Evaluation system for management and exploitation models of urban bus services

Client: AMTU (Associació de Municipis per la Mobilitat i el Transport Urbà)
Dates: 2017

Different municipal services have been managed by either public or private operators. Currently however, some of these services which are managed by private operators have been questioned and returned to the public management. Urban bus transport is not an exception.

Due to this situation, it is necessary to establish a general guide considering criteria beyond exploitation costs and allowing public administration to evaluate and determine which is the most appropriate management model in each context of application.

The guide, named BusVALUA and based on the legal framework, analyze different predefined alternatives considering the nature of the operator and the transference of risks among the agents. For example, one of these alternatives can be a public management service provided directly with the structure and resources of the public Administration; or the opposite case, a private management case that includes a total transference of the operational risk as well as the property of the vehicles. The variety of possible cases results to be very large.

After a set of possible alternatives, BusVALUA guide proposes an evaluation structured in two phases: identification of feasible solutions and multiple decision criteria analysis.

The first phase, identification of feasible solutions, consists in determining which of the set of alternatives proposed are truly possible to be implemented. Taking into account prerequisites established by public administration as well as private operators a three-dimension analysis is carried out according to three key factors: legal, operational and financial-economic.

The second phase considers only the feasible alternatives coming from the phase one. It consists in a multiple decision criteria analysis, based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), which consist in an evaluation of different criteria that make it possible to evaluate the alternative in a wide range. As a result, the best-graded alternative is proposed for implementation.

In practice, the BusVALUA guide has been implemented in the urban bus public transport of Mataró (Barcelona) and is currently being analyzed for the city of Terrassa (Barcelona).