Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT REFERENCES COMMITTEE
20/07/2009
Investment of Commonwealth and state funds in public passenger transport

CHAIR —Welcome, gentlemen. I note that you have supplied the committee with a submission, which we will table. Do you wish to make an opening statement before the committee asks questions?

Mr Smith —Just briefly. Davis Bus Lines operate the urban service bus network in Ballarat. They have been operating buses in Ballarat since 1929 when the Davis family starting operating a bus service between Ballarat and Buninyong, replacing the old train service. The company grew for many years. In 1971 they took over the tram services and started operating on the tram routes. The company has recently been purchased by ComfortDelgro Cabcharge. We now operate 44 buses as peak service—all large buses including five articulated buses. We employ 75 people and carry over two million passenger journeys a year. We are a proud company with a lot of knowledge of Ballarat’s transport services. Graeme has been with the company for over 30 years and I have been with them for 25 years.

CHAIR —New kids on the block.

Mr Smith —That is right. We feel we know the business. The business has always been growing. In the last couple of years we have had some good patronage increases and a lot of service increases. We now operate all of our services via the railway station, connecting with Melbourne trains and country intercity buses. We are looking now for growth in different areas. We have had an increase in services operating hours in the last couple of year. We see our biggest growth in providing better services to our peak routes. We have four main services going out to the university and to Buninyong, Wendouree West, Wendouree routes and the Sebastopol routes, which make up a big percentage of our patronage. These were still operating on 30 minute frequencies, and I think there is a lot of room for growth in these areas. Also, because these are peak routes, they have some travel time difficulties. I think there are opportunities now, here in Ballarat, to start looking at some bus priority lanes to get these services moving quicker. That is where the growth is for us in the future. We have had a lot of improvements in the last couple of years with bus stops, shelters, footpath access and BDA requirements so that people can now have the opportunity to use our services. We just need to look at improving frequencies—more weekend services and so on. The improvements that we made to weekend services last year have seen a tripling of patronage on a Sunday, so there are definitely some growth opportunities there. Graeme might want to add something to that.

CHAIR —Thank you, Mr Smith. Mr Davis, did you want to add anything?

Mr Davis —No, I think David has covered it pretty well. I am happy to answer questions.

Senator BACK —We have been sort of led to understand this morning that the provision of the bus service is more a nature of a franchise. Would that be correct?

Mr Davis —It is. We are contracted to the state government to provide the services.

Senator BACK —And you own the buses?

Mr Davis —Yes. We own the buses and run the service for the Department of Transport.

Senator BACK —Without breaking confidentiality, could you give us any idea what proportion of the overall cost is recovered from fares? If it is confidential do not tell us. It is not critical to my questioning.

Mr Davis —We would like to be able to answer that. We have just had the introduction of the myki ticketing system, which is another state government initiative. The statistics coming out of that myki ticketing system are wanting, to say the least. Prior to that, when we had control over our own fare box, it was approximately 35 or 40 per cent—that is off the top of my head—recovery of costs from the fare box.

Senator BACK —Has that changed over time?

Mr Davis —No, if anything it has gone the other way. Again, we do not control the ticketing policy. It used to be a section based ticket. It went from that to a two-hour ticket, where people would buy a dearer ticket for travelling five sections, six sections, et cetera. They then bought a standard two-hour ticket. The two-hour tickets virtually encompass three hours. People who were buying two tickets previously were buying one. Prior to that it was a lot higher. So it is ticketing policy that drives that.

Senator BACK —Can I ask you from a sceptical point of view, with regard to the arrangement that you have with the government: on what basis would poor performance put your contract at risk? I will come to another question later in terms of just how you improve. What if a franchisee purchased the business, which one recently has, and, for whatever reason, they took their eye off the ball—maybe they were not local to Ballarat, they did not have 79 years of proud service—and they simply ran the business down for whatever reason. What comeback do the community, the government, et cetera, have in those circumstances?

Mr Davis —Currently there is a very good incentive, because the contract goes until July next year—2010—when we would hope to renew that contract. So there is very good reason to continue operating the services as we have. Yes, the company has been sold. It was my family that started this back in 1929. The philosophy of this new company is also that service comes first, so it is the passengers we are looking after.

In relation to what is in the contract to make it an incentive, we believe that Metropolitan have just negotiated new contracts with the Department of Transport, and within those new contracts there are incentives—both patronage increases and performance incentives. I understand that the new contracts in 2010 for all urban centres will be the same.

Senator BACK —Right. Mr Smith, you made the comment about Sunday patronage going up. I am interested to know what the process is by which you identify what you believe to be a possible need for a new service. Can you explain to us how that goes from an idea through to fruition?

Mr Smith —I suppose there are a couple of things that drive it. As new residential areas develop, for that purpose we like to get in there very early in the piece so that people know there is a bus service right from the start. We push for that with any residential developments. With that we also want developers to provide for our buses when we get there. That gives the people that are buying in those areas an idea of what services are going to be available and we get in there early for that. A lot of it is, I suppose, driven by areas developing and we see demand. If we know that students are walking a kilometre to catch a bus then there is obviously the need for a bus to go out and get them. So that creates new services as well. I suppose people see us as the provider of the service, so the first contact is with us if they are looking for a bus service rather than going to the department. We monitor that as it goes and talk to the department about providing additional buses or services.

Senator BACK —You did mention both in your submission and in your presentation this question of bus priority lanes. In your submission you are talking about the fact that it is potentially causing delays in the time the kids might get school et cetera. I am interested from a performance point of view. You identify that need, and to whom would you go: to the Ballarat City Council to convince them of this need?

Mr Smith —We go to the Department of Transport.

Senator BACK —If they felt that your request was reasonable, they would coordinate it.

Mr Smith —They have people out in the field that monitor these things. I think you are talking to David Ward this morning, so I would talk to his department. We go out and have a look at the situation and see what the options are to fix it.

Senator BACK —You gave us the number and the mix of buses; I think you said five articulated buses. Obviously that is a huge capital expense to go and buy an articulated bus presumably over a non-articulated bus. Would that be your company’s decision, would it be Mr Ward’s decision? How would that process take place? If you made that capital investment, would three be an adjustment to your revenue in consideration of doing that? Or would you be expected to pick up the saving from less driver per passenger?

Mr Smith —That is what it does, I suppose. The articulated buses are used on services where it is point A to point B. transfer. We can fit 112 students in a bus rather than have two vehicles do the same trip. They are dearer to purchase and dearer to run, but the overall saving to the department I think is considerable.

Mr Davis —The Department of Transport does pick up that cost as part of the contract arrangement.

Senator O’BRIEN —The capital cost?

Mr Davis —The cost of the service, which therefore includes the capital cost.

Senator O’BRIEN —Could you elaborate so we can be very clear—should we call your operation a franchise?

Mr Davis —It is a contract with the government, of which we have a franchise area. Our franchise area virtually covers Greater Ballarat.

Senator O’BRIEN —So you have got exclusivity under your contract to a particular area.

Mr Davis —Yes, we do, for bus services.

Senator O’BRIEN —And the cost of those services presumably is negotiated between the company and the government.

Mr Davis —Certainly that has been the case in the past, yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —So the capital cost and operational costs would be two factors in that.

Mr Davis —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —And that would be the bill that was presented to the state government. Is there some reduction or do you bill the difference between what you receive in fares and that amount? How does it work?

Mr Davis —Currently fares are offset to the contract cost. We actually bank the fares we receive. That is audited by the Department of Transport and at the end of the financial year it is reduced and balancing takes place to either take money off us or give us extra money depending on the fare revenue.

Senator STERLE —They would not take it off you very often, would they?

Mr Davis —We are growing services, so we are actually growing revenue. It is working well.

Senator O’BRIEN —So there is a point at which the amount of fair income you receive reduces the cost to government?

Mr Davis —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —And how is that worked out?

Mr Davis —The contract is set at a fixed price, and that only varies when we vary indexation, so the contract is on an indexed basis. We know what we expect to get and it is paid to us on a monthly basis. The fare revenue is struck each year and is deducted from our contract payment. At the end of the year, if the fare revenue exceeds the amount they have deducted from us, we are required to pay them the extra money.

Senator O’BRIEN —How does this system with V/Line providing free transport in Melbourne and in Ballarat for users of the train from Ballarat to Melbourne work with your business?

Mr Davis —We carry the passengers free, get no revenue and record them as a passenger carried. So we do not get any recognition for the revenue, but, again, the contract is set at a figure.

Senator O’BRIEN —Presumably there is some factor in the V/Line fare that is compensating the government for that?

Mr Davis —I am not sure how they do that, to be honest. I do not know if there is a revenue clearing house type of situation that takes that into account—I do not think there is. I think that because V/Line is operated by the government it is fully separate.

Senator O’BRIEN —You say in your submission that there is a problem at the intersection of Geelong and Whitehorse roads. I am not familiar with the geography. I presume that is in Geelong somewhere?

Mr Davis —No, that is Ballarat.

Senator O’BRIEN —Ballarat, sorry—we are visiting Geelong tomorrow!

Mr Smith —There are a couple of points in Ballarat that are holding up our services, and that is one that has been an issue for many years. It is really only an issue during the morning peak period.

Senator O’BRIEN —At the school drop-off time?

Mr Smith —At school drop-off times. People are using Geelong Road and Whitehorse Road to go to Mount Clear Primary School, Mount Clear secondary school, Damascus College, which has doubled in size in the last two years—and they are now building another primary school there—and the university. At that peak time of the morning, that single-lane road just holds us up every day. For students that like to go off-peak, it is a 15-minute drive out to the schools; at peak period we are getting the students to school after nine o’clock. The schools accept that because everyone else is getting there at the same time whether they are travelling by bus or not.

Senator O’BRIEN —Presumably you are suggesting that they would have to put another lane in and make it exclusively a bus lane or stop cars from using that area of road.

Mr Smith —Just another lane would be good, but something for bus priority would be fantastic.

Senator O’BRIEN —At least at that time of day.

Mr Smith —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —And that would be a state government responsibility?

Mr Smith —Yes, it is a VicRoads road.

Senator O’BRIEN —In terms of your largest sector, route 10, which is, I take it, the university route—

Mr Smith —Which is on that service, yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —Is it affected by the same problem?

Mr Smith —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —You are talking about something approaching 400,000 passengers a year.

Mr Smith —On that service, yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —I presume that is concentrated at times when the schools are operating and the university is operating.

Mr Smith —It is concentrated between 8.15 and nine o’clock or 10 past nine in the morning.

Senator O’BRIEN —Only on school days.

Mr Smith —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —It is the sort of route you would operate with articulated vehicles.

Mr Smith —Yes, that is right.

Senator O’BRIEN —Are the roads suitable for that?

Mr Smith —Yes.

Senator O’BRIEN —Optimum or just suitable?

Mr Smith —Suitable.

Senator O’BRIEN —Would there be much usage of that route by people who are on the V/Line fare?

Mr Smith —It is growing but, no, they would not be a great proportion.

Senator O’BRIEN —So that is a specific students fare. What does the student pay to use that route?

Mr Smith —On a single journey, it is a dollar for a two-hour ticket.

Senator O’BRIEN —So it is a dollar in the morning and a dollar in the evening?

Mr Smith —Yes. For the university students that are not eligible for a concession, which is quite a few, on the new myki system that is $3.20 a day but to do a single journey it is $2.

Senator O’BRIEN —In terms of the processing of fares, do you have a card system or an electronic system? How does that work?

Mr Smith —It is the new myki system that we have had since 6 April. It has had a lot of teething problems.

Senator O’BRIEN —How does that work?

Mr Smith —It is a smart card.

Senator O’BRIEN —An individual has a card and they charge it up?

Mr Smith —Yes, that is right.

Senator O’BRIEN —Where do they do that?

Mr Smith —The only place that they can do it is on the bus with the driver.

Senator O’BRIEN —Is there any consideration of off-bus charging facilities?

Mr Smith —We do not have control over the ticketing system at all.

Mr Davis —If I may add, the TTA, the Transport Ticketing Authority, will be setting up machines at the railway station when V/Line comes on board with the myki ticketing because the myki ticketing will be a Victoria-wide system eventually. They have set it up in the regional areas at the moment extending that to metro Melbourne early next year and then V/Line. We are frustrated at the moment because people can only go to a post office to buy a myki card so, if you do not have one, it is difficult to get. The ones who have it can then top up on the bus to use that ticket.

Mr Smith —They can do it on the net.

Senator O’BRIEN —They can do it on the net?

Mr Davis —Yes, they can.

Senator O’BRIEN —I was going to say that would seem to be an obvious option that has been used in other parts of the world.

Senator BACK —Or by automatic bank transfer?

Mr Smith —I think they can set that up.

Senator O’BRIEN —If you did it by telephone, it would have to be bank account transaction I presume.

Senator BACK —The system that we use is that you set a minimum and the bank automatically tops it up. You do not have to consciously do anything yourself.

Mr Davis —I am not sure how that would work because I do not know how it would know when it got to a minimum.

Senator BACK —It is a passive RFID card with a decrementing amount on it. When it gets to $15 dollars or whatever limit you set, the bank automatically deducts the amount from your account and puts it into the ticketing system.

CHAIR —Is the reliability being affected at all by this new ticketing system—is it slowing things down to the point where it is having an adverse impact? What are the negative impacts of the new system—teething problems if you like?

Mr Davis —There were teething problems. Like with any ticketing system we understand that there are teething problems. Our company is also involved with Benders in Geelong, so we have two companies with it. Initially, it held up the services considerably, but we must say that with every software upgrade the system is improving. Passengers had been a little bit concerned about some inaccuracies in what had been debited on their cards, but we believe that they are getting on top of that. We are being told that by September most of our issues will be fixed. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

CHAIR —Look forward to that!

Senator STERLE —You can appreciate an inquiry of this nature brings out a lot of passionate positions. If some people had their way, we would all be on push bikes and there would never be another bus allowed on the road. But this is your hour now. I was reading your submission at the same as I was trying to listen to your opening statement, Mr Smith, so forgive me if I have missed something. If you have already answered something, say you have answered it and I can always refer to the Hansard. You say in your submission that not many people realise today that buses actually produce less greenhouse gas emissions than trams that use electricity generated by brown coal. Have you got accompanying statistics you could supply for the committee for that statement?

Mr Davis —I do not, but I will get it for you.

Senator STERLE —That is all you need to do. Please take that on notice. I am very interested in pursuing that line. You also say that there is still more we should be doing. You talk about the odd road improvement here and there. Would you like to just tell the committee in very simple terms what more can be done so that you can improve, I gather, the public services around Ballarat. We have two standards here. From here to Melbourne is fantastic, we have been told. That is not a problem. Let us talk just about around the greater city of Ballarat. What can we do? If you had the purse strings, how would you fix it?

Mr Smith —On our main bus routes, say, going out along Geelong Road to the colleges, we might have 15 buses operating in the peak morning period on that particular service. There are still 500 or whatever cars. The majority are mothers taking their kids to school. They are doing two journeys: going there and back in the morning and there and back in the afternoon. I think if the quality of service was there—and do not get me wrong; I think we provide a really good service—and the frequency was there and mum knew that she could get her kids down to the corner in the morning and the bus would get them to school on time and safely we would get rid of those cars and we would get those kids on the buses.

Senator STERLE —So frequency would mean more buses and more bus drivers?

Mr Smith —Yes.

Senator STERLE —Have you have you done any sums on what providing that service would cost taxpayers?

Mr Davis —No, we have not.

Senator STERLE —Are we talking frequency just in the busy times or during the whole day and on weekends?

Mr Smith —We probably need to look at frequency of those heavily patronised services right throughout the day—I am not talking the early morning or late in the evenings—especially on route 10. University students and even high school students these days will go in at 10 o’clock to a couple of classes and then leave again at one o’clock in the afternoon on different days. They expect the bus to be there. So we need increasing frequency of those services right throughout the day, yes.

Senator STERLE —I ask this question in every hearing. We could have the best possible public transport system—whatever mode that might be—safe, secure, regular and sustainable, but how do we get people out of their cars and convince them that they should leave the car parked and jump on public transport?

Mr Smith —In urban and regional areas that is very hard to do.

Senator STERLE —Everyone looks at me as though I am trying to set them up for the front page of the local rag on this one, but I am dying to hear the answer.

Mr Smith —In Ballarat most people are the same as me: I know that I can jump in the car and drive into the centre of the city. This afternoon we drove down the street, and just opposite the town hall there are half-a-dozen parking spaces you can pull into. It costs you a dollar to park there for an hour. Most of our shopping centres around Ballarat have free parking. There is free parking in the centre of the city as well. It is very hard to get people out of their cars. If you can get them to see what the bus services do, I think you can bring people in, but it has to be there for starters.

Mr Davis —I would like to back up David. What he was saying earlier is that it comes back to frequency and convenience. A large percentage of our patronage are people that rely on public transport. But we are slowly getting back the elderly, for example, who have a car but are now finding it just as easy to go by bus and leave their car at home. We operate skeleton services on Sundays and public holidays. We should be increasing that so that every service is covered. It has been proven in other areas that, where you provide a service that people can easily get to—that is, within 400 metres of their homes—and that comes every 10 or 15 minutes every day, you will get people back onto public transport.

Senator STERLE —According to the table you have supplied to us there has been—although it does not look this way—a great increase in the patronage of public transport over the last three years, except in one case. Why has there been an increase?

Mr Davis —We have changed services over that period and our services have extended into some of the new areas. We have also recently started running services via the station, so we are attracting a different market as well. It is really a service improvement. We have also extended our morning and afternoon hours as well. But there is some generic growth in it due to Ballarat growing. I have not noted this on my graph, but No. 18 should be on the top of No. 15. It was a service that was split, so route 18 and 15 go together, and that would also show an increase. We had a service that was running on Sturt Street West out the west of Ballarat. It was a half-hourly service and we split it to become an hourly service into some of those new areas. We are still concerned that those new areas are only getting an hourly service when they should be getting a half-hourly service.

Senator STERLE —Would it be fair to say those new areas will probably require more public transport than areas closer to the city centre?

Mr Davis —We believe so.

Senator STERLE —Are they new housing areas?

Mr Davis —Yes, so there are new families and eventually, of course, there will be students wanting to go to school et cetera. We have always made the point that we want to be there before people are forced to buy that second car.

Senator STERLE —We have seen different examples around the country—in fact, certain states do it very well and the odd state just does not do it full stop. How closely do the Department of Transport and the local council work with your company in planning integrated bus routes for new suburbs?

Mr Davis —We actually work very well with the Department of Transport. We have a very good working relationship. Because I do not live in the town anymore, I can say that the cooperation we have with council officers is fantastic, although sometimes we have difficulty organising bus stops within the city area. In the last lot of changes we implemented in conjunction with the Department of Transport and council, we actually had to turn services away from Lydiard Street due to some pressure from local members to get a bus stop in Lydiard Street. There is certainly recognition from council that we are important to them, but we sometimes have difficulty convincing them we want a little bit of space to pull up a bus and put a bus stop in.

Senator STERLE —In terms of organising bus stops, are you talking about new bus stops? For want of a better example, you get the local action groups saying, ‘Not in my back yard; we want everything else but we don’t want a bus stop here.’ Is that what you mean?

Mr Davis —Yes, that is the type of thing.

Senator STERLE —It is frustrating.

Mr Davis —It is very frustrating.

Senator STERLE —It is a bit like the people who move near the airport and then complain about airport noise.

Mr Davis —True.

Mr Smith —In the centre of the city we are trying to coordinate buses as they travel through the city so that people can transfer. We do not have a place in the city where all the buses meet. We have split terminuses. We are now at the stage where even the city terminus is not big enough to bring in all our buses—even a small number of buses. When we have 40 buses coming through the city in an afternoon and the biggest terminus can hold only six buses it becomes a problem. A major city terminus is something that we would love.

Senator STERLE —We were talking about the flexibility of rubber wheels, which I cannot stress enough—I think I make that clear every time I open my gob—

Mr Smith —That is why we took over from the trains and the trams.

Senator STERLE —You will not have an argument with me about the flexibility of buses and all that. Talking about integrating your services in new areas—and you work closely with the department of transport—is it a work in progress in that you are regularly reviewing and rediverting your buses, or is it done just once a year? How does that work?

Mr Smith —It is continuous—swapping bigger buses and smaller buses and shopping buses from one route to another. We are introducing new bus services all the time.

Senator STERLE —Flexibility—I love it. Thank you very much.

Senator McGAURAN —On the last point you made about a city terminus, a bus centre, that has been promised by the state government over the last two elections, if I recall correctly. It was a firm commitment. Where has it gone? Have they made a counterstatement? They spent the last eight years promising the same thing and not delivering.

Mr Davis —I think that is true. There was a plan that they would do something near the railway station, but that never eventuated. There have been quite a few plans, in fact. Our disappointment goes back to when the Big W shopping centre was constructed and we lost our terminus for the sake of the car park for the shopping centre in Curtis Street. They moved us to a position which goes up a hill, which for elderly people is not suitable. Nothing has happened since then. There has been lots of talk about something happening, but nobody has come up with a plan that will be accepted.

Senator McGAURAN —Has the state government said, ‘We are now not doing it,’ or do they continue to string it along?

Mr Davis —We honestly do not know where it is at.

Senator McGAURAN —Do you have in your possession the last statement or press release by the minister on this issue? It is something that the local council ought to push, too. This has become a real farce.

Mr Davis —We do not believe that the council was very proactive in pushing it.

Senator McGAURAN —Which council? The previous—

Mr Davis —The Ballarat City Council—the previous one.

Senator McGAURAN —The new council is completely different—an enterprise based council, if you like. I think they would encourage it.

Mr Davis —Yes, but I am not sure whether there is any space at this stage.

Mr Smith —We would have to go back and start negotiations again.

Senator McGAURAN —I know that I am being a bit parochial here, gentlemen, but this has been a feature requirement for not just your industry but Ballarat as a transport hub. This was going to launch Ballarat as one of the transport hubs, along with the fast train, which they have got. So you do not know where it is at?

Mr Smith —No.

Senator McGAURAN —What do the local state members say?

Mr Smith —In the last couple of years, we have just got to the point where we work around it because we have shifted around—across the road from the town hall and back up to the other end of Curtis Street. Basically, we have been told: ‘This is it. This is the best you are going to get.’

Senator McGAURAN —How free enterprise are you or are you totally locked into the government contract or franchise? Do you have any free routes that you run yourself?

Mr Davis —No, we do not.

Senator McGAURAN —Why is that? Wouldn’t Buninyong be a profitable route?

Mr Davis —Yes, but you did hear it was $1; in fact, under myki it is now 90c. If you look back in history, everything was done out of the fare box. It goes back to the early seventies when we as operators tried to get a threepence, I think—it might have been the sixties or it might have been 5c, I cannot remember. We tried to get an increase and we were not permitted by the transport board. From then on we were subsidised by the government and from the subsidy it became a contract situation.

Senator McGAURAN —So there is no route that the government does not control? Could you go out to a new estate, work with the developer and say, ‘This is going to be a profitable run for us, we will do it ourselves,’ and the developer might join with you and build the stops? Can you get the government out and run it yourself?

Mr Davis —No. Because of the fare structure, to make something a profitable service from scratch would be very difficult anyway. We do need a subsidy to run the service and charge the same fare that everybody else would be getting.

Senator McGAURAN —Is this the same as with the bus routes in Melbourne that are franchised out?

Mr Davis —Yes, it is similar.

Senator McGAURAN —What proportion of your buses have disabled access?

Mr Davis —All of them. No, sorry, all of our timetable services operate disabled services. Everything that is on the timetable are low-floor, wheelchair accessible buses. We are well in front of the requirements. But our buses that are dedicated route school services are not all done, but a percentage of those are done.

Senator McGAURAN —What percentage?

CHAIR —You could take that on notice.

Mr Davis —Do you know?

Mr Smith —Probably 20 per cent or 25 per cent of our school services are low-floor, wheelchair accessible.

Senator McGAURAN —What about seatbelts?

Mr Davis —No, they are all route service. Following on from an earlier question about providing better services, part of our problem is that we cannot get another bus until we have reached the capacity of that bus. The capacity would be 41 or 42 seated and another 30 standing. We can carry 70 or so people. Half the reason that people are taking their children to school is that they think that they have to stand on our buses; that they do not get a seat. The people are packed on.

Mr Smith —That was quite acceptable 20 years ago. People do not accept it now. If you come anywhere near your carrying capacity on your bus on a service, people will start finding alternative ways of getting to school or wherever.

Mr Davis —We cannot get extra services until we have buses where the standing capacity is full and people are hanging out the doors, so to speak.

Senator McGAURAN —Are all capital outlays in the government’s hands—bus stops et cetera?

Mr Davis —Yes.

Senator McGAURAN —Not the buses?

Mr Davis —All the infrastructure on the road belongs to the council, with the Department of Transport assisting with the funding of that. Everything that we operate belongs to the company.

CHAIR —If there are no further questions, Mr Davis and Mr Smith, thank you very much for appearing today.

Mr Davis —Thank you for inviting us.

[2.00 pm]