Service contracting and management

Service Contracting and Management

Description / objective

The preferred form of service contracting for a particular situation can be identified through the Urban Bus Toolkit, with the main options being gross- or net-cost contracts for the whole network, a defined area, or specific routes. Definition of the service contract will be based on the specification derived from its planning, and its award would normally involve a competitive tender. Management of the contract involves monitoring compliance with its conditions, and applying performance incentives or penalties as appropriate.

The transport authority may also need to manage multiple contractors, depending on the chosen contract form, and their interface on common sections of the network. Analogous processes apply for demand responsive transport in the reservation and work allocation functions.

ITS applications

The primary application of ITS in this functional area lies in the monitoring of service-contract compliance in relation to the service provision and performance standards set by the transport authority. This may be used either for control of the contractor, where compliance is a concern, or for the review of contract conditions where performance development is the priority. ITS applications are also the only practicable methodology for large-scale demand-responsive transport systems in the areas of route optimization and work allocation.

Advantages and cautions

Where passenger transport reform is based on the organization and co-ordination of previously unregulated para-transit operators, the element of control may be strongly resisted. It is therefore important for the operators to benefit, and be seen to benefit, from the contract conditions.