennan, wanted to tender out the private route services.From memory Melbourne was broken up into ,I think,just under 50 individual tranches.But back then there were over 30 operators on route service.Now only 13.
How many areas would you reckon in Melbourne ??


At this point I'm not too sure - I'm currently rejigging a proposal I devised over ten years ago to reflect changes both to the existing network and changes in my own approach (at that time I was favouring contracts for individual routes, albeit with start dates staggered across the decade in a similar fashion to London). I wouldn't be surprised if the number of groups ends up closer to 50, although that cover areas where development is planned but not yet commenced as well as areas that were not developed 30 years ago. Also, my definition of "Metropolitan" will probably be far wider than back then: 60 km from Melbourne (myki zones 1 and 2, in other words) plus the Mornington Peninsula (back then it was more like 45 km with a few exceptions).

(Note to Admin: I know this conversation is probably heading into the realm of Armchair Operator - apologies for that, I'm sure it is still relevant to the topic.)
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Fleet Lists » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:44 pm

As an admin I have no objections to this discussion where it discusses options to a specific contract proposal as opposed to someone's off the cuff ideas which belong in the armchair section.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:07 pm

burrumbus wrote:Thanks for the info and criteria you've based your ideas on,Alex.I really like those ideas as the critical mass of work in a geographical area definately gives the opportunity to rejig the services in a way that will suit modern travel patterns,whilst still keeping those quality smaller operators in business.You really wouldn't want to lose those smaller northern suburbs operators from the system.It also gives the opportunity for new smaller operators the chance to get a contract area to build better services up.
I would hope the long term goal by the Victorian government is not based on lowest price,like the Sydney tendering experience or Transdev in Melbourne.That has shown up very quickly in a lack of quality.
I also like the London system of tendering individual routes,but that wouldn't work in Melbourne ,because you really need to rework the services,and the vast majority of routes only uses small numbers of buses.The London system has consistently been operated by between 20 and 30 different operators of different sizes.CT Plus ,I understand also have a couple of school bus networks in England,plus services on Jersey ,I think.
I remember in 1988 when the then Cain government led by transport minister,Jim Kennan, wanted to tender out the private route services.From memory Melbourne was broken up into ,I think,just under 50 individual tranches.But back then there were over 30 operators on route service.Now only 13.
How many areas would you reckon in Melbourne ??
My idea would be around the 30-35 mark.
Thanks Alex.

CT Plus does operate the route network on the island of Jersey under the trading name of Liberty Bus,from 2012.Won on tender from the Jersey government,I believe.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:39 pm

Alex on the Bus wrote:
burrumbus wrote:I remember in 1988 when the then Cain government led by transport minister,Jim Kennan, wanted to tender out the private route services.From memory Melbourne was broken up into ,I think,just under 50 individual tranches.But back then there were over 30 operators on route service.Now only 13.
How many areas would you reckon in Melbourne ??


At this point I'm not too sure - I'm currently rejigging a proposal I devised over ten years ago to reflect changes both to the existing network and changes in my own approach (at that time I was favouring contracts for individual routes, albeit with start dates staggered across the decade in a similar fashion to London). I wouldn't be surprised if the number of groups ends up closer to 50, although that cover areas where development is planned but not yet commenced as well as areas that were not developed 30 years ago. Also, my definition of "Metropolitan" will probably be far wider than back then: 60 km from Melbourne (myki zones 1 and 2, in other words) plus the Mornington Peninsula (back then it was more like 45 km with a few exceptions).

(Note to Admin: I know this conversation is probably heading into the realm of Armchair Operator - apologies for that, I'm sure it is still relevant to the topic.)

Thanks Alex.Melbourne has grown considerably since 1988.50 areas may be close to the mark,as you say.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Heihachi_73 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:43 pm

Why hasn't the government caught on yet and ordered a shake up of the bus services themselves? Some of them need to be canned completely and replaced with something that doesn't look like someone dropped spaghetti on a Melway map. Others need to be upgraded so they actually follow the minimum services standards put in place over a decade ago. What's the point of having "minimum standards" (such as buses supposedly starting at 6AM and finishing at 9PM, which simply doesn't happen on a good percentage of so-called services) if they are not enforced? I honestly don't care whether the bus has that 'new car smell' or whether it's a clapped out SL200, if they are running frequently it's better than one shiny new bus every hour. "Waiting for a bus" should have been a relic from the 20th century, not left unchanged for decades on end. People were complaining about the same poor quality public transport in the 1900s through 1930s (or even up to the late 1950s when the last Argus was printed) which you can read online in the NLA archives, it really is a joke that a hundred years later we are still being shafted with the exact same problems!
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:35 pm

Heihachi_73 wrote:Why hasn't the government caught on yet and ordered a shake up of the bus services themselves? Some of them need to be canned completely and replaced with something that doesn't look like someone dropped spaghetti on a Melway map. Others need to be upgraded so they actually follow the minimum services standards put in place over a decade ago. What's the point of having "minimum standards" (such as buses supposedly starting at 6AM and finishing at 9PM, which simply doesn't happen on a good percentage of so-called services) if they are not enforced? I honestly don't care whether the bus has that 'new car smell' or whether it's a clapped out SL200, if they are running frequently it's better than one shiny new bus every hour. "Waiting for a bus" should have been a relic from the 20th century, not left unchanged for decades on end. People were complaining about the same poor quality public transport in the 1900s through 1930s (or even up to the late 1950s when the last Argus was printed) which you can read online in the NLA archives, it really is a joke that a hundred years later we are still being shafted with the exact same problems!


Who wants to acquaint our esteemed fellow member with Waverley Transit vs. Metropolitan Transit Authority? Restructuring the network is one thing - bringing it into place without having every operator potentially suing the state's hind legs off is another.

To be honest the time to have done it was back in the 1970s when operators received subsidies: the trade-off for receiving state support for their services should have been to hand over control to the state (either via the MMTB or directly through the Ministry of Transport) and contract the operators to run the services, instead of the state effectively chartering operators for their services on their routes. However, the opportunity was lost and we've had to deal with the consequences of that ever since.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby burrumbus » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:50 pm

Correct Alex.Thats why a serious restructure of the Melbourne bus system needs to be done in a very considered way.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Heihachi_73 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:44 am

"Go or Grow" Part 2 won't solve the bus problems, it will just mean that a larger company such as Ventura or Transdev or Veolia (lolwut?!) or anyone else who steps up to the plate will make massive profits while the other smaller companies simply vanish. A new logo on a bus will not fix core problems by itself.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Alex on the Bus » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:20 am

Which is why something that encourages those smaller operators to remain - and grow - should be implemented, even if it means knocking a few points off the larger players. Heck, if you want you could dump Transdev at the earliest opportunity and carve up the MMBF to accommodate the smaller players.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby krustyklo » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:50 pm

To be fair to the current operators, they aren't as entrenched and intransigent as is often made out. I suspect that if done properly with suitable compensation, then the operators will make the desired changes. Recent examples are replacing the 520 with the current Plenty Valley network. Dysons got the work, so were probably more than happy to grow the route network and run more frequent services and receive extra payments, at the loss of their established route. I gather new routes are handled differently more in line with what is proposed with the government "owning" the route instead of the operator and it would be a likely outcome that even where an established route is replaced as in this case that the government would own the new routes rather than Dysons.

Again, when the Smartbus network was introduced, a number of routes were replaced or altered. Using the 902 as an example, the 888/9 and the 560 became subsumed by the route, and the 281 was truncated at the northern end and extended in lieu at the southern end. As National Bus didn't lose out, I doubt there was much if any compensation needed (and a poorly performing end of the route replaced by one with much more potential). I would speculate the compensation was the time period where the existing operators operated the much increased services in return for the later possibility of retendering the service, ie, short term gain, and potential longer term but riskier gain (in the sense they may not get the contract, which they didn't). Alternatively, it may have been likely that some compensation was included in the original deal to reduce the loss if another operator ended up with the Smartbus route that replaced their original routes that they owned (as per the Waverley Transit case mentioned earlier from the 80s).

And comment on here was that Hope St was left high and dry when the 509 was culled. Presumably the government purely pulled their subsidy and as Hope St owned the route they were presumably welcome to keep operating it at their own expense, which they presumably declined to do. Whether one feels that was fair or reasonable, it didn't stop the PTV making a change to a route owned by the operator. Given the speedy reintroduction of the route with an extension and operated by a larger operator, one wonders whether there was something more to the story. Presumably however, it is now a route owned by the government.

And of course there is nothing stopping the government deleting routes in the Transdev franchise agreement, as it has done with the 286, and for a short time the 318, as well as the changes made in July 2014.

Even then this is not a new phenomena - I am sure many here would recall the wholesale changes made in the Moorabbin area in the late 80s / early 90s with the smaller operators bought out and the smaller short routes merged into the 82x series routes (and a couple of others) that make up the existing network, the various changes in the north during the 90s / 2000s with the 56x series routes, and so on.

It only seems to be when the government wants to play hardball games around contract renegotiation time that they seem to throw mud at operators. With teacher EBA agreements being negotiated I'm expecting to see more "teachers work 9 to 3.30 and get 12 weeks holiday a year" articles, much like there were similar articles about nurses supposedly promoting restrictive inefficient practices in hospitals when their EBA was being renegotiated (at least until it blew up in the government of the time's face), ditto firies, paramedics, etc. It's all just part of the game.

As for small operators, I suspect that good service, clean buses, etc may well be an outcome of being small, but it does seem to be a romanticised view, helped along by the fact a particular larger operator seems to be less than effective in their operations. Most of the larger operators in Melbourne seem to be almost as well regarded, if not equally so, as the smaller operators. Dysons buses are clean and drivers polite and welcoming (as noted on here without seeming to draw disagreement) - an achievement given the areas they operate in. Ditto, friends who live in Ventura land seem to comment on the cleanliness of buses and friendliness of drivers. From an opposite point of view, I used to be a semi regular victim of the small Bell St Bus Company as it was, whose buses certainly couldn't be accused of being clean until near the end, whose nickname was the "Smell St Bus Company" from the unique pungent odor of their buses, and whose drivers were locally reknowned for being less than customer focussed including being known for being rude to customers, and even somewhat known for ignoring passengers at stops and driving past. Whilst I only had it happen once or twice (the drive past), I heard enough stories from others to suspect there was some truth in that reputation!

This is not to disparage smaller operators - the few rare occasions I've used their buses I have had no issue with presentation or customer focus. But I don't know that the subtext of this thread of "big company bad, small company good" as a default position is fair either.
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby Paul_Nicholson » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:53 am

One thing I've noticed riding the routes is the widespread damage to bus stop signage that often takes a long time to rectify. Graffiti is the main offender but there is also general wear and tear (mostly fading) and of course inevitable accident damage.

Who will look after things like bus stop signage under the new regime? I always understood the operators were expected/required to report things like bus stop damage (based on drivers' observations/reports) but I gather this rarely happens.

Plus the innovative developments that are reportedly constrained by the present system? What sort of innovations would one expect to be introduced in the new regime?

The 2013 contracts have demonstrated that Melbourne people are inherently dirty creatures. Just look at the buses concerned and the areas they pass through. Will new or revised operations be able to keep vehicles clean?

And exactly how will operators get people out of their cars and on to suburban buses?

Melbourne may be headed for having the world's best suburban bus system/network but exactly what it will mean out on the road remains somewhat unclear?
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Re: 2018 Melbourne Bus Contracts

Postby krustyklo » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:57 pm

The 2013 contracts have demonstrated that Melbourne people are inherently dirty creatures. Just look at the buses concerned and the areas they pass through. Will new or revised operations be able to keep vehicles clean?

Why worry about facts when hyperbole is so much more interesting? :D

Interestingly the operator of the 2013 contracts operates services that pass through areas that might be considered the exclusive domain of other operators.
Using the 902 as an example, the stereotype of Western suburbs residents might suggest they are responsible for much of the damage. Yet, Tullamarine who operates in the Airport West / Broadmeadows area was held up in this very thread as an operator whose buses are in good condition, a view my anecdotal evidence from the few times I have ridden their services would see no reason to contradict. OK, moving through the northern suburbs through Dysons territory. Whilst not perfect, their buses again are usually in pretty good condition, certainly when compared to the ones running the 902. Moving through the Transdev core area, we then come to Ventura territory for the rest of the journey. Whilst people in the south east have a simialr reputation to those in the west, yet Ventura again seem more than able to keep their buses in a fit condition. Not perfect, but pretty good.

I think all the 2013 contracts showed in relation to bus presentation is that a bid made at near cost price or less to get into the Melbourne franchise market and likely take advantage of government contract / scope variations to make the actual profit is going to need more initial financial support than was probably provided in this example if there are to be any semblance of high standards...

A report into Victorian Government ICT projects drew these sorts of conclusions regarding ICT projects: https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/getattachment/d5e69dd1-400d-42cd-a570-9c6b21c4bb1e

There is nothing special about ICT that similar conditions in other departments with lack of expertise in their procurement role and project management won't also exist, with similar outcomes.
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