Half of public sector transport leaders agree that new models must be embraced

New research released by Civica reveals that public-sector transport leaders recognise the need to commercialise services in order to survive budget cuts. A total of 48% agreed that their organisation needs to embrace new models – signalling positivity about changes ahead.

The research, which forms part of Civica’s Commercialising Public Sector Transport Operations report, highlights just how vital commercialisation will be to survive budget cuts. That said, the report calls for a greater need for education in this area with an overwhelming 73% of the public sector transport leaders we surveyed stating that they had no or limited commercial experience.

The report also calls for the need for a balance of education alongside increasing the appetite for risk, as this can hinder innovation when adopting new models.

However, lack of education isn’t the only barrier, there also needs to be a wholesale change in culture. For example, while many in the sector recognise the need to adopt commercialisation, 62% said that they are too focused on keeping services running to think about new models. This is why it’s crucial to bring external experts into organisations, not only to drive commercialisation but the culture change needed to embrace it.

For many, the idea of commercialisation is a daunting challenge; even staying afloat is a tough prospect for public sector transport providers. The research found that a strong leadership is required to develop a culture of commercially driven change and innovation. The need to reappraise the organisations’ appetite for risk and accept that not every idea will be commercially viable is vital. The report details the following three approaches to drive change:

  1. Challenge the culture: With any change programme it’s essential to win the hearts and minds of employees. 54% of respondents accept that employee buy-in and support for change will be crucial
  2. Grow commercial capability: Identify which services will deliver new income streams. Review if current business models and infrastructure can support delivery of new services. Access existing skills and look to train or recruit people with commercial experience
  3. Deliver pioneering services: Whilst many transport providers have already implemented cost cutting measures, the Forum agreed they need to review how they can utilise existing resources and assets to generate income whilst maintaining frontline services

Speaking of the opportunities facing the public sector, Matt Goodstadt, Managing Director, Transport, Civica said: “Transport is often seen as a cost to the organisation, but many frontline services depend on it. Through commercialisation, transport departments can generate significant revenue which can positively impact the entire organisation as well as protect frontline services, and even encourage further investment.”

For a more detailed look at the report and research click here.

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