Chris Hale

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - finance, land use - smart growth, mode - mass transit, place - asia, place - australasia, place - north america


business model, mass transit, Australia


A discussion of prevailing mass transit business models in Australia and further afield – and a look at future prospects for evolution and refinement. Across Australia, each capital city has a unique mass transit business model in place. These models are often the result of slow evolution from historic precedent, or sometimes the consequence of sharp changes in direction and policy. A progressive view of the mass transit business would take in lessons from high-performing exemplars overseas. In the United States, certain transit agencies perform strongly on cost recovery and planning, while also being subject to rigorous requirements for open reporting and accountability. The privatised UK market offers an interesting insight into future prospects for franchising arrangements in Australian markets. In East Asia, a property-centric rail business model produces outstanding outcomes in operator profitability, strategic license, and land-use integration. This paper engages observationally with the business strategies, strategic approaches, and commercial performance of selected urban rail industry frameworks. Growth-oriented, commercially responsive business postures seem to offer an opportunity for positive change in the Australian industry.