Greyhound fast tracks growth

MINERS, schoolchildren, prisoners – Greyhound Australia transports them all as part of its commercial operations, which CEO Robert Thomas expects to bring significant revenue growth on the back of $84 million last financial year.

Thomas expects employment growth too in the next eight months, but says while commercial transport has been strong, the bulk of Greyhound’s work is still in passenger transport.

“Passenger transport has always contributed the lion’s share of our revenue base, as a foundation that builds on to other things. It’s our experience of 104 years taking passengers around the country that’s helped us to service the mining and charter sector,” he says.

“There will be some employment growth in the not too distant future in the next six to eight months, as we up the ante on who we’ve got on board.”

Last month Greyhound signed a contract with EDI Mining to operate 40 services per week in the Bowen Basin, which comes in addition to BHP’s Olympic Dam Mine in South Australia, servicing Rio Tinto in Western Australia, as well as many other bolt-on commercial routes.

“We run the country link bus service in New South Wales, school bus routes in the Bowen Basin, and we have a contract with Correctional Services in Western Australia moving prisoners, so we’re designing a new kind of bus for that,” he says.

“For a long time, Greyhound was simply an express service taking people all around the country, but it is more and more required of a leader to find diverse revenue streams.”

Thomas forecasts a rebound in the mining sector which spells growth for commercial operations, as he also looks to take on routes that might be inefficient for regional aircraft companies.

“We know that aircraft are viable for 500 to 1000km trips but between that zero to 500km mark, using a bus absolutely makes sense. We hope to increase the frequency and delivery of services, which will increase the number of people employed in regional centres.

“There’s clearly opportunities, as what are sub-optimal economic routes for aircraft can be good economic routes for us – it’s horses for courses.”

Thomas also denies that bringing aircraft monitoring technology to the coach industry is a case of ‘big brother’s watching you’.

“It not only knows if you’re speeding, but if you’re harsh braking or revving the engine – it adds to the protection of our staff and if someone claims a driver was doing this or that, we can look up what’s actually been done.

“Some people look at it and think it’s big brother watching you, but it’s actually the inverse – it supports our drivers, they’ve got nothing to hide.”

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