UITP and Busworld Europe have joined forces to bring you an unmissable event. Only one month to go until our UITP-Busworld International Bus Conference (23-24 October 2017) in Kortrijk, Belgium, leads the debate on the latest trends in the bus industry. Under the theme "Integrate + Connect!" several leading figures will discuss topics such as digitalisation, electrification, automation and new service concepts.
Leading industry figure Alok Jain has been confirmed as keynote speaker for the 2-day event. As Managing Director of Trans-consult Asia Limited, overseeing research and consultation in the field of transport planning for almost a decade, Alok Jain brings a wealth of experience to this exciting event.
In our anticipation of Busworld, Mr. Jain has kindly agreed to speak with us for a question and answer session detailing his thoughts on sector developments, the future of the industry and his own public transport experiences.
Q: What are some of the most serious challenges that the public transport industry faces today?
The biggest challenge comes from technological disruption. The concepts of autonomous driving and shared economy are making the cost of ownership of private vehicles lower posing a threat to public transport. Technology, however, is providing public transport the best opportunity. If we can leverage on it, we can transform the industry.
Q: Autonomous vehicles have been tested on public roads, and could be in full operation within a decade. What are some of the benefits that AV technology brings to public transport? What are their impact on buses?
In most public transport companies, about half the cost of operation is on staff and automation will change that part of the business model significantly. In addition, replacement of the human factor by a strict rule based rational driving, would perhaps make autonomous vehicles much safer.
Q: What will be some of the biggest differences between public transport now, and in a decade’s time?
The silent innovation in big data analytics will make the biggest impact in the public transport industry. Public transport industry is one of the most data heavy industries. From planning to operations to fare collection, we have the footprints in entire value chain. Data is the backbone on which automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning ride on. They will not only make operations safer, cheaper and more efficient but it will transform back-of-house activities the most. Our depot or maintenance facilities could be completely automated. From a customer perspective, with cost of staff and fuel becoming negligible, cost of public transport could become negligible. Data will be the new currency and the industry would be able to leverage and monetise through other touch points.
Data is the backbone on which automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning ride on
Q: What are some of your favourite public transport experiences?
Having worked in metros for most of the first half of my career, I was welcomed as a novice in to the bus industry. People often told me that I do not understand bus operations. There is no better way to understand a business than to be part of the frontline. That is when I decided to become a qualified bus driver. And that expertise gave me the courage to stand and credibility to be taken seriously. With a serious shortage of bus drivers and increasing pay scales for drivers, that is also my back-up plan for a second career.
Only one month to go: Don't miss your chance to register for the UITP-Busworld International Bus Conference now!