Multimodality is a key strength of Keolis Downer that stems from our extensive experience across a wide range of transport modes.

Keolis not only operates metro, heavy rail, light rail, regular and high-frequency bus services but also manages bikes, cable cars, river/sea ferries, on-demand transport, private driver services and parking. Keolis Downer’s objective is to provide a seamless door-to-door journey.

The Integrated Journey

At Keolis Downer, we are mode agnostic and customer-centric. Our focus on the total journey is driven by the way the customer sees their transport experience. They do not tend to think about the type of operator and mode; rather, they remember whether their latest journey left a positive impression or not.

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Keolis is responsible for the whole transport network in 13 major French cities.

Delivering a Seamless Door-to-Door Journey

Thinking like a customer has led us to revolutionise the delivery of public transport. The previous model was led by engineering, and now, decisions are made to suit the customer. Multimodal journeys are an outcome of that change.

Choice is now maximised, as we acknowledge that travel circumstances change. Ninety percent of customers change their travel habits every three days, and they catch, on average, 1.7 modes of transport. Individual customers vary daily between choosing slower journeys that avoid a change of mode and placing speed above comfort.

To meet passenger demand for different transport modes on the same journey, operators also need to meet new customer demands for;

  • Quality information at interchanges
  • Phone chargers in seats
  • Wi-Fi access
  • A carbon-conscious form of travel, where possible.

Systems that are truly multimodal or modally agnostic are more time-efficient to run because services can be better matched to demand. As long as the experience is positive, customers will walk a little further to the train station for greater capacity and a more frequent service.

Overseas, Keolis has proven that patronage increases when good multimodal outcomes are delivered, such as in Orléans Val de Loire, France. In the words of the President of the Orléans community, Charles-Eric Lemaignen;

“Our work with Keolis has helped us optimise our transport network. For example, we have completely reorganised bus lines to ensure they better complement the second tram line. In the space of a year, this has led to an increase in passenger numbers from 26 million to 30 million. We have also set up a joint programme to reduce fare evasion, supported by an advertising campaign and more ticket checks. These initiatives have significantly optimised the efficiency of our network.”

The average journey to work uses 1.7 modes of transport.

Keolis Downer Multimodality Expertise

Keolis is responsible for the entire transport network in 13 major French cities where the operator has greater responsibility and incentives to ensure multimodal outcomes. These operators have a governance structure that differs from what is common in Australia; many of the functions performed by French operators are undertaken by Australian public transport authorities, such as ticketing, interchange management and network design.

As the operator in the French model controls the full range of assets, this enables flexible service delivery. For example, the operator has buses replace tram services in the event of a network incident. This ensures that the customer is always put first and one party, the operator, has full accountability in returning services to normal.

In Bordeaux, France, multimodality is simply a way of life for Keolis, who are the network manager for more than 120 million passenger journeys each year. Better multimodal outcomes have been achieved via a revised bus network with improved connections to trams, greater frequency of services, and extended hours of service. Keolis also launched VCub, a bike-share scheme, and Batcub, a river shuttle and an innovative signage system, to guide passengers on their journey.

The focus on improving interchanges, a key issue for passengers, resulted in improvements to 12 Bordeaux interchange points. The outcome of these and other initiatives has been a 20% increase in service kilometres, particularly during off-peak hours, evenings and weekends – which reflects the changing lifestyles of our passengers.

Keolis is one of the world’s leading operators of multimodal transport networks

Multimodal Transport in Australia and New Zealand

Keolis Downer started operating the multimodal transport network in Newcastle on 1 July 2017. It includes buses, ferries and light rail. This is the first multimodal public transport contract to be delegated to a private operator in Australia. Keolis Downer is focused on improving the public transport network along with Transport for New South Wales, by;
  • Enhancing passenger signage
  • Redesigning the bus network
  • Increasing service frequency and reliability
  • Providing a better overall passenger experience.

The Gold Coast Light Rail, G:link, has seen the unprecedented cooperation of three levels of Government, in addition to greater coordination between transport modes. The introduction of light rail to the Gold Coast in 2014 facilitated the redesign of the bus network, ensuring cooperation between modes of transport and a seamless experience for passengers. There are now more bus services and extended hours with an increased frequency of services. Keolis Downer’s expertise has also been applied to interchange points. The Broadbeach South light rail and bus interchange is an example of what can be achieved when multimodal solutions are well planned.

In Melbourne, a similar positive outcome has been achieved by Keolis Downer, with a combined tram and bus platform stop recently created outside the Crown entertainment complex in Clarendon Street, Southbank. This is the only place on the network where buses and trams set down passengers at the same stop infrastructure. It is a small example of how thinking in a multimodal manner has led to a better customer outcome while maximising the use of a refurbished transport asset.

The entrepreneurial Keolis Downer team in South Australia has been operating the demand responsive service Dial-a-Ride for many years, for people in Victor Harbour, Murray Bridge, Gawler, and the Barossa. This service is being enhanced to use the latest technology and offer better customer outcomes. In Mount Barker, Keolis Downer has been trialing a very successful On Demand service with nearly 2000 passengers per week.

The massive current and planned investment in transport infrastructure in Australia will no doubt deliver some world-class assets. To ensure that such quality infrastructure is fully utilised, we need to collectively focus on improving transport interchanges, passenger information and network planning.

Taking Passengers from Start to Finish

The first and last mile of a passenger’s journey is often the site of the poorest outcomes. This is where the responsibility of the public transport authority and operator ends, and that of the councils begin. In addition to providing appropriate lighting, clear signage and digital tools to facilitate the door-to-door journey, operators have to be innovative and provide the right mobility solution to make public transport more accessible.

First and last mile connectivity is a key component of the integrated network, yet it is often overlooked. To avoid this, we need to embrace new governance models to factor in all network planning and to identify the responsible parties.

Around the world, no other operator has as much proven experience in;

  • Designing integrated networks
  • Managing multimodal contracts
  • Creating and managing intermodal hubs and interchanges
  • Delivering ‘last mile’ solutions on behalf of the public transport authority or local Government