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Comments on Draft Guidelines


(Updated Summary)

Since our meeting I understand more the predicament on this subject but I still want to state my view here. At the bottom of these notes are the original ones I had at our meeting if you choose to read them. They are long and probably not necessary now but have sent as requested.

At first I thought the claim of an added allowance to the rates was so strange that it had to be untrue and was simply another Department strategy implemented to yet again deny us these promised rates, reinforced after hearing you and Phil debating both the method and the amount. To me, it seemed strange that if already included, then that figure/percentage should have already been known. Since asking a friend who performs costings for large companies, she said it would depend on the formula used with any allowance being incorporated within it.

My problem though, is with exactly what the allowance was for. I know you say it is for Google inaccuracies and I would take this to mean varying mapped distances. I.E. Point A to point B could vary slightly in mapped Km’s. But it seems this allowance is also to cover Google’s incapability’s. These are two entirely different things. I wonder if any formula can include an amount for a system ‘incapable’ of the performance desired? Google in its current state cannot produce a viable route in every instance. If it provides a route over nonexistent roads or allows illegal or impossible turns then the chosen “tool” it is not practical.

I still believe that whatever is necessary to be driven to safely achieve the result is the true “shortest practicable route” despite what Google may show, and this route should be the price basis with the allowance only to cover varying mapped distance amounts or unexpected detours. BUT, since the department can’t provide the resources to manually decipher a route’s viability and they choose to disbelieve an operator, the solution for us would be to FIX Google.

Sounds strange and it is a lengthy process, but it is achievable. All we ask is that on request, a run would be re mapped for accuracy. Do you think the Department would oblige with this?

I am still learning the process, but last weekend successfully edited two sections of a route that uses a nonexistent road by reverting them. They have been approved and will soon “go live” thereby being displayed as such to all Google users. We can edit many obstructions to a route with this method (No Right Turns, Median Strips etc) but it will be a long way off (if at all) to have a route selection that shows the correct side of the road. So a bit of a Win, Win don’t you think? Operators will eventually be paid closer to what they actually drive and the Department can still save on the other.

In the interim, both “Whereis” and “Bing” only show complete roads in their routes so if an irate operator is insistent perhaps a manual cross reference with these other mapping systems might “calm the wild beast”.

Personally, I think 10 Km’s is too high to expect someone to drive before they can request a variation. Especially since they will be aware other operators are receiving this regardless. Suggestion – Whatever total figure you decide upon, it would maybe be best to halve it and word it separately for AM and PM rather than a daily total as it will sound more acceptable. A bit like in a shop – $299 rather than $300.

Can you let me know what the end figure will be please because people are phoning me about this and I try (in most cases) not to inform them of this included allowance while you and Phil are deciding on the amount and the wording.

(Original Notes)

What is the definition of “The Shortest Practical Route”?

Practicable (Contract term used is better suited)

1. capable of being done; feasible

2. usable

To Operators, the “Shortest Practicable Route” means the shortest route necessary to collect all approved people on the run and deliver them safely to the school in the shortest time possible. This means the route necessary to achieve this even if that route needs to be extended by the use of roundabouts or side streets for safe turning places to allow the vehicle to be on the correct side of the road if unable to pull into or reverse out of a driveway. It means the route necessary to be driven to avoid known hazards and avoidable delays. It means the route that is the likely route a rational person would select which would achieve the desired result in the shortest possible distance combined with the shortest possible time in the safest possible manner.

There is a duty of care which makes it necessary to be on the correct side of the road for students safety so it would naturally follow that any route needed to achieve this should be classified as part of that route. The Department should acknowledge this Duty of Care and include ALL loaded kilometres otherwise they are not mapping the true practicable route necessary to obtain the result.

Google’s point to point method is not designed to display anything more than a point on the road outside the given address. It cannot always distinguish between a broken or unbroken line, a median strip or even the existence of a driveway. By showing the shortest route it cannot show the safest route. It does not show alternatives for peak time traffic often suggesting viable right hand turns onto 6 lane highways. It is quite flawed in its inability to distinguish between actual roads and proposed roads and it cannot decide which school entrance is required to be used.

Every run should be mapped in accordance with each address and how it can safely be achieved to get there. Whatever route is necessary on a daily basis to safely pick up and deliver the students IS the route and nothing less. An allowance that may be included in the rates should be for the unexpected detours NOT the usual.

I can think of a few ways to do this but probably all time consuming. The easiest way would be to ask the drivers but since it appears we are ALL dishonest then the Department may need to check each run manually to determine its feasibility.

Basis for Payment.

The basis for payment should not be determined using a flawed and inaccurate mapping system. Rather, this “tool” should be used to establish a guide of what would be the bare minimum then include the Actual Km’s so that ALL loaded Km’s necessary to complete the run safely is the Basis of Payment. Any deviations from the TRUE “shortest practicable route” whether by choice or by occasional necessity would be covered by any allowance ‘included’ in the rates.

The Allowance.

It is unethical to require that an operator sign and agree to rates disclosed to them as being that which will be paid for loaded Km’s for the “shortest practicable route”, then at a later stage inform them that they will not be paid for ALL of the loaded kilometres of this route because unbeknown to them, an allowance was already included.

You cannot expect honesty or respect from operators who are continually being dictated as to how much they are REALLY going to be paid by changing the rates they have agreed upon. They AGREED to be paid at a set rate for loaded Km’s for the shortest practicable route. To now tell them that Google will determine what that route is and pay accordingly, regardless of its feasibility, is nothing short of deceitful.

I would hardly call 10km’s a day “minor additional distances”, especially after accepting a run determined by Km’s that will now not be paid. This is a substantial amount to surrender whilst they are still expected to perform the work.

At the other end, there will be operators who some will see as gaining this extra amount without the expense. I must say here, the Department, who try so hard to prevent the dishonest minority gaining, by penalizing the honest majority, seems rather contradictory now that all operators are supposedly being “generously rewarded” with payment for a FREE 10 Km’s every day. Hardly in keeping with the general practices so it appears highly unbelievable.

It is easy to say ‘after the fact’ that the rates include this or that or something else down the track to try and justify deducting rightful and deserved money, but it is not honest, it is not right and it is not justified. It will deservedly be labelled yet again, another “ASTU Tactic.”


Accurately determine Km’s necessary to drive a run from the first pick up to last drop off in a safe and timely fashion using a route chosen by Google, modified by the department and if necessary, amended by the operator.

Total Loaded Kilometres is the Basis for payment – NOT – Actual less 10.

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