International Bus Conference speakers share their thoughts: Büşra Buran of IETT

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This year, UITP will once again join forces with our collaborators at Busworld to host the International Bus Conference 2019 (Brussels, 21-23 October) – the world’s biggest event dedicated to the bus.

There are many interesting and important developments happening within the bus sector and to place a much-welcomed spotlight on the industry, UITP began our 'Story of the Bus' journey this summer, marking 100 days until the sector embarks in Brussels.

Setting off from UITP in July, we have informed and updated the sector on the latest innovations and advancements with the release of five brand new bus publications.

Now, as we make the final part of our journey towards our Conference, we’re stopping off at the side of the road to meet and greet a selection of our international speakers and panellists…

We started getting to know our speakers with Renée Amilcar, Executive Director of Bus for Societe De Transport De Montreal and Chair of the UITP Bus Division, a Vice President of UITP and member of UITP’s Executive Board…

Then we met Johan Holstein, Development Executive for Arriva, London, UK, Antonio Manuel Domingues Pires, COO/CTO of Carris, Lisbon, Portugal and then Amos Haggiag, CEO and co-founder of Optibus in Israel and then we introduced to you Oleksandra Sladkova, Head of Urbanistics Department, at the Institute of Spatial Development, Lviv, Ukraine and Mohamed Abdulla Al Ali, Director of Buses Department at Road Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai.

Up next is Büşra Buran, Head of Strategy Development at IETT, Turkey.

Büşra, can you tell us more about your role within IETT? What’s a day in the life of Head of Strategy Development like? 

My role is related to measuring and improving our service quality and then helping to increase customer satisfaction. We have 64 processes with 558 indicators. We monitor all indicators periodically such as quarterly, half yearly and yearly. If the target isn’t reached, we plan improvement actions. At the same time, we have balance score cards to measure IETT’s overall performance according to the key performance indicator. In addition, we have 10 quality certificates which are integrated management system, energy management, service quality and so on. We audit all certificates yearly. Also, our department monitors IETT’s projects, we have had 52 projects in 2019. In summary, our mission is to increase IETT’s performance in order to make our customers happy.

To encourage women into the transport sector, successful women’s stories can be shared and given more responsibilities

It seems that the bus sector has been thriving lately, with new and exciting technological advancements. We’ve witnessed the rise of the electric bus and new developments with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), for example. What’s your view on where the bus sector currently stands?

According to a UITP survey, 23% percent of total CO2 gases are composed by transportation; including rail, bus, water and air transportation systems, and 98% of all land transport depends on fossil fuels. In my opinion, electric vehicles are a great opportunity for green transportation. Although the electric vehicle is a good choice, there are some constraints about charging duration and distance travelled for crowded cities. For example, an Istanbul BRT System carries nearly one million passengers a day. We need time to experience electric vehicles. In the future, I believe that constraints will be overcome using technology.

In the lead up to this year’s International Bus Conference, UITP released four key publications on the bus sector – ranging from updates on electric bus, trolleybus, urban life impact and bus rapid transit systems (BRT). You have a great deal of experience on BRT optimisation, having started your career consulting for Istanbul’s world famous BRT system in 2010. What do you think is next for BRT? 

There are two types of BRT systems which are mixed and dedicated. Istanbul BRT is a dedicated one. It has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of the mixed BRT include high commercial speed, easy to plan, and low accident rate. The main disadvantage is the bottleneck that occurs if you add more vehicles than your plan. When passenger demand increases, you must add more vehicles to satisfy demand but there can be a bottleneck. To solve this problem, there are autonomous vehicles. Without driverless vehicles, the regularity of bus frequency is always close to 100%. This allows us to carry passengers on time without any bottleneck. I think the next step is autonomous vehicles for BRT.

We know that the public transport sector doesn’t have the best track record on the amount of women working in the field. The needle is moving on this and UITP is committed to working on advancing access for women in our industry. From your own viewpoint, where is the sector on this right now? What needs to be done to encourage more women to choose a career in urban mobility?

From past to present, women’s working rate is increasing year to year. Not only in the working area but also at the management level. The challenge of the public transport sector is to cover costs while satisfying passenger demand. Although demand is infinite, resources are limited. Having a multidiscipline approach and mixed team which is composed of women and men can overcome this issue. In recent years, we are willing to work with more women as staff, as bus drivers and managers. To encourage women into the transport sector, successful women’s stories can be shared and given more responsibilities. This can cause an increase in women working in public transportation.

In my opinion, electric vehicles are a great opportunity for green transportation. Although the electric vehicle is a good choice, there are some constraints…in the future, I believe those constraints will be overcome using technology.

What more needs to be done to encourage those living in our cities to leave the car at home and use their local public transport?  

We do satisfaction surveys every year. We determine our priorities according to this survey. From this point, IETT’s top priorities are availability, time and comfort. In the world, availability and time are top two priorities according to the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG). In Istanbul, we should invest our top priorities to encourage public transportation. To achieve these targets, we have several projects. These are:
• increasing bus lines both day and night
• measure punctuality and regularity of bus lines
• optimising bus network according to the new metro line
• planning new bus rapid lines
• provide integrated transportation system
• having young bus fleet

And finally, our readers are always interested in hearing about the career paths and life choices of our international speakers. What was your dream career when you were growing up?

I am an industrial engineer and also, I am a Phd. student in the administration field. When I was at university, I dreamed to transfer academic knowledge to the real world so public transportation is a good choice for me. Because there are lots of problems to solve and you can touch lots of people to improve their life. This is my dream. Next step for me is giving courses at university. Working with students, my big dream is to present case studies, contributing to both literature and the sector.

Thank you to Büşra for her time and insights!

Join us in Brussels at the International Bus Conference 2019 now!

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