21 April 1997

Following initial misgivings by many Queensland bus and coach operators in 1995 that they had to return to study to be accredited, more than 800 people have completed a University of Queensland course, and they are hungry for more.

Course graduates have signalled their intent for more professional development with the formation of their own Transport Studies Alumni.

The University's Graduate School of Management (GSM) has launched an Alumni association for graduates of the Certificate of Transport Management program it conducts throughout Queensland for the Queensland Department of Transport.

About 838 people from Cairns to the Gold Coast have enrolled in the program since 1995, some returning to formal study for the first time in 30 or 40 years.

Program director and lecturer in the GSM Malcolm Johnson said the Transport Studies Alumni would create opportunities for networking and for members to keep informed of issues that impacted on the industry.

'The Alumni will actively support development and maintenance of good operating standards across the bus and coach industry and will provide a professional development mechanism,' he said.

'It will enable members to tap into the wealth of experience existing among operators.'

The Association was launched at a ceremony at the University's Staff and Graduates Club at St Lucia on April 22. Director-General of Transport Bruce Wilson presented a further 28 people with certificates of transport management.

Mr Johnson said in 1995 the GSM won a $750,000 contract to develop and deliver the Certificate of Transport Management course for the Queensland Department of Transport. The course followed significant reforms to bus and coach industry programs in 1994.

The certificate program accredits bus and coach operators to run their businesses safely and successfully. It highlights industry best practice and provides an opportunity for operators to optimise their business operations. Courses offered include School Services, Long Distance, Tour and Charter, and Commercial/Urban Services.

Participants completing the eight-day Commercial course are accredited for all types of operations, including School Services, and Long Distance, Tour and Charter.

Topics covered in the Commercial course include the bus and coach industry in Queensland, accounting for business management, services marketing, business development, human resource management, safety routines and programmed maintenance, bus operations, and scheduling and timetabling.

The course was developed by the GSM working closely with a Queensland Department of Transport team and industry groups comprising the Bus Operators Association of Queensland and the Bus and Coach Association of Queensland.

'The underlying philosophy of the Certificate of Transport Management is to provide an opportunity for operators to work on their businesses,' Mr Johnson said.

'Too frequently, operators are consumed by a myriad of day-to-day operational issues. The courses provide a forum to analyse and discuss practical best-practice issues relating to the direction of their businesses.'

There are an estimated 1200 bus and coach operators in Queensland.

Inaugural Transport Studies Alumni president is Gwen Brooks of Glasshouse Country Coaches of Beerwah, who has been in business for 14 years, employs 21 people and owns 19 vehicles.

Other committee members are: Reagan Forsyth of Mackay Transit Coaches; Jeff Mitchell of Brisbane Bus Lines; Iris Gillingham of Cross Country Tours (Brisbane); Justin Cannon of Murray's Coaches (Gold Coast); Murray Priebbenow of Maryborough, Hervey Bay Coaches; Jonathon Cook of Hornibrook Bus Lines (Brisbane); Cos Sita of Coachtrans (Gold Coast); Jeanette Price of Suncity Tours (Cairns); Phillip Young of Young's Bus Service, Rockhampton; Kaylee Lewis of Clark's Bus Service (Loganholme); and Joan Comino (Tolga).

Between them, committee members have 301 years of industry experience, own 846 vehicles and employ 1327 people.

For further information, contact Mr Johnson, telephone 365 6667.