An Australian Case Study of Mandatory Education for the Bus and Coach Industry

Journal of Public Transportation Article in Volume 3, Issue 3 (2000) by Samantha Y. Taylor, Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University, Kenneth J. Button, School of Public Policy, George Mason University        

Abstract

The changing regulatory environment in which public transportation is provided has generated a need for different forms of bus operations and management. This article discusses the introduction and development of a compulsory education program for bus and coach operators in Victoria, Australia. The Victorian government introduced a new system of operator (manager or owner in U.S. terminology) accreditation through the Public Transport Competition Regulations (1999). The accreditation process requires individual managers and owners to successfully complete the transport management course in bus and coach operations. The development and introduction of the course is a significant change for the industry and exists in a challenging sociopolitical environment. The course is designed to help people make the best use of new opportunities, such as open entry and competition promoted by the legislation. The majority of operators who have already completed the course found it extremely helpful, useful, and enjoyable. On the other hand, a “fear of the unknown” for some operators has resulted in resentment and aggression in a few cases. The article describes the challenges of working with operators as they move away from a protected environment toward accreditation.