Placing the customer at the centre of everything we do is at the heart of all our transport service and infrastructure decisions.
This chapter explains who our customers are, what they value and how their priorities will shape the plans we make and execute. The chapter also looks at how we can improve services to attract more people onto public transport and considers the major priorities for key customer groups including:
- Public transport customers
- Road customers
- Freight customers
- People who require greater access to the transport network to support inclusion and participation
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- Visitors and tourists
Our customers rely on us everyday
Our customers are at the centre of everything we do
Who are our customers, and what do they value?
The reliability of transport services will always be a key contributor to customer satisfaction. However, our customers are also increasingly expecting greater technology-enabled personalisation, flexibility and ease of use.
Mobile phone technology is prompting a culture of immediacy, evident in the growth of tech-enabled point to point services, flexible on-demand services and applications of shared mobility. In the future, our customers will expect to shape service provision in real time, based on their immediate needs.
The way people use the network is also changing. Our future customers are less likely to have a driver’s licence or own a car. Their travel patterns will also be different from today because they are more likely to be flexible about where and what hours they work, and to consider walking and cycling as part of their journey.
A successful transport system that encourages greater active and public transport can deliver positive outcomes in terms of physical and mental health, social capital and social and economic participation.
At Transport for NSW we are increasingly using “co-design” approaches, aimed at identifying factors that impact the customers travel experience and assessing, testing and validating solutions with customers. This collaborative approach has a high rate of success in providing solutions that address the root cause of customer pain points.
Growing customer satisfaction and responding to changing customer needs and attitudes
Each year, our customers take 328 million trips on Sydney, intercity and regional trains, 250 million trips on metropolitan and outer metropolitan buses and 4 million trips on rural and regional buses. People in metropolitan areas also undertake 3.5 million walking-only trips and 448,000 cycling trips on an average week day.
To gain an insight into what our customers value, we have developed a Customer Satisfaction Index, which reflects the voices of over 17,000 customers. In listening to their feedback, we have achieved average annual increases in customer satisfaction of 9 per cent with buses and trains.
Service innovation has played a key role in increasing customer satisfaction. The introduction of the Opal Card significantly improved satisfaction levels by enabling greater convenience and ease of connection between modes. However, customers tell us that barriers to using public transport still exist that relate to availability, frequency, reliability and areas serviced.
Improving service levels and matching demand is being aided by web-based customer interactions and electronic transactions which generate data about travel patterns that can be used to better understand customer needs. Mobile phone apps have already been adapted to provide real time service information and planning tools to public transport customers.
As these new systems evolve we will be able to capture customers’ satisfaction levels throughout their journey experience. We will continue to personalise interactions, moving to customised, integrated service systems, smart digital mobility platforms, and frictionless access and payments, as set out in the Future Transport Technology Roadmap for NSW.
Future directions to investigate
Customer satisfaction will be enhanced, and more people will choose to travel by public transport, walking and cycling.
- Deploy the latest technologies to personalise customer interactions
- Provide safe, quick and convenient services that offer journey times competitive with private cars
Our road customers
We will meet the changing needs of road customers to ensure safe, direct and timely journeys
Our road network is the state’s largest asset, carrying the majority of passengers and freight. To move the increasing number of people and goods, we must respond to the changing needs of road customers. We also need to provide safe roads for our customers and the community as we move towards a zero trauma network by 2050 through initiatives under the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021.
The development and introduction of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) over the coming years will bring about different opportunities for customers and service providers. Automation is expected to increase safety and reduce congestion and environmental impacts, particularly if used for shared vehicles.
‘Smart’ motorways will also improve congestion for road users, including users of city shaping bus services, as real time data is used to manage the network and help customers avoid pinch points, disruptions and scheduled maintenance.
For further information on road safety see “A safely operated network”.
Future directions to investigate
Road customers will have access to a safe, world class network that supports private journeys, high capacity public transport services and high productivity freight vehicles.
- Provide better road connections between key centres, particularly in regional NSW
- Prioritise efficient vehicles, taking into account the type of corridor, customer mix and the importance of local spaces
- Physically separate different road user groups with an expanded network of bus lanes and freight priority where possible
- Deliver safer roads that support optimum speeds and are resilient to extreme weather events in line with the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021
- Deliver ‘smart’ motorways and work with industry and innovators on new technologies that can improve the road user experience
- Incorporate safety measures at the planning and design and construction stage for all new and repurposed road asset projects
Apply the ‘movement and place’ approach to match road function with user groups and create better places and communities.
Our freight customers
A market for freight pathways will benefit our freight customers and support innovation
We will enable innovation across the freight network and encourage new service models
With freight worth $66 billion to the NSW economy each year, our freight customers are major partners in securing the future of our State. The importance of the freight sector will continue to grow with volumes expected to double in Greater Sydney and increase by 25 per cent in regional NSW over the next 40 years.
Freight customers value reliability, efficient travel, and certainty to maximise productivity and reduce costs and energy intensity.
Network inefficiency, inconsistent regulation, and poor planning decisions, particularly around trade gateways and freight land, impose operational constraints, extra costs, and slower or unreliable delivery times, which can reduce the competitiveness of the state’s businesses. Consideration of land use compatibility and the physical separation of particularly land uses from trade gateways and freight lands may be required to facilitate the efficient movement of freight.
Freight customers will increasingly harness data and analytics to achieve efficiencies that make them competitive on a local and international level. Load sharing applications will combine freight loads from different network users to maximise capacity and reduce delivery timeframes.
Direct business-to-consumer delivery models and on-demand service models will blur the lines between traditional freight companies and retail businesses, and lead to innovative partnerships. For example, Toll and eBay now offer a business-to-consumer logistics solution to connect Asian businesses to Australian customers purchasing products online. Uber and Amazon are new entrants to the freight market for ‘last mile’ and on-demand deliveries. In the future, drones could also alter the way deliveries are made.
With more ‘last mile’ deliveries as well as a growing traditional container and bulk freight task, we will need an efficient, ‘smart’ freight network. More effective freight corridor planning, including physical separation where appropriate, and support for intelligent transport systems (ITS), cooperative-ITS technology and connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) will be increasingly important to freight customers and essential to growing the NSW economy.
Australian governments are currently investigating heavy vehicle road reforms aimed at turning the provision of heavy vehicle road infrastructure into an economic service, where feasible. This would see a market established that links the needs of heavy vehicle users with the level of service they receive and the charges they pay and how this revenue is invested back into road services.
Heavy vehicle road reform will provide a basis for comparing road and rail freight pricing - a stepping stone towards the development of a market for freight where technology, data and analytics could support innovative ways of providing dynamic priority, and freight-as-a-service multimodal offerings.
The Inland Rail project, linking Melbourne and Brisbane, is also a major focus of Australian governments. The project, being delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), will mean major infrastructure changes to rail track in regional NSW including:
- 37km of new track from Illabo to Stockinbingal
- 107km of upgraded track from Parkes to Narromine
- 307 km of new track from Narromine to Narrabri
- 183km of upgraded track and 3km of new track from Narrabri to North Star
- 52km of new track from North Star to the NSW/Queensland border.
Together with industry, and government partners, we will need to ensure that Inland Rail optimises the movement of freight in NSW through efficient links to ports and economically sustainable freight hubs.
The NSW Government has released a draft Freight and Ports Plan for consultation with industry stakeholders. Following this period of consultation, the release of final Freight and Ports Plan will address key issues for the safe, efficient and sustainable movement of freight across NSW, including:
- Effective planning and corridor protection for future freight infrastructure and growth
- Balancing freight and passenger movements
- Improved cross-border harmonisation
- The facilitation and introduction of technologies to improve safety and efficiency
The final Freight and Ports Plan will align with the Future Transport Strategy and Plans as well as plans and strategies across all levels of Government. In particular, the importance of Local Government involvement in last mile issues will be further explored.
The final Freight and Ports Plan will also closely align with the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and seek to identify those areas where Transport for NSW can work together with the Commonwealth Government on improved harmonisation across state borders.
Freight will be technology-enabled, offering dynamic, tailored services with high volume freight pathways, new service models, and more last-mile deliveries.
- Deliver a comprehensive Freight and Ports Plan to provide investment planning guidance and give industry direction on initiatives and reforms that encourage collaboration in decision making
- Create ‘smart’ networks that support integrated ‘freight as a service’ offerings with a unified access and pricing framework, that reflects the quality of service
- Continue to work with the Commonwealth, the National Transport Commission (NTC), and other jurisdictions on road pricing as part of Heavy Vehicle Road Reform.
- Integrate transport and land use planning to separate freight and passenger traffic on major freight corridors and efficiently plan collection points in centres and at network interchanges (e.g. around Moorebank and Inland Rail)
- Maximise the long term capacity and performance of the state's three ports, expand intermodal rail capacity in Western Sydney, and improve east-west connections to support the regional export task
Better transport to support access, inclusion and participation
Customers who experience mobility constraints need affordable, accessible and personalised services
We will improve transport access and inclusion
Access and inclusion are important outcomes for all our customers regardless of their age, ability, where they live or their personal circumstances.
Integrated planning for safe and accessible travel by walking, catching public or flexible transport, or using assisted transport services will be essential to support older people, people living with disability and others with mobility constraints. Accessible transport helps these people to remain healthy, active and independent.
Children and young people are another group of customers who need better access to safe, accessible and affordable transport. School bus travel is subsidised but many children are unable to participate in excursions and sporting, social and cultural activities that can supplement their education and promote their health.
In addition to integrating access and inclusion outcomes into the Greater Sydney and Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plans, Future Transport 2056 will be supported by a set of three plans that address access, inclusion and participation with a focus on people with disability, older people and people who experience transport disadvantage:
- The Disability Inclusion Action Plan – released 2017
- The Older Persons Transport and Mobility Plan – to be released in 2018
- The Social Access Plan – to be released in 2018.
The Regional NSW Services and Infrastructure Plan highlights that the cost of travel can also impact transport access and inclusion. Following recommendations by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) bus fares in regional NSW have been reduced by almost 30 per cent on average. More affordable fares provide equity across NSW and encourage social inclusion.
Significantly, for the first time people in regional NSW are now able to purchase a Daily Ticket that provides them with unlimited travel within certain sections. Eligible concession holders will pay half the adult fare for the Daily Ticket and the Regional Excursion Daily ticket for pensions will remain at $2.50.
This new fare structure also provides an opportunity to introduce a next generation ticketing system.
Other recommendations from the IPART review will continue to be investigated such as restructuring services to better match emerging needs, including on-demand services.
As technology advances, there will remain a need to offer information to customers who do not have access to mobile or internet technologies. Face to face customer service will continue to be important in this regard for customers to who need assistance with using transport.
New technologies and big data will also be used to better understand changing travel needs across customer groups, target concessions and subsidies more effectively, and develop new services to provide Government support where it is most needed.
Future directions to investigate
Our customers will have access to simpler, better services regardless of their level of mobility, where they live or their personal circumstances.
- Ensure all infrastructure and vehicles are physically accessible by applying inclusive design principles and standards to all infrastructure and service upgrades and new investments
- Continue to work with the Commonwealth on the modernisation of Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport and support the transport industry to become more accessible and inclusive
- Improve service provision for people with little or no access to transport through the development of flexible, on-demand and personalised service models
- Review fares and concession policies to ensure support is provided where it is most needed and there is fare parity between metropolitan and regional services
- Improve direct, customer-based assistance, information and wayfinding products
Provide alternative booking, planning and payment methods for people without access to digital platforms, such as smartphones and the internet
A transport vision built on respect for the first Australians
Supporting strong and connected Aboriginal communities
Honouring Aboriginal connection to the land
In looking four decades ahead, Future Transport 2056 acknowledges the more than 40,000 years of continuous Aboriginal connection to the land that has brought NSW to where it is today.
As the world’s oldest living culture, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional owners and custodians of Australia’s continent and adjacent islands share a unique bond to Country. This has been forged through thousands of years of travelling across lands and waterways for the purposes of ceremony, religion, trading and seasonal migration.
The Future Transport strategy and its Plans acknowledge that many transport networks developed in NSW since European settlement have been guided by Aboriginal peoples’ patterns of movement. Australia’s oldest city-to-city highway, Parramatta Road, connects sections of track long used by Aboriginal peoples of the Greater Sydney basin across the Eora nation.
Future Transport honours this history as the foundation for NSW’s way ahead. With transport networks continuing to use and connect the traditional lands of Aboriginal peoples across the state, the NSW Government will to improve the transport network in a way that respects the traditional owners of the land including the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage items.
Supporting reconciliation and strengthening Aboriginal communities
Future Transport supports OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility and Empowerment), the NSW Government’s plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. Future Transport also acknowledges the special role to be played by the transport sector in strengthening Aboriginal communities.
Under Future Transport, respecting and embracing the culture and values of our first nations at every stage of investment will realise the power of transport projects to make great places, as part of the broader move towards reconciliation.
Future Transport recognises Aboriginal peoples’ need for strong connections to social, professional, sporting, medical, education and employment activities. Using innovative technology and service delivery models, Transport for NSW will aim to improve access to these activities and reduce isolation.
An Aboriginal community consultation and protocols guide has been created to develop understanding across the cluster and assist in building partnerships with Aboriginal communities.
Other initiatives such as the NSW Aboriginal Participation in Construction policy will bring more Aboriginal people into the business of transport, and share in the economic and other benefits of the state’s growth.
Future directions to investigate
NSW will use transport improvements to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal communities.
- Use transport planning and social procurement to help achieve Closing the Gap targets by better connecting Aboriginal communities to employment, education and health services
- Continue implementing the Aboriginal Road Safety Plan, which includes training for child car seat installation, driver licensing access programs, provision of more transport options and developing and implementing an Aboriginal community engagement and capacity building program to support road safety in Aboriginal communities.
- Improve opportunities for people in Aboriginal communities to access sporting, cultural and social events as well as meet family and community obligations
A world-class travel experience for visitors
Improvements that make it easier for visitors to travel will also benefit the whole community
A visitor-friendly network connecting our most beautiful places
NSW is Australia’s top performing state for tourism. In 2015-16, the sector was worth $38.1 billion a year and employed more than 260,000 people, or one in every 14 jobs, in the state. Tourism is especially important to regional NSW, which accommodated 46 per cent of overnight stays in NSW in 2015-16, generating $10.5 billion in visitor expenditure.
In the year ending 2016, camping and caravan tourism, which relies on a safe and efficient road network, continued to be popular in NSW, with 4 million domestic caravan and camping visitors contributing an estimated $3 billion.
Customers from overseas and interstate expect services that are accessible, comfortable, easy to find and well connected to popular destinations. They also value wayfinding signage and access to mobile apps that help them plan and pay for seamless journeys.
In the future, tourists will increasingly expect connections between airports, cruise ship terminals, mass transit services, on-demand services and car and bike rentals.
Intrastate aviation will also be important in connecting Greater Sydney with our regions. The intrastate air routes that connect the North Coast holiday destinations of Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie are currently the busiest on the NSW air network.
Creating attractive and vibrant places that are well connected to the transport network will support the liveability of centres and also boost tourism. An example is Circular Quay Precinct Renewal, where the Government is exploring opportunities to leverage Government investment to partner with private capital. This will potentially allow a whole-of-precinct renewal that integrates a renewed and vibrant waterfront destination with a modern transport interchange.
Future directions to investigate
NSW will enable visitors to move around the network seamlessly and enjoy transport connections to attractions and tourist precincts.
- Improve public transport connections to arrival and departure points such as airports and cruise terminals
- Facilitate the development of new smartphone apps that provide a single point of information and allow tourists to purchase products that bundle travel with cultural activities and tourist attractions
- Provide clear wayfinding to assist visitors and infrequent transport users to navigate the network easily and seamlessly
Promote accessible tourism opportunities, including rural rail journeys, and provide accessible roadside facilities
 NSW Satellite Accounts 2015-16, Tourism Research Australia
 International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey YE June 2016 Tourism Research Australia
 National Visitor Survey, YE December 2016, Tourism Research Australia
For more information about how we are improving transport for visitors see the Tourism and Transport Plan