Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - australasia, organisation - workforce planning, economics - operating costs


crew scheduing, bus companies, Victoria, rostering, labour cost reduction


This research paper explores the relative importance of strategic and tactical objectives during the crew scheduling and rostering process between smaller and larger bus companies via a survey of bus companies in Victoria, Australia. Results indicate that larger bus companies emphasise reduced labour cost through maximising their operational efficiency. They acknowledge the importance of keeping their customers satisfied and to a lesser extent their drivers, however, doing so is not as important as it is to smaller organisations. Whilst reducing labour cost plays an important role to small bus companies their main focus is maximising customer service levels. To a lesser extent keeping their drivers satisfied is also important, however, in both cases smaller companies are willing to sacrifice labour cost and operational efficiencies to ensure these two objectives are met.
A modelling exercise was undertaken to determine the impacts of applying large company priorities to small bus operators. The key strategic objective applied during this process was reducing labour cost whilst at an operational level maximising the use of on-road meal break locations and reducing meal breaks during peak periods were the focus. As anticipated in both cases the labour costs were reduced (by between 1.5% and 13.3%). Dead running distances increased in both cases, however, these would have a minor impact on overall operating costs savings.
The results of both this survey and subsequent modelling have implications for both research and practice. Research in the area of crew scheduling and rostering for smaller companies has been quite limited. Most literature has focussed primarily on the objectives of larger companies. Implications for future research and practice are identified.
1. Introduction