Author: Gurby Griffiths

Transdev Blazefield revolutionises Team Pennine with Omnibus cloud-native depot allocation system

Team Pennine bus

20 July 2022 – Transdev Blazefield is using Omnibus to revolutionise operations at its subsidiary Team Pennine – and streamline work processes and collaborative working across locations. 

The operator bought the former Yorkshire Tiger business from Arriva in July 2021 and took the decision to move the team onto OmniDAS, the new cloud-native complete depot allocation system. 

Team Pennine bus

Since implementation, the solution has transformed forward and on-the-day planning at Team Pennine’s operations in Halifax and Huddersfield, both in West Yorkshire. 

Vitto Pizzuti, Transdev Operations DirectorVitto Pizzuti, Operations Director at Transdev Blazefield, which serves Lancashire, North & West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, said: “This is a significant milestone for Team Pennine and Transdev. As a group we are proud to deliver a quality and reliable service for our customers and to do this we need the best tools for our team to do their jobs. 

“We are excited to be the first to adopt cloud-native OmniDAS. The solution has revolutionised Team Pennine, giving the team the capability to manage its pool of 120 drivers from a single platform.  

“This enhanced collaboration between Team Pennine operations will streamline work processes, giving our depot controllers the time to focus on more important tasks. This increase in operational efficiency will also significantly reduce the risk of errors within the business.” 

Vitto added: “The Omnibus team has the expertise and a thorough understanding of the UK bus market to deliver solutions which confidently meet operator requirements.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “Decades of experience and industry knowledge go into the development and enhancement of our solutions. As a result, we offer unmatched capability and flexibility for improving efficiency, reducing costs and mitigating risk.  

“We’re delighted OmniDAS has improved efficiency at Team Pennine and look forward to continuing our trusted partnership with Transdev Blazefield.” 

– ENDS –

Omnibus Solutions:

Press contact at Omnibus Solutions, part of EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
07538 935 568

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

£130 million to protect bus services across the country

Passenger on bus. Bus service funding

19 August 2022 – Buses across England will benefit from up to £130 million of government support, ensuring services keep running and millions of passengers can continue using affordable transport.

The funding package announced today will cover 6 months from October 2022 to March 2023, and builds on almost 2 years’ worth of unprecedented government support to keep bus networks running.

Passenger on bus. Bus service funding

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion.”

The government is also investing £3 billion in bus services by 2025, including over £1 billion to improve fares, services and infrastructure, and a further £525 million for zero emission buses.

Tanat Valley Coaches selects Omnibus depot allocation solution to gain operational efficiencies

Tanat Valley Coaches selects Omnibus depot allocation solution

29 July 2022 – Family-owned Tanat Valley Coaches, on the Shropshire-Welsh border, has chosen the Omnibus cloud-native depot allocation software solution to improve operational efficiency and support business growth. 

The investment in OmniDAS comes following the operator’s acquisition of bus services in and around Oswestry town centre in September 2021, previously operated by Arriva. 

Tanat Valley Coaches selects Omnibus depot allocation solution

Founded in 1921, Tanat Valley Coaches provides public bus services and school transport across a vast area of Mid Wales and Shropshire and has a fleet of 40 vehicles. The operator also offers excursions, tours and private hires, and works closely with Shrewsbury Town Football Club, ferrying their fans to and from home games, and helping supporters to attend matches further afield. 

Chris Chadd, Managing Director of Tanat Valley Coaches, said: “To ensure our bus services are delivered efficiently, we needed a complete depot allocation system which streamlined work processes from allocating resources through to performance reporting. 

“OmniDAS completely meets our needs, being cloud-based and scalable whilst providing operational control of drivers’ hours, wage payment feeds into SAGE and a reduction of current administrative processes.” 

OmniDAS provides transport operators with the capability to deliver services safely and legally whilst minimising costs and providing real-time driver and vehicle management control. Together with data flows to human resources, payroll and operations, the solution will enable Tanat Valley Coaches to optimise resources and reduce administration costs.  

Chris added: “As a company operating for 101 years, we wanted to bring the business forward to the 21st century with investment and start to work smarter by digitalising processes and expanding the business. To do this, we needed a partner with industry experience and a proven, scalable solution to support us as we grow the business.  

“Omnibus is very knowledgeable about bus operators’ needs and challenges and this know-how is embedded in the software, which is continuously being enhanced and developed to support us to meet changing market demands. We feel confident in choosing Omnibus as a partner for our future development.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “We are thrilled by this new partnership and look forward to supporting Tanat Valley Coaches.  

“OmniDAS has been specifically designed with bus operators in mind. The software monitors and enforces drivers’ hours rules and easily manages typical industry practices such as mutual exchanges of work or rest, overtime, enhanced payments, ad hoc duties, and the splitting of work to name just a few. Having multiple pay rules and drivers on differing agreements are also dealt with competently. 

“We are delighted that our software solutions continue to make Omnibus the partner of choice for bus operators of all sizes.” 

– ENDS –

Omnibus Solutions:

Press contact at Omnibus Solutions, part of EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
07538 935 568

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

Video – Measuring end-to-end performance of a bus operation

Measuring the end to end performance of a bus operation

A bus operation is a complex business relying on many moving parts or links in a chain, which need to work in harmony to achieve optimum efficiency.

Key performance indicators measure how well each part is working and drive efficiency across the whole operation. The links fall into three broad categories: planning the network, delivering the service, and performance (operational and engineering) review.

In the videos below we discuss how to measure the performance of each of the components which make up an efficient, profitable and sustainable bus operation.

Measuring the end to end performance of a bus operation

Planning the network

Duty efficiency is part of the efficiency chain. In the following 4 videos we discuss how timetables and layover, vehicle utilisation, rostering and the allocation of drivers impact the efficiency chain.

Timetables efficiency

Peak Vehicle Requirement (PVR)

Schedules efficiency

Actual driver cost vs planned driver cost

Building an efficient bus operation

Measuring end-to-end performance

efficiency ebook

Quarterly bus statistics for January to March 2022

Bus passengers

28 June 2022 – Quarterly bus figures showing local bus passenger journeys and fares statistics in Great Britain for January to March 2022, have been published on the DfT website.

For the year ending March 2022, the number of local bus passenger journeys in:

  • England was 2.91 billion, an 85% increase
  • London increased by 76%
  • England outside London increased by 96%
Bus passengers

Comparing local bus passenger journeys for January to March 2022 to January to March 2021, we see:

  • a 106% increase in England
  • London increased by 104%
  • England outside London increased by 109%
  • Scotland increased by 95%
  • Wales increased by 97%

The local bus fares index increased by 3.6% in England between March 2021 and March 2022. For other areas, the local bus fares index change was a:

  • 5.9% increase in London
  • 0.8% increase in metropolitan areas
  • 2.5% increase in non-metropolitan areas
  • no change in Scotland
  • no change in Wales

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) increased by 5.0% over the same 12-month period.

This publication covers data for the year ending March 2022, which coincides with the application of movement restrictions due to COVID-19 in Great Britain.

Read the full document: Quarterly bus statistics: January to March 2022

Root cause analysis – Can you see the wood for the trees when it comes to your data?

Root cause analysis. Can you see the wood for the trees when it comes to your data.

Bus operators need to be able to turn their data into actionable insights so they can achieve that fine balance of providing a bus service which passengers want to use, a place where staff want to work and efficiency levels that maintain profitability. 

Data is key in achieving this but data on performance measurements is not enough on its own.  

Root cause analysis. Can you see the wood for the trees when it comes to your data.

Identifying trends in your data

Bus operators have more data now than ever. Having the ability to analyse this data in one place is vital and unlocks the potential to view different datasets together that have only been considered in isolation previously. 

An obvious example is being able to review schedules versus punctuality and feed back into the scheduling and network review process, but further analysis can go much deeper. For example, overlying punctuality with driver sign-on data may reveal that punctuality problems stem from driver lateness for a duty rather than the timetable. The fix, therefore, is very different. 

Identifying trends and drilling down into root cause analysis can help operators answer some key operational questions. Is driver fatigue having an impact on accident rates? Could a longer minimum layover provide more loading time on a popular town centre route? Would a smaller vehicle be more efficient in congested areas? This can also help operators ask the big questions. Do our buses fulfil customers’ needs while making a profit? 

Typically, a root cause would come down to one of a few classifications: a vehicle issue, timetable issue (schedule), a driver issue or an external factor such as congestion or weather. 

Customer complaints is a good starting point for investigating root causes and identifying trends. By analysing complaint data with all other data sources available to an operator, unexpected patterns could be identified. Perhaps there is a correlation of complaints with a certain vehicle, a certain driver or due to certain external conditions. Drilling down further could identify a training or knowledge gap, a failing of a supplier or a lack of correct infrastructure.  

Combining datasets to resolve issues

Identifying root cause impacts the way we can resolve problems. We could identify potential improvements to customer satisfaction by changing our training programme or holding more stock of a certain bus part. We can also use data analysis for positive engagement with external stakeholders and local authorities. Particularly where working in Enhanced Partnerships or as part of Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) operators can demonstrate where local authority or third-party investment could provide maximum impact. So, providing a bus shelter in a certain location could resolve the root cause of several problems faced by the operator. 

What might surprise operators is that this is simple to do with the right tools. With a solution that can bring multiple datasets together into one place, make sense of them and present the data in simple, easy-to-digest formats, an operator can have insights they never had before. It can identify previously unknown or unseen trends and correlations and help identify root causes of problems and complaints. With quality data from multiple sources, we can quantify and qualify the impacts of decisions by measuring trends over time. 

Furthermore, the same data can be used to measure the impacts of changes made. Did changes to the training programme reduce complaints? Did retaining more stock of a certain bus part reduce operation issues, breakdowns and complaints? It is an important outcome of a BSIP to be able to measure the success of actions taken. 

How we can help  

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, EPM Group has comprehensive knowledge of the bus industry and well-established software that can combine and analyse a wider, richer dataset to bring new insights. 

The EPM Insights solution empowers you with actionable management information on your network performance, supporting you to react to both the changing nature of demand and to help shape your future network. 

To book a free consultation to see how we can assist with your challenges and requirements, complete the online form or call 0161 683 3100. 

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Ritchies growth supported with the adoption of the Omnibus scheduling

Ritchies using Omnibus scheduling software

Founded in the 1930s, Ritchies Transport Holdings Limited (Ritchies) has grown into one of the largest passenger transport operators in New Zealand.

The operator has 15 depots and 18 sub-depots and operates nationwide across the North and South Islands, from Kaitaia in the north, to Gore in the south as well as an operation on the remote Chatham Islands.

Ritchies using Omnibus scheduling software

In New Zealand many businesses need to be multi-faceted offering a complete range of public transport. Ritchies has a diverse fleet of over 1,500 vehicles including approximately:

  • 600 urban buses
  • 600 school buses
  • 100 SESTA (special needs transport – cars and minibuses)
  • 250 tour coaches, charter coaches, intercity and long-distance coaches

Business challenges

Since 2008, Ritchies has significantly expanded its urban transport business through commercial services and more recently through tendering. An external transport consultant had been used to bid for Government tendered services using their own scheduling software to analyse the tender opportunities but this came at a cost.

The operator wanted to develop the scheduling skills in-house and transition the tendering work which was commissioned through the external consultant into ‘business as usual’ for Ritchies.

Why partner with Omnibus?

Aware the Omnibus scheduling suite is ‘well-regarded’ in the UK, a presentation and product demo to the Ritchies senior team was undertaken over video conference, followed by an onsite visit to Ritchies HQ in New Zealand by the Omnibus team. As well as being impressed with the powerful scheduling suite capabilities to improve operational efficiencies, there was a natural cultural fit with the businesses, with both businesses being extremely passionate about buses and passenger transport.

The senior team was confident with the Omnibus team’s knowledge and their industry experience.


In 2018, the scheduling suite – OmniTIMES, OmniBASE, OmniROTA and CrewPLAN – was implemented at the operator’s 7 main urban depots, covering 400 vehicles. Also, the scheduling team has grown from 1 to 3 users.

“Being on different time zones and continents, the Omnibus team have been very accommodating, training our teams outside of their normal working hours. This flexible and client-centric approach has proved very helpful.” – Stephen Cruttwell, Implementation Manager, Ritchies Transport


Ritchies now has the capability to compile schedules and test scenarios very quickly, saving valuable time. The impact of growth opportunities, such as acquisitions, can easily be assessed and output has trebled by developing scheduling skills in-house.

Since 2018, Ritchies has successfully won several tenders due to achieving significant cost-savings by testing different schedules and improving operational efficiency.

“Omnibus is great for pricing a tender. We now have the ability of loading multiple timetables and creating bus graphs quickly and efficiently. We can provide with confidence the pricing value for a tender; with 100% confidence in the output from the software solutions.” – Chris Suares, Scheduling Manager at Ritchies

The business had a very specific way of compiling duty cards; with a wide range of duty card formats available in the system the operator was able to produce one that best fits the business, which reduced the pain when duty card changes were implemented.

Management information and analysis of network performance, such as bus kilometres per hour and driver duty analysis, is now available in a structured format and easily extracted from the platform, achieving time efficiencies to compile these, freeing management to work on intervention strategies.

“The software has given us the capability to understand where operational savings can be achieved and analyse the implication of changes in the schedules. For example, there was a schedule where the customer increased the runtime of a single service by 2 minutes.

“The Omnibus platform gave us the ability to easily see the impact of this change on the schedule. Prior to having the software, we would have to pull out each duty to have a look at it. This was a time-intensive and manual process. Now it’s very quick and easy to review and make changes.” – Chris Suares

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Improving staff morale to retain drivers

Retain drivers

Driver shortages continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the bus industry today.

Operators are trying to address the problem by bringing new blood into the profession, but it is also critical to retain drivers. After all, prevention is better than the cure.

Retain drivers

Mix of duty types

To do this positively, operators should not lose sight of providing a mix of duty types that appeal to different groups of drivers. To keep drivers on board, duties should be kept to two or three pieces of work and split shifts should be avoided at weekends.

Software can help with improving efficiencies and enable network planners to create schedules that do not detrimentally affect another part of the bus operation’s efficiency chain. With tight schedules that are workable, operators are more likely to create driver-friendly duties straight out of the box, rather than having to be manually adjusted.

Improve driver engagement

Improving engagement is also important to retain drivers. Are drivers spoken to only when things go wrong? How easy is it for a driver to raise a concern?

Regular performance reviews are a great way to keep staff informed of their progress and provide a continuous feedback loop where managers are not left wondering if they will have another bout of resignations this week. By using operational data to facilitate these conversations operators can put interventions and strategies in place sooner and more effectively manage their drivers.

Connecting multiple data sources

For any review to be successful, operators will want to see a complete picture of a driver’s performance, including their training records, customer feedback, their telematics Red-Amber-Green (RAG) score for driving behaviour, total time spent driving, lost mileage incidents and punctuality information.

But for many bus operators this data resides in multiple systems. These datasets should be connected into one unified platform to remove the need for data consolidation. The reporting screen should be interactive so operators can drill down into the metrics to interrogate the data and in doing so remove the need for separate analysis to understand the root cause of any issues.

As operators work in time-pressured environments – and with some having 1,000-plus drivers, the output needs to be simple and visual so that it can be easily understood by both reviewing managers and drivers. And for fairness and consistency, this report should be standardised, and the same metrics tracked and managed across all drivers.

By having key metrics on one dashboard operators gain a single source of truth which assures data integrity and provides information in the most efficient way.

Opening communication channels

Another point to consider is how effectively operators communicate with staff to help them manage their home life around varying shift patterns. Operators need to find smarter ways to keep drivers informed. By leveraging technology such as a driver app, they can share useful information quickly which, in turn, connects drivers to the business and helps them feel part of the organisation.

By adjusting duties that may be putting drivers off and proactively using data to improve engagement, operators can better manage their staff which, in turn, will help increase morale and lower labour turnover.

How we can help

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, EPM Group has comprehensive knowledge of the passenger transport industry and well-established software that can integrate multiple data sources into one unified platform to deliver a 360-degree view of your operation.

The EPM Insights solution empowers you with actionable management information on your network performance, supporting you to react to both the changing nature of demand and to help shape your future network.

The OmniDAS solution is a cloud-native depot allocation system for real-time driver and vehicle management. Used worldwide for managing day-to-day resources and handling unexpected changes, it is configured to your unique working practices and ensures services are delivered safe, legally and cost-effectively.

To book a free consultation to see how we can assist with your challenges and requirements, complete the online form or call 0161 683 3100.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Buslines and Omnibus partner to meet governmental compliance standards

Buslines and Omnibus partner to meet the government's compliance standards

Buslines Group is an Australian bus company and one of the largest private operators in the state of New South Wales (NSW).

The family-run business operates passenger transport and school services across 12 regions under contracts held with the NSW Government agency, Transport for NSW.

In 2020, Transport for NSW made a commitment to improve public transport services and to better meet the travel needs of passengers. This served as a catalyst for Buslines to digitalise its manual work processes, leading the group to partner with Omnibus for timetabling, mapping, rostering, vehicle scheduling and crew duties. 

As part of its commitment, Transport for NSW requires bus operators to share transport data electronically in a TODIS (Transport Operational Data Interface Specification) format. Having seen significant efficiencies delivered from using the scheduling suite, Buslines challenged Omnibus to develop a robust TODIS solution. 


Omnibus has a vast amount of experience in designing interfaces to external systems, having developed TransXChange (TXC) tools and a Bus Open Data Service (BODS) exporter to meet the UK’s Department for Transport standard. 

The TODIS file has to feed several downstream systems, including Transport for NSW’s website, journey planners and real-time systems. It also needs to provide the timetable and schedule data needed for Buslines to monitor on-time performance through Transport for NSW’s real-time bus tracking initiative, Transport Connected Bus (TCB) Program. 

“It was a key requirement for the TODIS file to produce accurate transport data to allow us to feed external systems quickly and seamlessly. Omnibus has a powerful scheduling solution, and we had every confidence in the team developing a TODIS exporter which enabled Buslines to meet our regulatory requirements.” – David D’Apuzzo, Director at Buslines Group 


TODIS is a comprehensive, technical document detailing how the XML file should read, and it requires an operating calendar specifying when each trip operates. 

Adhering to strict TODIS documentation, Omnibus developed a TODIS exporter which pulls data from the cloud-based Omnibus scheduling modules adopted by Buslines – OmniTIMES, OmniBASE and OmniMAP – to produce a TODIS-compliant file which seamlessly feeds external systems. 


Buslines benefits from the following with the TODIS exporter: 

  • Produces TODIS compliant exports quickly and seamlessly 
  • Provides Transport for NSW with accurate transport data 
  • Has the capability to improve services, monitor KPIs and inform customers of service updates 

“From scheduling to data sharing, Omnibus has proven capability to create robust solutions for bus operators. We can now connect with customers, manage operations and keep services running on time.” – David D’Apuzzo

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Warwickshire County Council selects Omnibus planning and publicity solutions

Warwickshire County Council selects Omnibus cloud-based planning and publicity solutions

18 May 2022 – Warwickshire County Council will plan and publicise bus services using Omnibus’ cloud-based platform – and deliver on a commitment to increase the quality of journey information for customers.

The contract was awarded following a tender process which will see the council implementing timetabling, mapping, timetable publicity, roadside asset management and data sharing solutions.

Warwickshire County Council selects Omnibus cloud-based planning and publicity solutions

In response to the National Bus Strategy to get more people travelling by bus, the provision of quality publicity information was identified as a priority measure in Warwickshire’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

By using OmniSTOPdesign timetable publicity software, the council can create and maintain professional and accurate displays in multiple styles, sizes and formats without the need to use a graphic designer.

Derek Riley, Passenger Transport Officer at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Warwickshire County Council creates and maintains NaPTAN stops, timetable schedules, bus routes, roadside publicity displays, as well as analysing ‘what if’ scenarios and importing and exporting data.

“Following a county-wide survey to help shape our BSIP, better static timetable information was identified as a measure which would encourage more people to use the bus. For example, ‘easier access to bus service information’ featured as one of the top three measures in the results from both regular users and infrequent or non-users.”

“OmniSTOPdesign offers us new possibilities in timetable publicity that can take things to a whole new level. We will be able to manage roadside and online publicity information for local bus services, from improving roadside/in-street route and timetable information, including the use of digital displays, to integrating bus services and timetables in order to maximise scope for multi-modal connections.”

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “I’m delighted that Omnibus has been successful in being awarded this tender. Our software solutions have been designed with the needs of transport authorities and bus operators in mind to improve operational efficiency.

“Our timetabling system provides flexible modelling tools that provide high-level timetables and schedules to give a quick view of effectiveness for different scenarios. Our timetable publicity software for stop displays enables users to produce information displays quickly and cost-effectively, whilst our communications and infrastructure applications provide accurate transport data to all internal and external downstream systems.”

– ENDS –

Omnibus Solutions:

Press contact at Omnibus Solutions, part of EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
07538 935 568

Empowering transport authorities with software solutions

Grow patronage, improve efficiency and deliver outstanding customer service