I attended the Queensland Bus Industry Council’s annual event in Toowoomba on 31 March and 1 April 2017. The first day featured a networking event in the evening, followed by a School Summit, the Annual General Meeting and Awards night and gala dinner the next day. If you weren’t able to attend this event, here is a quick roundup of what happened.
Translink’s new web-based portal for school bus pickup
Translink introduced its new web-based portal for registering students for school bus pickup; the smart form allows parents to register their children from Prep through to Year 12. (Parents still have the option to use paper-based forms if they prefer.) The smart form helps to manage some complexity in the distance rules.
Many of the larger bus operators were comfortable with this web-based approach while regional operators from closer-knit communities were interested in knowing whether they could fill out the forms on the behalf of the students or parents. While this approach would be valuable, it raises some privacy and legal issues that need further examination. The debate was lively and constructive, and I applaud Translink for engaging the industry with an open willingness to ensure the outcomes were inclusive.
- Working together to increase efficiency – I noticed an increased willingness amongst operators to collaborate in various areas, including the use of technology and expert services like schedulers. For smaller operators, it does make sense to pool resources so they can access solutions that might be out of budget for an individual company.
- The industry is struggling with rising complexity – There is more consciousness around complying with ISO and equivalent standards, plus increasing complexity around school distance regulations. While some new hurdles were acknowledged as necessary for the industry’s continued development, others seemed purposeless to the operators.
- Bus companies and the community – As school transport was the predominant topic of the event, there was a natural segue into the role bus operators play in the community. People want an operator that they can trust with their children’s safety, especially in the country.
This event with QBIC was a great opportunity to get to know local bus operators and better understand state-specific issues that are dominating the Queensland transport scene. We had some excellent feedback around Trapeze’s support and professional services staff, as well as interest in our new Business Intelligence tool for bus operators.
It seems clear that the industry is feeling the effects of operating in an increasingly complex environment, where more ‘behind the scenes’ work needs to be completed while keeping service quality high for commuters. If you are facing issues around scalability or burdensome administrative tasks, you may be interested in simplifying your processes using an Enterprise Resource Planning system.