Category: CrewPLAN

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

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.

Solution

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

Results

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.

Squarepeg Buses extends partnership with Omnibus to optimise crew scheduling

Squarepeg Buses extends partnership with Omnibus to optimise crew scheduling

25 April 2022 – Leeds-based Squarepeg Buses has strengthened its partnership with Omnibus to maximise efficiency and reduce costs around crew scheduling. 

The independent bus operator has adopted CrewPLAN, a leading automatic crew scheduling software solution, to produce efficient and compliant drivers’ duties. The agreement follows last month’s announcement of the partnership to digitalise scheduling and implement depot allocation and data sharing tools. 

Squarepeg Buses extends partnership with Omnibus to optimise crew scheduling

CrewPLAN was installed as part of the implementation project for the Omnibus scheduling suite, which includes timetabling, mapping, vehicle scheduling and rostering. All applications are cloud-based to enable Squarepeg Buses to work smarter in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

Simon Daymond, Director of Squarepeg Buses, said: “A month into our partnership, and it is clear to me that Omnibus is a trusted partner with the industry expertise and solutions we need to help us adapt effectively to unexpected events and market changes. 

“The implementation of CrewPLAN has been critical to our bus operation and couldn’t have come at a better time. All operators have been affected by driver shortages and recently we risked losing an important local authority contract because we were a driver down. By using CrewPLAN we were able to revise drivers’ duties in a more efficient way to incorporate the loss of that one driver and still deliver the contract. So, CrewPLAN has more than paid for itself within the first month.” 

Simon added: “I was very impressed at the quick turnaround of the software implementation and the knowledge of Omnibus team members, in particular Technical Account Manager Richard Yeo who delivered the product training.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “We are delighted about this partnership extension which demonstrates the faith Squarepeg Buses has in our software, which is designed specifically for schedulers to support operators of all sizes. 

“Linking with our scheduling software and timetabling, CrewPLAN is not only the ideal tool for producing robust and efficient crew duty schedules for current operations but is also essential for evaluating those ‘what if’ questions.” 

Established in 2009 and with a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 13, Squarepeg Buses provides public, private and school transport services in Leeds and surrounding areas.

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Note to editors:

EPM Transport Solutions, formed in 1986, provides software to help passenger transport operators and transport authorities reduce operational costs, improve financial performance and better serve their customers. In addition, EPM is the UK’s leading BSOG auditor and concessionary reimbursement consultancy.

EPM Transport Solutions trades as EPM Bus Solutions, Omnibus Solutions and 3Squared.

EPM Bus Solutions: https://www.epm-bus.com/

Omnibus Solutions: https://omnibus.solutions/

3Squared: https://3squared.com/

Press contact:
Harminder Sangha
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com
07538 935 568

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Rowgate Group selects Omnibus for scheduling and depot allocation

Rowgate Group selects Omnibus to drive efficiencies

Rowgate Group, a leading Berkshire-based bus and coach operator, has chosen Omnibus software solutions for driving timetabling, scheduling and allocation efficiencies.  

The group incorporates three independents – Fernhill Travel, White Bus and Baileys Coaches which have a combined fleet of 70. The partnership brings digitalisation of processes to White Bus, and OmniDAS, a cloud-based depot allocation system, to all three of the group’s operators.

Rowgate Group selects Omnibus to drive efficiencies

OmniDAS provides Rowgate Group with realtime driver and vehicle management, and seamless cross-functional collaboration across its 4 locations in Windsor, Bracknell, Woking and Newbury.  

White Bus also adopts the intuitive Omnibus scheduling suite, allowing the county’s oldest independent to produce complex timetables and robust scenarios in minutes, and TransXChange tools to easily share data with other systems. 

Together the market leading software solutions provide Rowgate Group with the capability adopted by larger operators. 

Simon Rowgate, the managing director of Rowgate GroupSimon Rowland, Managing Director of Rowgate Group, said: “It is important for us to stay ahead of the game and to do this we need a partner with proven solutions and a deep understanding of the UK bus industry and the challenges operators face. 

“Omnibus is uniquely placed with the knowledge, expertise and technology to support us as we optimise our resources toward the most effective services for communities across the Home Counties and beyond.  

“The solutions cover 100% of our needs. The powerful algorithms in the software maximise results, resources and non-driving staff efficiency as well as being easy to use. We are excited about our partnership and leveraging the innovative capabilities offered by Omnibus.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “With a 30-plus year track record of supporting the passenger transport industry, Omnibus is proud to provide Rowgate Group with software solutions which will help drive business growth by improving operational efficiency across the business. Our comprehensive solutions continue to make Omnibus the partner of choice for smaller independents up to large global operators.” 

The scheduling suite consists of powerful timetabling, scheduling, mapping, rostering and crew duty modules, while OmniDAS can allocate and manage resources, produce timesheet and payroll information, and automate staff sign-on. This allows organisations to focus on service provision without having to worry about time-consuming administration.

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PR contact at Omnibus, part of the EPM Group:
Harminder Sangha
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com
+44 (0)7538 935 568

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Video – Crew scheduling system enables Tower Transit to efficiently find the best answer

Crew scheduling system enables Tower Transit to efficiently find the best answer

Sam Greaves, Head of Service Delivery at Tower Transit UK, has been in the bus industry for over 25 years. In this video he discusses how automatic crew scheduling system CrewPLAN enables his schedulers to efficiently find the best answer quickly and “quite often it’s option number 1”.

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Edinburgh Trams uses Omnibus to forecast future costs

Edinburgh Trams crew duties solution

Edinburgh Trams is an award-winning operator with a fleet of 27 trams and annual ridership of 7.5 million.

Employing over 200 people across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife, the light rail operator runs 2,000 services every week, connecting Edinburgh Airport to the heart of the city in under 35 minutes.

The operator partnered with Omnibus as the tram line continues to extend across the city.

Edinburgh Trams crew duties solution

The latest development, Trams to Newhaven Project, is a continuation of the existing tramway network and will add 2.91 miles of track in both directions, connecting Leith and Newhaven to the current end of the line at York Place with eight new stops by 2023.

Challenge

Edinburgh Trams required a tool to produce the most efficient crew duties, model scenarios and operating patterns to forecast and budget for future operational costs. The solution had to meet the local labour agreements and be workable on the ground. Therefore, any scheduling solution had to enable the following timetable changes:

  • Facilitate the closure of York Place tram stop (the current terminus)
  • Accommodate the phased opening of the extension
  • Accommodate test running over the extension (or parts)
  • Manage the extension to the tram line
  • Adjust running times as they become better established after opening the extension

Solution

CrewPLAN is Omnibus’ next-generation automatic crew scheduling tool. It uses advanced algorithms to find the best possible solution within the parameters defined by the user. It is used throughout the passenger transport industry to quickly model multiple scenarios as well as forecast and budget for future operational costs.

“Omnibus has been key for developing a sustainable transport strategy which includes the Trams to Newhaven project. CrewPLAN will provide us with the level of control and accuracy we need to ensure optimised shift patterns. It offers tools for medium-term and long-term crew scheduling based on our organisation’s legal frameworks and guidelines” – Sarah Singh, Operations Manager, Edinburgh Trams

Result

Edinburgh Trams has a flexible and user-friendly solution designed by schedulers who understand the UK passenger transport industry. Since adopting CrewPLAN, the operator has succeeded in:

  • Establishing costs for current and future operational needs
  • Building workable crew duties using different scenarios
  • Saving time in generating multiple rosters
  • Providing time-sensitive reports for critical decisions
  • Optimising crew schedules ensuring an efficient and reliable service

Edinburgh Trams “work collaboratively with colleagues as much as possible on any project” and positive feedback from their Scheduling Manager was “absolutely important” when choosing the Omnibus solution.

Edinburgh Trams extends partnership adopting powerful crew scheduling solution

Sarah Singh, Operations Manager, Edinburgh Trams

1 September 2021 – Edinburgh Trams has extended its partnership with Omnibus by deploying the next-generation automatic crew scheduling tool CrewPLAN – and said it is on track to improve efficiency. 

The operator needed a user-friendly solution to create robust schedules and forecast for future operational costs as new stops are added to the city’s tram network by 2023.  

Sarah Singh, Operations Manager, Edinburgh Trams

With its powerful algorithms CrewPLAN was the operator’s first choice to replace its previous system, and this was confirmed on a fact-finding mission to Blackpool Transport. 

Edinburgh Trams has successfully been using the Omnibus software to test numerous scenarios and operating patterns to build a realistic picture of the resources that may be required in the future. 

Sarah Singh, Operations Manager at Edinburgh Trams, said: “Omnibus has been key for developing a sustainable transport strategy which includes the Trams to Newhaven project. CrewPLAN will provide us with the level of control and accuracy we need to ensure optimised shift patterns. It offers tools for medium-term and long-term crew scheduling based on our organisation’s legal frameworks and guidelines.”

Peter Crichton, Managing Director at Omnibus, said: “Edinburgh Trams’ deployment of CrewPLAN is a testament to the positive achievements of the partnership and demonstrates the strength of the Omnibus software in meeting the needs of the passenger transport market. 

“With our software, Edinburgh Trams can better understand the current and future operational needs of the business and can optimise crew schedules ensuring an efficient and reliable service to customers.” 

Construction on the extension, called Trams to Newhaven, started in 2019. It will add 2.91 miles of track in both directions, connecting Leith and Newhaven to the current end of the Edinburgh tram line at York Place with eight new stops. 

The operator has been utilising Omnibus’ intuitive scheduling solutions, OmniTIMES and OmniBASE, and depot allocation software, OmniDAS, since 2020. CrewPLAN has been adopted last month along with TransXChange Exporter and mobile app myDAS Touch, which allows drivers to view and request changes to their upcoming work.  

Keith Burnett, Scheduling Manager at Edinburgh Trams, said: “Operational efficiency is a key driver on our tram networks, having worked with the Omnibus solutions and the results achieved, we are confident moving from our old crewing system to CrewPLAN, we are adopting a platform which will support us in maximising the efficiency of duties and paid hours.” 

Aiden Proctor, Product Owner – Scheduling Suite at Omnibus, said: “Our team is proud to extend our relationship with Edinburgh Trams.  

“With the current extension being built, Edinburgh Trams required a tool to produce the most efficient crew duties. CrewPLAN is a flexible crew scheduling tool that uses advanced algorithms to find the best possible solution for today and tomorrow within the parameters defined by the user. 

“Also, due to a change in the RTPI supplier to City of Edinburgh Council there was a need for Edinburgh Trams to provide their own timetable data to the RTPI supplier. Our TXC Exporter enables users to export data directly from their timetable system (OmniTIMES) and provide it directly to downstream stakeholders such as the RTPI supplier. It’s an easy-to-use export process that can quickly produce timetable data in an industry-standard format.” 

Edinburgh Trams added they “work collaboratively with colleagues as much as possible on any project” and feedback from Keith was “absolutely important” when choosing a solution.

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Press Contact:
Harmi Sangha

Marketing Manager – Omnibus and EPM Bus Solutions
07538 935 568
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com 

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

How Buslines uses Omnibus to deliver savings

Buslines Group vehicle

Buslines Group is a regional bus operator servicing the New South Wales area in Australia. With 360 buses operating across 12 regions it primarily offers bus services for school children covering a large, mainly rural geographical area.

With 95% of passengers being children the operator prides itself on offering a reliable, safe and personalised service, where bus drivers know the children and parents they serve.

Challenge

Buslines are a family-owned business who have been operating for 95 years. The production of schedules has been completed manually. Recently, management wanted to digitalise the scheduling process that would enable multiple people to be involved in the scheduling process and for them to be located anywhere, not constrained to one office.

Digitalisation of bus timetables is also becoming the norm with passengers getting journey information in real-time on-demand from key travel sites. However, Buslines did not have the capability to provide such data due to information being produced manually.

Solution

Omnibus’ solution was selected after Buslines reviewed a range of systems from different suppliers in the market. The operator wanted a supplier who provided not only a great product but also a high level of customer service to support them through the adoption process.

Buslines have implemented a number of Omnibus systems; OmniTIMES to rapidly produce timetables, OmniMAP to automatically generate bus route mapping, OmniBASE to create efficient bus schedules, CrewPLAN to deliver optimised driver schedules, and OmniROTA to deliver cost-effective staff rosters.

Consultancy services have also been provided by Omnibus to support Buslines in the submission of responses to large tenders. This allows the operator to access additional skilled resource and ensure high quality tenders are submitted, without impacting day-to-day business.

Results

Efficiency and savings in the scheduling process

Since adopting the system, Buslines have been able to implement changes to schedules and make the process more efficient. This has delivered important savings, such as;

  • Changing the timetable by 5 minutes resulting in a reduction of the number of buses required to deliver the schedule.
  • Dead trips changes and timetable tweaks to deliver more efficient bus workings.

“We are seeing great value using OmniBASE and CrewPLAN, the algorithm in the system quickly produces the most efficient schedule and depot allocation workings” – David D’Apuzzo, Director at Buslines Group in Australia

Transport for New South Wales TODIS file produced quickly and seamlessly

Transport for New South Wales, the Connected Bus Programme, requires an electronic TODIS file which includes information on bus timetables and real-time bus journey information. By adopting the Omnibus software solution, Buslines have been able to provide this data quickly and seamlessly.

The TODIS file underpins the online travel planner where customers also have live feeds showing where the bus is, journey times and if a bus is running late. This is a key benefit for parents waiting for their children at a bus stop.

Minimise timetable errors 

As part of a Government programme, several towns in which Buslines operate are introducing new networks and are now offering additional services during weekdays, at night and on weekends. This leads to regular service review meetings and frequent timetable changes.

By using the fully integrated suite of Omnibus systems, Buslines can implement any changes quickly and efficiently. With data flowing seamlessly from timetables through to schedules and rosters, the operator is now confident that the latest timetable information is always used and previous errors in alignment between timetables and operations are eliminated.

The future

Buslines have now removed the risk of a single point of failure in the production of their schedules, whilst improving the effectiveness of the scheduling process. In turn, this has resulted in operational costs savings through more efficient schedules.

With work under way to map all Buslines services using Omnibus journey planning tools, the operator expects to achieve further improvements in operational efficiency whilst also raising the quality of bus services provided to customers.

Take the hassle out of scheduling

Empowering you with technology to develop efficient and optimised schedules

Cardiff Bus improves cost efficiency with automatic crew scheduling

Cardiff Bus scheduling software

7th July 2021 – Cardiff Bus has reduced its driver costs through the adoption of the new CrewPLAN – the system designed to automate the production of efficient crew schedules – from leading operational transport software supplier, Omnibus.

CrewPLAN uses a powerful algorithm to make crew scheduling more efficient, while enhanced functionality enables users to tackle large and complex problems instantly and explore alternative scenarios to discover which works best – saving both time and money.

Cardiff Bus scheduling software

Cardiff Bus has been able to take advantage of the updated CrewPLAN features which allow the user to be highly specific about the results they want to achieve. Constraints can now be included to specify the types and average length of duties within set parameters, giving much more flexibility. There is also an enhanced penalty feature to minimise undesirable features, such as changeovers during peak times.

Nigel Tarrant, Commercial Manager for Cardiff Bus, comments: “We weren’t getting the results we were looking for and driver agreements can be quite complex which can make scheduling particularly challenging. With the new powerful capability developed in the latest version of CrewPLAN, this now gives us the flexibility and ease to play around with different scheduling scenarios and get the results we want very quickly and save on costs.”

He continued “We have really been able to explore its capabilities and the multi-run feature in particular is excellent at maximising the efficiency of duties and paid hours. The speed we receive results in is more efficient and certainly saves the scheduling team a vast amount of time.”

Peter Crichton, Managing Director at Omnibus, comments: “Our software solutions are built from the ground up with a real deep understanding of the issues facing schedulers and the complexities in planning and managing resources in public transport.

“We continually listen to our customers and develop scheduling solutions which improve operational efficiency and profitability, as well as driver compliance remaining front and centre.”

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Press Contact:
Harmi Sangha

Marketing Manager – Omnibus and EPM Bus Solutions
07538 935 568
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com 

Take the hassle out of scheduling 

Empowering you with technology to develop efficient and optimised schedules