Busways is a transport solution provider that partners with Government agencies to operate innovative, reliable and flexible public transport services to Australian communities. The company provides school, route and on demand bus services along with expertise in transport operations, scheduling, customer experience, asset management and marketing and communications. An Australian family-owned company, Busways has grown from humble beginnings in 1942, with one car servicing one suburb, to a major transportation service provider delivering over 26 million passenger journeys per year. A focus on customer experience, quality service and employee development, combined with an ongoing commitment to innovation, has been the driving force underpinning this remarkable journey.
In March 2020, Sydney-based Busways was announced as the new bus operator of Adelaide’s Outer South network (covering Lonsdale and Seaford regions) in South Australia. It was the company’s first inter-state expansion and made Busways Australia’s largest privately owned bus operator.
Busways developed and implemented an excellent communications strategy to support the seamless transition of the Adelaide contract, including engagement and recruitment of the transferring workforce of 248 personnel and management of community and stakeholder perceptions of the change of bus operator.
Busways’ well-rounded communications strategy had to overcome the significant impediment of Covid-19 restrictions to develop a positive relationship with the transferring workforce and key stakeholders during the transition. Busways made sure to build rapport with the transferring workforce and unions through straightforward, authentic and regular communications to alleviate employee uncertainty and build confidence for a positive change of employer during what was a challenging time for many people. Busways adapted its Adelaide transition project communications strategy to meet health regulations, reducing reliance on traditional face-to-face methods and increasing the use of innovative digital communication channels to achieve desired outcomes.
The detailed and multi-faceted transition communications campaign supported the company’s successful approach to change management. Transferring employees felt comfortable, were informed to do their best job and the community was reassured that services would continue smoothly. On day one of operations, all shifts departed the depot on time, 100 per cent of drivers transitioned to the new operation and there were zero industrial relations issues or incidents.