SA’s new public transport agency appoints director


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Rita McPhail has been appointed as Director of Customer Service and Transformation at the South Australian Public Transport Authority (SAPTA).

McPhail previously served as SA Power Networks’ Manager of Customer Service Engagement and Programs, and the Head of Digital Citizen services for the state’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet. She has more than 15 years’ experience in developing digital service delivery vision and strategy and leading digital-transformation programs.

Her new role involves delivering targets for customer satisfaction, service delivery and community engagement, focusing on information, ticketing and digital services.

SAPTA is a fairly new agency. Back in May, InDaily reported that all public transport service staff from SA’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure would transfer to SAPTA, to officially start on 1 July.

A division within the department, SAPTA was created to help combat the dwindling number of commuters choosing to use public transport. McPhail said she plans to make that happen.

“I’m looking forward to working with South Australians and visitors to the state so we can improve public transport services in line with expectations, ultimately increasing the use of our buses, trains and trams,” she said.

Just weeks ago, the state government revealed its plans to privatise Adelaide’s train and tram services, giving up its status as the only capital city in Australia to have a public tram system.

However, Melbourne is currently the only capital to have privatised its trains. SA’s Transport Minister Stephan Knoll has argued that Melbourne “has shown how this model can deliver sustained improved efficiency and customer service outcomes”, according to the Canberra Times.

He compared Melbourne’s huge growth in patronage with Adelaide’s seemingly unpopular transport service to further drive his point.

“The outsourcing of public transport services is a tried and proven model that leads to better services and increased patronage,” Knoll said.

The state government has said it will continue to control the fare price of transport under a privatised model.

McPhail’s role at SAPTA begins 12 August.

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