Category: Customer references

Video – Omnibus simplifies electric vehicles scheduling

Omnibus simplifies electric vehicles scheduling

Sam Greaves, Head of Service Delivery at Tower Transit UK, has been in the bus industry for over 25 years. In this video he explains how his schedulers are using the alternative fuels functionality in our vehicle scheduling module OmniBASE to efficiently schedule electric buses.

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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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Video – Operator saves time using bus stop display templates

bus stop display timetable publicity software

Yellow Buses is one of the early adopters of bus stop display software OmniSTOPdesign and the operator’s commercial assistant, Kevin Brolan, is the main user. 

The application gives users complete freedom over template design – with no need to go back to the supplier to make changes.

Used by operators and transport authorities, the software enables users to work with any paper size, font, font sizes, colour and graphics. It is designed to be flexible enough to meet operators’ unique demands and brand requirements.

Kevin explains how the templates available in OmniSTOPdesign have made his job easy and why he believes it is the leading publishing software for stop displays. 

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Video – Training helped me deliver network-wide improvements

Blackpool Transport network planner Simon Harris at his desk

Simon Harris has single-handedly improved Blackpool Transport’s bus services – and said it is all down to the training he received from Omnibus. 

The former bus driver has spent the last few years rewriting every route so that each service runs on time. He said this is largely thanks to the Omnibus training, which “gave me a thorough knowledge basis to do my job and to help improve the buses of Blackpool”. 

Simon joined the commercial team in 2014 as a trainee network planner. He had impressed managers with his suggestions to improve Service 7 and, recognising the importance of good training, they sent him to Omnibus to learn the art of scheduling. He also benefitted from software training from the supplier’s industry-qualified schedulers. 

Now referred to as the senior network planner by colleagues, Simon said the knowledge he gained on the courses proved invaluable. 

Simon said: “I used what I learned to rewrite the Service 7 timetable which had no chance of running to time. They implemented it and the service became reliable. All of a sudden, buses were turning up when they were supposed to and that resulted in more passengers using it. 

“I was then able to use that knowledge to create network-wide improvements. So, since 2014 I’ve gone from suggesting how to improve one route to basically rewriting the whole network. This would not have been possible without the Omnibus training which gave me the knowledge and tools to drive those changes.” 

The manual scheduling course gave Simon a solid foundation in how to produce efficient schedules. And after five days of software training, he could build schedules, crew duties and create weekly rotas. 

Richard Yeo, Technical Account Manager at Omnibus who delivered the software training, said the intuitive nature of the system meant Simon picked it up very quickly. 

He said: “We worked through key aspects of each module using Blackpool Transport’s data and building schedules from the timetable stage, through to vehicle scheduling and crew duty compilation and then the creation of weekly rotas.” 

Simon said: “Richard is great at delivering training because he knows what schedulers need to know in order to do their job. He understands that writing a timetable isn’t just a case of writing a few numbers on a piece of paper.  

“He helps you through the whole process of writing a timetable, to creating the duties, to creating rosters to make sure that you fully understand the programmes available to you. I was then able to use that knowledge to create network-wide improvements. 

“Once you know the Omnibus systems inside-out, you can be more efficient with time usage and get the results as quick as you need them.”

Video – Operator improves bus and light rail schedules

Blackpool Transport tram on the waterfront

With a challenging network that is often in flux, Blackpool Transport needed a robust schedules software solution to manage its bus fleet and light rail system. 

The coastal resort operator has an ever-changing combination of residents and visitors and needs to balance this against seasonal peaks in demand. It said a one-size-fits-all solution simply would not work. 

Blackpool Transport started using the Omnibus solution more than 20 years ago – and has been meeting these complex market conditions ever since. 

Simon Harris, network planner, said: “With Blackpool being a seaside resort we have to have a service that can work for the residents of Blackpool and for the tourists that came here. 

“Our lovely promenade in the summer is full of traffic and nothing appears to move for days on end but in winter there’s nothing here. So, we need robust timetables that mean we can have a reliable bus service in winter when there’s no traffic around and a reliable timetable in summer when things are congested.  

“By using the Omnibus programmes, we can have different times for different days, weeks and different times of the year – to do this all manually would be impossible. Thanks to the Omnibus programs we can make a summer service and a winter service work efficiently and effectively for the people of Blackpool.” 

The operator runs a fleet of 130 buses and one of the world’s oldest electric tramways within the boroughs of Blackpool and Fylde and into the surrounding areas of Fleetwood, Lytham St Annes, Poulton-le-Fylde, Thornton Cleveleys and Preston. 

The same Omnibus software is used to improve its light rail schedules. 

Simon said: “To get the trams out there in the summer and particularly during the illuminations is hard work because it attracts lots of people to the town of Blackpool. In most places in autumn where the need for services is reduced, our trams are in demand because it’s the best way to view these lights. 

“Thanks to the Omnibus systems we can write timetables that are robust nowadays compared to many years ago and it’s all done through the same great software that we use for the buses.”

How operator improves output using bus timetables publicity solution

flexible bus timetables publicity software

Providing passengers with easy-to-read bus timetables is important to Yellow Buses – and the operator achieves this with bright and colourful information displays.

The Bournemouth-based company colour brands each service on its network using Omnibus’ timetable publicity software OmniSTOPdesign.

flexible bus timetables publicity software

“Our iconic yellow vehicles, with core route branded colours, help our buses stand out on the road for customer ease,” said Kevin Brolan, Commercial Assistant at Yellow Buses. “We also reflect this with our roadside material, and this is done with ease thanks to the OmniSTOPdesign solution,” he said.  

“We can tailor the services and the individual times to show in different colours so customers can clearly see which service is coming at the stop at a particular time. It’s so clear for the customer and important to us as we know they can’t get too confused,” he added. 

Yellow Buses carries just under 14 million passengers on its 110-strong bus fleet, clocking up nearly five million miles across Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset.  

The long-standing Omnibus customer adopted OmniSTOPdesign in 2019 and immediately benefitted from cost savings in human resource and timetable production (see case study). 

Kevin added: “I may be a little biased but the way in which we use the software is a brilliant example of its true potential and what can be achieved by operators. 

“We use a lot of imagery to brighten up our stop displays. This helps to promote our services and share a variety of marketing messages which include being a locally owned and locally operated business since the management buyout in 2019, promote our mobile apps, website and new services. It’s no longer just a timetable for a customer to know what time the buses come past; it has the potential to promote our business. 

“And it’s all done through OmniSTOPdesign, the software is absolutely brilliant, and we really maximise its features.” 

OmniSTOPdesign is a sophisticated application which enables operators and local authorities to create attractive and accurate public transport stop and station information displays. 

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Video – Scheduling training ‘pivotal to the job I do now’

Simon Harris in front of a Blackpool Transport bus

Simon Harris has commended Omnibus’ manual scheduling training for giving him the tools he needed to succeed in the bus business. 

During his 12-year career at Blackpool Transport, Simon said he learned more in just two days at Omnibus than he has “in most courses that have lasted weeks and months”.

The network planner explains why the training is “interesting and enlightening” and why it proved pivotal to the job he does now.  

How did you find the training? 

I thought it was just going to be an introduction to scheduling and I would learn the basics of how you get a bus in the yard out onto the road. But it was actually very in-depth. 

I learned more in those two days than in many courses that have lasted weeks or months. In fact, the course gave me a thorough knowledge basis to do my job and to help improve the buses of Blackpool.

What did you learn? 

What you learn on the scheduling training isn’t just how to write a timetable on a piece of paper. I learned what timetables are in the real world. I learned what it takes to run a bus service and what you can do to make the most efficient service out of the resources you have available. 

I learned how other operators do things, the best way of scheduling and what terminology is used in the industry from knowing what a headway is to what a layover is.  

Has the training helped you in your role? 

I used what I learned to rewrite the Service 7 timetable which had no chance of running to time. I wrote a new timetable and suddenly the service became reliable, and more passengers started using it. 

I was then able to use that knowledge to create network-wide improvements and since 2014, that’s seven years as a network planner, I’ve gone from suggesting how to improve one route to basically rewriting the whole network. 

Could you have done your job without the training?   

Without the training I probably would have fallen over at times because I wouldn’t have had that foundation of knowledge needed to do the job. So, for me I found the course not just interesting and enlightening but actually proving pivotal to the job I do now.  

If I hadn’t done the course I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d probably be back driving a bus because I’d be told I don’t know what I’m doing. 

Would you recommend the training? 

The training is important because you get to understand the foundations of how to do the job. A lot of people think they know what it takes to run buses, but new schedulers need a foundation of how to plan and schedule, be aware of the resources available and the cost implications of running a bus. 

The training is essential to give the scheduler the understanding of what their role is and how to go about it to do the best they can.  

And the Omnibus software solution helps schedulers to achieve the goals that everyone has of running a reliable bus service. Once you know the Omnibus systems inside-out, you can be more efficient with time usage, and you get the results as quick as you need them. 

Our portfolio of courses for schedulers and operational staff has been developed using real-world industry experience obtained over the past 40-plus years. We educate passenger transport operators and transport authority employees, union reps, company directors, schedulers and service delivery teams right across the UK. We also provide training to the light rail sector. 

Video – Timetable publishing software ‘logical and easy to use’

publishing software

Kevin Brolan joined the commercial team at Yellow Buses in 2019 and is responsible for producing roadside timetables for all bus stops in the operator’s network. 

To do this he uses OmniSTOPdesign – an Omnibus publishing software solution he describes as “brilliant, logical and easy to use”.

It takes Kevin half-an-hour to produce PDFs for all 800 stops; it was previously taking up to three weeks and involved full-time support from a graphic designer.  

The commercial assistant highlights four of his favourite OmniSTOPdesign features. 

Customisation

There are so many features of OmniSTOPdesign that are great, but the customisability is the top one for me; the options this feature provides are endless. From one master template, I can create eight, nine, 10 different templates and each one will be different and tailored to our needs. 

OmniSTOPdesign allows users to create templates to any paper size, with a large range of layouts to choose from, and full freedom over graphics and fonts. Printed material is tailored to meet company specific brand requirements. 

Route maps

I particularly love the route maps as well. We’re a tourist town that attracts visitors and students who need to make informed decisions on how to get to places and route maps by locality makes this very clear. 

OmniSTOPdesign templates can include an automatically generated line-of-route map for each service, showing which places are served by the service and how long it takes the bus to reach them from the current stop.

On-stop display imagery 

Another great feature is the ability to advertise our services such as Buster’s Beach Bus. We insert an image of the brand into the service line to point the customer to the beach bus and it will tie in with our calendars as well. It’s also useful when promoting services offered by our partner organisations. 

OmniSTOPdesign allows users to insert graphics in any format to enhance the displays; all services can have their own branding graphic shown alongside the service details as well as promotional messages for other services. 

One size fits all

We struggle with our roadside infrastructure where we have several services going to one place that we haven’t got the roadside material to fit it in. Again, this is where the customisability feature is so brilliant; we can force the times in by resizing the departure dates and departure. Without OmniSTOPdesign, we would have to use multiple cases on bus stops which would be confusing for the customer. 

OmniSTOPdesign allows all text elements to be customised using whatever fonts and font sizes the user requires for that particular text element. 

Kevin said it is important for Yellow Buses to provide clear information quickly to customers: “By using OmniSTOPdesign, we can do that easily. For us it ticks all the boxes.”

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Video – Complex network revisions made simple

Complex network revisions simplified by Omnibus

In the first 12 months of the pandemic, Yellow Buses went through five network revisions – an “extremely difficult” and time-consuming task which the operator said was simplified by the Omnibus solution. 

The bus operator normally implements one or two small changes a year and larger revisions every few years. But COVID-19 temporarily changed this, and it had a significant impact on the Bournemouth-based operator. 

Yellow Buses uses Omnibus’ full suite of timetable and schedules modules, including OmniSTOPdesign to create at-stop information displays. 

Kevin Brolan, Commercial Assistant at Yellow Buses, said: “We’ve gone through numerous network revisions, one of the largest ones we did was in 2017. We did another major change in February 2020 only for it to last a month as a result of the pandemic. 

“The impact of the pandemic has been absolutely huge on our workload. Since the February change, we’ve had to do five different revisions of the network in all, so it’s been quite intensive. 

“Normally, all the on-stop run for 800 stops would be extremely difficult, but with OmniSTOPdesign we’ve been able to speed things up massively, so we can focus on all the other activity behind the scenes. Once we have it auto running, OmniSTOPdesign can PDF all our 800 stops within about half-an-hour and print them in a day. “To put it in context, for a service change that was starting on Monday, we would have all the material out on the previous Friday to minimise the disruption to the customer. The productivity of OmniSTOPdesign is absolutely astronomical.” 

Kevin added: “We are extremely satisfied with the Omnibus solutions and particularly in the case of OmniSTOPdesign. We would not have been able to implement the many different service level changes we have made to react to the fluctuating situation regarding the pandemic were it not for this intuitive and easy-to-use package.”

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.