ATA backs customer service approach

Industry association welcomes BITRE report highlighting need for user involvement in judging infrastructure performance

ATA backs customer service approach
ATA chair Geoff Crouch seeks user involvement in infrastructure assessment.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called for governments to focus their road network management centrally on improving the customer service experience.

The call comes on the back of a research report released this month by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics that dissects the need for quality reviews of Australian infrastructure from a user point of view rather than current infrastructure performance measurements that often reflect the priorities of owners and operators.

"This timely report on developing an infrastructure and customer satisfaction framework identifies service quality attributes that should be measured to improve the customer service of infrastructure," ATA chair Geoff Crouch says.

"Additional economic gains from infrastructure relies on its efficient management, operation and use.

"The report identifies the importance of cost, access, safety, reliability, timeliness, user amenity and information for how customers interact with infrastructure, including roads."

Titled Measuring infrastructure asset performance and customer satisfaction: a review of existing frameworks, the report found that while Australia’s high-level of private sector involvement in infrastructure has delivered "considerable economic benefits, through improved productivity, reduced costs to consumers and delivery of projects at a lower cost ...  many infrastructure markets are characterised by high fixed (sunk) costs and low marginal costs, and hence naturally disposed to one or few suppliers, which can lead to less efficient market outcomes."

Citing the potential benefits of customer performance measures as "a form of accountability for infrastructure operators’ performance, especially where competition is limited," the report’s new framework would allow "customers to easily identify which operators are performing well, and in which areas … and may be a way to prompt infrastructure operators, governments and policy makers to think more critically about the needs and priorities of the users of Australia’s infrastructure."

For trucking operators that would be roads; both free and tolled.

 "Australia is experiencing ever-increasing, unsustainable, and unfair toll increases on heavy vehicles but without any measurement of this funding better services to the users paying these costs," Crouch says.

To solve this problem, Crouch wants governments to establish "independent management and funding of our roads that are focused on improving customer service for road users through better safety, access, reliability and cost."

"We need to set service standards for roads which establish the service that users can rely on, including standards on safety, access for heavy vehicles, mobile data access, and the provision of rest areas.

"There also needs to be fair and competitive supply chain costs, with independent regulation of heavy vehicle charges, toll road charges and landside port charges."



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