Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games


Major Events Planning and Management

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

Client: Victorian Department of Transport, Australia
Date: 2004–2006

Project Description

During the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, a team from Phillip Boyle & Associates, supported by Booz & Company, had overall responsibility for development, planning and management of all spectator bus services.

The range of bus services included:

  • Regular route services (extended hours of operation and increased service levels)
  • Spectator shuttle services to sporting venues
  • Services for mobility-impaired spectators to ensure accessibility
  • Nightrider (all-night) services
  • Airport services
  • Contingency services for the entire public transport network.


Bus services were particularly successful during the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, with over 200,000 additional passengers carried over this period. The services were delivered within budget and with a high degree of reliability. The mobility-impaired-only services provided a new benchmark for accessible service to event venues.

Scope of Works

Key Tasks

The project was undertaken over two specific phases:

Planning Phase – During this pre-Games phase, covering almost 18 months, a comprehensive service plan was proposed and developed. Key activities included:

  • Modelling demand and providing estimates
  • Developing budget estimates
  • Submitting operating plans
  • Managing the overall project
  • Presenting plans to government, industry groups, operators and Melbourne 2006 representatives
  • Soliciting operating bids and awarding contracts
  • Providing bus operator and driver training.

Operating Phase – During the Games period, Phillip Boyle & Associates staff managed the bus services from the Games Operations Centre. Tasks included:

  • Managing all spectator bus services
  • Adjusting plans based on changing circumstances
  • Enacting new services and contracting new operations
  • Daily reporting of service activities, issues and adjustments
  • Completing a post-Games review and summary.

Key Challenges

Major events transportation presents a range of challenges, mostly around resource mobilisation (bus resources become increasingly scarce to cover the entire transport task).

An event such as the Commonwealth Games requires coordination with a wide range of stakeholders and service providers. As well as directly engaging and managing contracted operators, Phillip Boyle & Associates also took a lead role in coordinating industry-wide resources.

The requirement to develop services based on a range of variable demand inputs is a significant planning challenge. In particular, arrival and departure profiles tend to be unknown. The intensity of passenger arrival profiles can significantly change demand during specific time periods.

Commonwealth Games Melbourne Map

Bus network overlaid on ticket-data heat map

Melbourne Commonwealth Games

Buses ready for event egress


"Phillip Boyle consistently provided a high level of expertise, advice and management of the scheduling process. His strong technical skills and thorough understanding of transport operations were major assets to the provision of the Olympic and Paralympic games transportation services."

Organising Committee for the Athens Olympic Games, Athens 2004

"Phillip Boyle & Associates has supported the development of the SmartBus program through the planning and implementation phases. In particular on Route 901 and 902 he developed the timetable and worked with the multiple bus operators to create scheduling solutions for implementation. This included not only creating the vehicle runs and crew shifts but also development of information for the systems that support SmartBus technologies. In each case implementation went very smoothly and high levels of scheduling efficiency were achieved. Phillip’s operational expertise and ability to successfully work with the bus operators involved was critical to the successful implementation of these services."

Chris Bright, Manager SmartBus, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding expertise in assisting Sydney Ferries with development of its successful operating bid, driving the development of a range of “outside the box” options aimed at improving service quality and increasing efficiency levels. Phillip Boyle’s combination of technical operations capabilities and commercial experience provided Sydney Ferries with significant benefits during this process."

Denis Mole, Chief Operating Officer, Sydney Ferries, NSW

"A highly successful implementation has been achieved, complete with substantial network changes and a complete rewriting of all operating timetables. During the scheduling process Phillip Boyle & Associates worked closely with both TransLink and ourselves to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a result the operation has been made simpler and substantially more robust. Implementation was helped significantly by Phillip Boyle’s operational planning and scheduling expertise."

Paul Davies, General Manager, Westside Bus Service, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding planning, operations and implementation expertise. The project was difficult due to the complex nature of the service (local, intertown and line haul services operating under a timed-transfer system) and the number of stakeholders involved. Phillip Boyle’s hands-on approach ensured a difficult implementation went smoothly. He worked effectively with a variety of stakeholders ranging from large and small bus companies, Department of Transport staff, Metlink and local government representatives. Not only did Mr Boyle help to redesign the service, but he also drove the implementation, including development of a regional timetable in a new format."

John Storrie, General Manager – Strategic Planning & Policy, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle provided scheduling support for Brisbane Transport over several projects spanning almost ten years. The range of projects he has assisted with cover the scheduling, planning and human resources disciplines. In that time he has demonstrated high levels of scheduling, planning and operations expertise. I look forward to working with Phillip Boyle & Associates in the future and would highly recommend them to an organisation looking for planning, operations or scheduling expertise."

Roman Gafa, Network Scheduling Manager, Brisbane Transport, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates developed our operating bid for the V/Line services. Not only did they assist with format, structure and content, but also developed our operating plan and pricing strategies. Our bid success was due in no small part to the professionalism of Phillip Boyle, his ability to prepare a high-quality operating bid, and his detailed understanding of operations. Upon winning the bid, Phillip Boyle & Associates provided implementation support and advice necessary to ensure a successful implementation of the services."

Frank Bono, Managing Director, Firefly Express, Victoria

"Having worked with Phillip Boyle over many years I can say without a doubt he provides industry-leading expertise in the planning, scheduling and operation of public transportation services. His recent work on the Advanced Transit Scheduling Manual reinforced this view."

Dan Boyle, President, Dan Boyle & Associates, USA