L H. Rogers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - busway, organisation - management, organisation - privatisation, organisation - privatisation, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Transit, South Australia, Ridership, Regulatory policy, Public transit, Privatization, Privatisation, Politics, Policy, Policies, Patronage (Transit ridership), Mass transit, Management, Local transit, Government policy, Busways


In 1980 the state of South Australia contracted with the German supplier of a new busway technology called O-Bahn. The project produced an 11.8-km busway alignment that was built in two phases with public operation in 1986 and 1989. Although the technology has functioned without fault and the safety record is excellent, the project has not experienced robust patronage growth or political success. During the 1990s public transit has been privatized and overall system ridership has declined by 30%. The long-term relationship between the foreign contractor and the local managers and staff failed to create a positive atmosphere for ongoing work, whether locally, nationally, or abroad. Although local and state officials provide positive public comment about their happiness with the technology, their management and policy actions suggest tepid belief in the concept.