Author: Gurby Griffiths

Onboard bus announcements to be mandatory

Onboard bus announcements to be law

30 March 2023 – Onboard bus announcements are to become mandatory across Britain’s bus network to enable disabled passengers to travel more confidently.

Today, the Department for Transport is introducing rules that will require almost every local bus or coach service to provide audible announcements and visual displays identifying the route and direction, each upcoming stop, and the beginning of any diversions.

Onboard bus announcements to be law

The government is supporting industry to upgrade their vehicles, with £4.65 million in funding for the smallest bus and coach companies, and the changes will be implemented gradually, with almost all vehicles required to comply by October 2026.

At present, there is patchy provision across the country, with only 30% of buses outside London providing this information, which can be a major barrier for disabled people wanting to travel by bus or coach.

Roads and Accessibility Minister Richard Holden said: “Everyone deserves to take the bus with confidence, and this is a massive boost for passenger independence. Simple and effective audible and visible information should be a baked-in feature of a modern bus service to help people reach their destination, wherever they travel in Great Britain.”

Read the full story: New onboard announcements to make Britain’s buses accessible for everyone

EPM Group aims for innovation in the efficiency chain

EPM Group aims for innovation in the efficiency chain

EPM Group aims to support bus operators as they grapple with uncertainties.

It’s a challenging time for bus operators with continuing uncertainties surrounding future funding, the building back of patronage following the Covid-19 pandemic, driver shortages and increasing traffic congestion.

Many are placing their operations and networks under the microscope, but software solutions specialist EPM Group (EPM Bus Solutions and Omnibus Solutions) believes the answer to many of the problems created by these complex issues can be found by focusing on improving efficiencies and streamlining processes.

EPM Group aims for innovation in the efficiency chain

Article featured in the Passenger Transport supplement for UK Bus & Coach 2023

“We’ve been working very closely on the efficiency chain,” says Nick Brookes, software director at EPM Group. “We are looking at the complete range of interactions that take place in any bus operator to see how we can help them realise savings and become even more agile.”

The focus of EPM Group is on realising efficiencies by creating an integrated operational platform. The key components of this vision are drivers and depot allocation, customer services and accidents, and engineering processes.

“We want the data and processes from each of those stages to talk to one another,” explains Nick. “Bus operators create huge amounts of data, but a lot of it is lost in translation. We want to take the data and translate it into information that enables bus operators to become more efficient.”

Helping with driver retention

Driver and vehicle allocation has been a key focus for the group. The Omnibus depot allocation system, OmniDAS, for real-time driver and vehicle management has been enhanced with a move to the cloud and the addition of a smartphone app that creates a complete self-service system for drivers to manage their working life. This includes the ability to offer remote sign-on facility, meaning drivers don’t even have to visit their home depot to sign on for work each day.

Nick BrookesNick believes the sum of these parts is a system that can assist operators to improve their driver retention goals, an important development at a time when much of the industry is struggling with shortages.

“It can really help drivers manage their home life while ensuring they are informed and connected with their colleagues,” he explains. “They can see their shift patterns, apply for overtime, swap their shifts – in other words, they don’t have to go to a front desk or speak to someone. There’s still oversight of what’s going on, but it becomes a back-office process. It makes things more efficient for everyone.”

Nick reveals there are plans to build on this self-service approach. A new bulletin board system within the app aims to supplement the traditional depot noticeboard, allowing staff to review important company information on the go.

Further enhancements are likely to see the app integrated into EPM’s accident management systems, in other words, drivers will be able to record vital details and evidence in the immediate aftermath of an accident. And on that EPM plans to later this year improve its accident reporting solution with new features that will assist operators in tracking accidents from when they happened right through to closure and then analysis afterwards. Nick adds this will allow operators to scrutinise insights that will help them drive down the possibility of a similar accident reoccurring.

Integrating systems

Those plans to integrate the app and accident reporting hint at other aspirations. Nick is keen to evolve the EPM Group of solutions into an expanded platform that helps bus operators realise efficiencies. He describes this as being about creating a “single source of truth”.

“What we want to do is create outputs for operators that offer a good, accurate and consistent overview,” he adds. “We want to streamline workflows and integrate them across the business.”

Nick highlights the operations platform elements of EPM’s offering. “Our Customer Resolution Centre is integrated into that,” he explains. “We wanted it to work harder to help operators rebuild patronage and it’s an area where some operators have struggled in the past.”

While other systems are about logging these interactions, EPM’s platform aims to be more proactive in addressing them. It can automatically consolidate customer feedback from multiple sources to produce a complete overview of customer interactions.

“It means operators can respond to customers quickly and efficiently from a range of platforms, including social media,” adds Nick. “Downstream processes, such as creating feedback forms from the staff involved or evidence requests are automated. It’s about resolving the issue quickly and creating a consolidated view of the entire process.”

Another example of that integration is in engineering systems. While EPM has no plans to create an engineering solution of its own, it is working with third-party providers to ensure systems ‘talk’ to one another in order to streamline processes.

Nick says a good example is if a vehicle is off-road for repair: the engineering system will talk with EPM’s systems to ensure the depot allocation system (OmniDAS) knows that the vehicle can’t be allocated for work for that day. It means that telephone calls or potentially unreliable paper-based methods between engineering and operations departments are avoided and there’s also the advantage that the entire process is automated.

Tying it all together

A big focus for some time for the EPM Group product team has been on control room processes.

“Our BIRS (Bus Incident Reporting Screen) solution enables operators to work flexibly and efficiently, but we want to expand on that,” explains Nick. “A lot of information already flows into and out of the operator’s control room, and we want to consolidate that data into a single dashboard. This is a key focus for us because it will allow control room staff to make more informed and proactive decisions.”

He adds that this process will take disparate systems out of their silos, consolidate them and then use historical data to allow operators to determine trends.

“Efficiency is a big focus for us this year,” Nick concludes.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2021-22

Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2021-22

29 March 2023 – The Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2021-22 statistical report has been published.

The publication presents statistics on public transport operated by Translink in Northern Ireland and brings together information on public transport journeys, vehicles and staff. It is produced by the Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (ASRB) of the Department for Infrastructure (Dfl).

Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2021-22

The key points covered are:

Public transport journeys

  • In 2021-22, there were 59.3 million journeys on public transport; this was an increase of 33.6 million or 131% since 2020-21 when movement restrictions were in place due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The number of passenger journeys in 2021-22 was still much lower than in 2019-20 (83.4 million) with the advice and guidance around COVID-19 and working from home likely having an impact on public transport usage.
  • During 2021-22, there were, 50.5 million bus passenger journeys, an increase of 126% when compared with 2020-21 (22.4 million), but a decrease of 26% from 2019-20 (68.3 million).
  • There were 8.7 million rail passenger journeys in 2021-22, an increase of 164% when compared with 2020-21 (3.3 million) but a decrease of 42% from 2019-20 (15.1 million).
  • In March 2022, the number of bus and rail passenger journeys reached their highest monthly levels since the beginning of the pandemic with 5.9 million and 1.03 million journeys respectively.

Public transport vehicles

  • At the end of March 2022, there were 1,064 Ulsterbuses, 262 Metro buses and 34 Gliders in operation which were, on average, 9.4 years, 8.8 years and 3.6 years old respectively.
  • At the end of March 2022, there were 143 rail carriages in operation, with an average age of 18 years.

Public transport staff

  • The average number of staff employed by Translink in 2021-22 was 4,064, 74% of those in relation to buses (3,027) and 26% of those in relation to rail (1,037).

Read the full document: Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2021-22

Podcast – Are you wasting time defining TransXChange variants?

defining TransXChange variants

Stop wasting time defining TransXChange variants. OmniTIMES is our intuitive timetabling solution with journeys in it that do what the user wants them to do. When the TransXChange file is exported, the variants are automatically generated without the user having to think about defining them. Find out more in the podcast.

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

Visit us at the ALBUM Conference 2023

Album Conference 2022 in Blackpool

Join us, Omnibus and EPM, on 25 & 26 April at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, for Album Conference 2023.

This year’s theme is the changing face of our industry focusing on four pillars within this – policy, customers, products, and colleagues. The event will be a celebration of all areas of the industry looking at both the present and future of the industry, and how we can navigate the challenges and maximise opportunity.

Album Conference 2022 in Blackpool

Visit our stand for product demos and speak with Software Director Nick Brookes, BSOG Director Matthew Hanlon, Account Manager Penny Johnson, Omnibus Founder Peter Crichton and Product Owner Aiden Proctor about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:

Event Itinerary.

Book your tickets.

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
1 Festival Square

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Podcast – Does your scheduling software allow for a combined bus operation?

combined bus operation

Does your scheduling software allow you to plan for a combined bus operation? Our timetabling solution OmniTIMES allows you to have as many route numbers as you need on the same timetable, which makes it easy to plan a combined operation along common sections of the route. Find out more in the podcast.

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

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See us at the CPT UK Bus & Coach Conference 2023

CPT UK Bus & Coach Conference 2023

Join us, Omnibus and EPM, on the 30th and 31st of March 2023 at the Eastside Rooms, Birmingham, for the UK Bus and Coach Conference hosted by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

The event brings together operators large and small with supply chain, key stakeholders and Government to debate, discuss and share experience of the big issues facing the industry.

CPT UK Bus & Coach Conference 2023

Visit our stand and speak with Software Director Nick Brookes and BSOG Director Mat Hanlon about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:

Visit the websiteUK Bus and Coach Conference 2023

What’s onConference itinerary

The Eastside Rooms
2 Woodcock Street
B7 4BL

Thursday 30 March 2023, 10:00 – 17:00 hrs
Friday 21 March 2023, 09:00 – 13:00 hrs

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Reading Buses adopts Omnibus cloud solutions

Reading Buses using cloud solutions

1 March 2023 – Reading Buses is building on its relationship with Omnibus by migrating its scheduling and operations software to the cloud and implementing a new driver app to improve communication.

The operator will move its timetabling, mapping, vehicle scheduling, rostering and data sharing software to a cloud-based scheduling platform to allow for seamless collaboration on jobs, increase accuracy and gain enhanced reporting capabilities.

Reading Buses - cloud solutions

Its depot allocation system, OmniDAS, will be upgraded to the cloud-native version of the solution, enabling the operator to work holistically across all its operations and report on depots individually and as a collective.

Linked to OmniDAS cloud, the operator will implement driver app OmniENGAGE. This will enable Reading Buses to provide its drivers with the ability to submit holiday requests, shift swaps and overtime requests along with an option to push out communication from the business.

Together, the cloud solutions will eliminate infrastructure costs and provide the capabilities Reading Buses needs to streamline processes on a secure and flexible platform.

Laurence Jenkins, Reading Buses

Laurence Jenkins, Finance Director at Reading Buses, said: “Omnibus systems already play a critical role in ensuring we deliver reliable services cost-effectively.

“Adopting the cloud-based solutions will enable council-owned Reading Buses to continue working towards delivering on our priorities such as reducing car dependency for visitors and residents and making buses the best and easiest choice to get around.

“We are excited and proud to extend our partnership with Omnibus and look forward to increased levels of transparency and accountability across the operation.”

Reading Buses operates over 140 buses and delivers 66,000 passenger journeys each day across the county of Berkshire and extending into Oxfordshire and Hampshire as well as parts of Greater London.

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “We are thrilled to be building on our relationship with Reading Buses, providing them with more solutions to further improve the efficiencies of their business. At Omnibus we are always looking for ways to improve our solutions and implement the latest technology to enable operators of all sizes to make better-informed decisions about their network.”


Reading Buses:

Omnibus Solutions:

Press contact at EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
07538 935 568

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

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D&G Bus increases online ticket sales with Omnibus timetable publicity solution

D&G Bus use Omnibus roadside publicity solution

D&G Bus, part of Centrebus Group, operates in Cheshire, Staffordshire and extends into Derbyshire and creates roadside publicity for stops not managed by a transport authority.

Following its expansion to include Chaserider, D&G’s managed bus stops have increased to 1,000, of which the new brand accounts for 70%.

The discrepancy is due to Chaserider’s stops being closer together and responsibility for maintaining displays in Stafford, Cannock and Lichfield resting with the operator.


It immediately became apparent to D&G that a purpose-built solution was needed to prevent roadside publicity becoming a full-time job. As well as accelerating productivity, the solution needed to provide stop-specific displays with return journey times to reduce the high number of customer enquiries. It also required capability to combine timetables for rural stops with a case only on one side of the road. Achieving this in a spreadsheet was proving very complex with an increased risk of errors. 


An existing customer of the Omnibus scheduling suite, D&G implemented OmniSTOPdesign, which simplifies the creation of timetable publicity. Four key features stood out to D&G:  

  • Timetable data is taken directly from OmniTIMES, ensuring accuracy and data integrity 
  • In-built database to store case information and easily assign templates to stops 
  • User-configurable templates provide complete freedom over style, size and format 
  • Batch create PDF output in-house and without third-party software or support 


OmniSTOPdesign has enabled D&G Bus to optimise roadside publicity, increase online sales and improve customer satisfaction.

“We wanted to make timetable publicity administration faster and more efficient. It now takes 3 seconds to create one panel instead of 15 minutes. We wanted to spend less time answering enquiries by providing better information. We generate thousands of pounds a week more in online ticket sales by adding our app to displays. Passengers can also access real-time journey information by scanning a QR code.” – Chris Almond, Centrebus Group Commercial Officer 

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

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Go East Anglia to gain bus stop timetable publicity efficiencies with Omnibus

Go East Anglia to gain bus stop timetable publicity efficiencies with Omnibus

23 February 2023 – Go East Anglia is building on its partnership with Omnibus by implementing timetable publicity solution OmniSTOPdesign to gain efficiencies and realise cost savings. 

OmniSTOPdesign enables the rapid production of public transport displays through customisable templates, which allow for route branding, graphics, logos and marketing messages. The solution links with OmniTIMES, directly taking timetable data from it to ensure information is accurate and up to date. 

Hedingham Bus, Go East Anglia timetable publicity

The Go-Ahead Group-owned operator, which serves Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, also uses Omnibus for mapping, vehicle and crew scheduling, rostering and data exchange. 

Davina Langley, Marketing Manager, Go East Anglia

Davina Langley, Marketing Manager at Go East Anglia, said: “Roadside publicity is a core element to the success of Go East Anglia and is used to draw customers to our services. The way we produce roadside media is not sustainable and is causing a big drain on important staffing resource.  

“OmniSTOPdesign will streamline the production of roadside media and significantly reduce internal resource. We’re pleased to extend our partnership with Omnibus, whose scale and depth of expertise will help us deliver a better service to customers.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “We’ve had the pleasure to work closely with Go East Anglia for years and this new agreement is a strong expression of trust in our expertise and solutions, which are continuously being improved to meet customer needs. 

OmniSTOPdesign is used by both operators and transport authorities. The configurable template system provides full control over displays, giving users complete flexibility to deliver passenger information in the most appropriate format.”


Go East Anglia:

Omnibus Solutions:

Press contact at EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
07538 935 568

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.