Category: OmniDAS

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: www.omnibus.solutions

Press contact at Omnibus Solutions, part of EPM Group

Harminder Sangha
harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com
07538 935 568

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

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.

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.

Maximising control room efficiency

Solution for bus operators to maximise control room efficiency

EPM Group aims to empower bus operators’ control room teams with integrated technology.

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, the bus sector is working harder than ever to get people back on the bus.

Software solutions specialist EPM Bus Solutions aims to assist that process with the creation of new products and techniques that can help operators achieve that goal while making them ready for the post-Covid world.

“We work closely with our clients and from those conversations, we know they are really focussed on rebuilding revenue and patronage,” says Nick Brookes, software director at EPM Group. “That’s a given, obviously, but they are also seeking to enhance their operational effectiveness as well in order to reduce costs and drive profits.”

Article featured in The ALBUM Report 2022 by Passenger Transport

Tools to enhance business processes

It means Nick and his team at EPM have been looking very closely at developing new tools that aim to improve business efficiency. That process has been broken down into three component parts:

  • ‘Before the day’ network planning;
  • ‘On the day’ control room processes; and
  • ‘After the day’ processes where commercial and operational performance are scrutinised.

“Our solutions play a key role at each of those three stages,” says Nick, adding that EPM Group has been closely looking at those ‘on the day’ control room elements in order to create new ways of improving efficiency and business productivity.

Part of that process is assisted by the breadth of solutions and products EPM already offers to clients. As Nick notes, they cover the complex chain of processes that run throughout bus businesses and they not only help to drive efficiencies but also lead to a better service for customers. “That really helps operators to deliver an excellent customer experience,” he adds. “That’s absolutely critical at the moment.”

Control room processes

Bus operator control rooms are the hub of the business and the key to ensuring fantastic on the ground service delivery. They cover a myriad of processes such as driver absences, lost mileage or on-the-road issues that can affect punctuality and reliability like traffic congestion or specific issues that require liaison with other departments, like in the case of an accident or vehicle breakdown.

Nick Brookes“They are tasked with providing a high-quality service to the customer,” explains Nick. “Those core tasks – making sure the staff are in, the vehicles are on the road and the service is running reliably – are key to that goal.”

But to gain greater insight into how those processes actually work, Nick and his colleagues have spent time in bus operator control rooms to observe them in action. He says it was an enlightening experience.

“One of the things that really stood out was that operators have invested in lots of different solutions in recent years,” he reveals. “There are lots of different systems in there, but we noticed it was all rather disparate – control room staff have to go to lots of different places to gather that information. When they find it, it’s not always in an easy-to-use format either.”

Nick says this means that some of the decisions made as a result of not having a centralised source of information can sometimes have significant cost implications and even detrimental impacts on service delivery. “Without a central hub, control room staff have to move from one system to another and then to another rather than it being presented in a way that facilitates good decision-making,” he adds.

A good example of that is a driver who may have been delayed on the first half of their duty, perhaps as a result of traffic congestion. Nick highlights that control room staff may have to extend their break before they can go back on the road for their second half. It’s a problem that has to be solved immediately, so having visibility of issues in a central hub enables operators to make decisions efficiently and cost effectively.

Solving the problem

“There are lots of different impacts in terms of how that situation can be managed,” says Nick. “If we have all of that information displayed and available, and particularly the key information you really need to know to make effective decisions, that’s not only going to help improve the efficiency and operation of the control room but also the wider business too.”

He says this could be the engineering department or customers services, but the key advantage is that rather than control room staff resorting to time-consuming written reports, ad-hoc emails or phone calls – all parts of the organisation are automatically informed immediately, triggering further automated processes further down that line.

“So you have this single operations platform, that brings together not only information from EPM systems, but third-party platforms too. That has the potential to not only create efficiencies but really improve communication across the business while avoiding the potential for errors to creep into the data,” Nick adds. “People don’t have to resort to frantic phone calls or wade through files or emails in order to find the information they need.”

Making the right decision

Of course, bringing together all these data sources also presents the opportunity to do new things with them. In that late running bus example, the driver’s duty may be in one system and the vehicle real time information may be in another, but by bringing those two sources together control room staff can be alerted in advance that there is an emerging issue that needs solving.

“We can facilitate proactive decision-making,” says Nick. “It’s perhaps inevitable that if you have information tucked away in various different systems, sometimes you just can’t see the wood for the trees. By bringing those pieces of information together we can help people to focus on making the right decision while managing the operation as efficiently as possible.”

Integrated solutions

The first phase of EPM Group’s development is to integrate between their new cloud-based Depot Allocation System, OmniDAS, and the EPM Traffic system to ensure that any staff-related incidents are automatically created. This streamlines the process and improves data integrity.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Squarepeg Buses digitalises scheduling and allocation with Omnibus cloud solutions

Squarepeg Buses digitalises scheduling and allocation with Omnibus cloud solutions

Squarepeg Buses, an independent operator in Leeds, has selected Omnibus cloud solutions to optimise scheduling and operational activities. 

The operator provides public, private and school transport services to a loyal customer base in the city and surrounding areas and needed software to work smarter in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Established in 2009 and with a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 13, the operator will deploy timetabling, vehicle scheduling, rostering, mapping, depot allocation and data sharing solutions. The Omnibus software has been developed over 30 years and is designed to gain operational and cost efficiencies in the planning of services as well as making the process easier for schedulers. 

Simon Daymond, Director of Squarepeg Buses, said: “We’ve always embraced technology and our approach has been to find opportunities through software, rather than scrambling for solutions when problems occur. Covid brought this to the fore and gave us an opportunity to pause and reflect on what we do as a business.  

“We were impressed by the clear superiority of the Omnibus products and the cloud benefits they will provide our family-focussed business. We’re driven by the needs of our passengers; the team at Omnibus has a strong background in the bus industry and deep understanding of the challenges operators face which will make a major contribution to the continued high-quality of our services.” 

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “We are delighted that Squarepeg Buses has chosen Omnibus to address their scheduling and operational requirements to support their future growth and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Our technology is designed specifically for schedulers and is quick and easy to use with efficient processes which improve productivity.” 

-END-

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.

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.

-END-

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.

Ritchies adopts Omnibus depot allocation solution

Cloud-based depot allocation

Ritchies, New Zealand’s leading passenger transport operator, has selected Omnibus’ depot allocation solution to be adopted across its main depots.

The solution will transform the operator’s planning and on-the-day driver and vehicle allocation processes to improve operational efficiency, cost management and enhance collaborative working.

Cloud-based depot allocation

OmniDAS is the complete Depot Allocation System providing operators with the capability to confidently deliver services safely and legally whilst minimising costs and providing real-time driver and vehicle management control.

Ritchies has been using Omnibus’ scheduling suite since 2018 and gained efficiencies in the planning of services as well as making the process much easier for schedulers.

Stephen Cruttwell, Implementation Manager at Ritchies, commented: “We are confident that our depot controllers will gain valuable operational efficiencies which have been experienced in the network planning teams across the business. This major investment in OmniDAS will provide access to leading-edge technology ensuring our allocators can react to on-the-day unscheduled driver events and easily access real-time driver and vehicle information to make the optimal business and customer service decisions.

“Having worked with the Omnibus team for 3 years and the great customer support we have received, for instance accommodating working out-of-office hours on their side due to the time differences as we rolled out the solutions, we are in good hands for the next phase.”

Aiden Proctor, International Client Manager at Omnibus, added: “We are delighted Ritchies has selected OmniDAS to support their future growth and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Having proved our scheduling solutions and demonstrated operational efficiencies to the business, this has further cemented our partnership. Our technology will play a key role in rebuilding patronage and providing a reliable service in New Zealand.”

-END-

Ritchies – www.ritchies.co.nz
Omnibus – www.omnibus.solutions

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.

Depot allocation – Minimise costs by improving crew duty efficiency

Depot allocation – Minimise costs by improving crew duty efficiency

Getting the service out each day is one of the most important considerations for bus operators.

An incident on the road, unscheduled leave, communication and pay issues, the COVID-19 pandemic – scenarios such as these increase costs if duty allocation is not managed properly.

To remain ahead in today’s competitive market services must be delivered efficiently and with optimal resource whilst complying with legal and regulatory requirements. If COVID has taught operators anything, it is they need the right tool to work smarter. 

Depot allocation – Minimise costs by improving crew duty efficiency

Allocate duties legally and with optimal resource

Sickness, booked leave, rest days and last-minute schedule changes mean that 10-15% of duties need to be reallocated on any given day. The challenge for operators is maximising the efficient use of available resources to cover this open work – and ensure duty allocation remains legal and assigned in the most effective way. 

A key function of depot allocation is to automate daily operations where no human intervention is required and come into its own when it is, making forward and on-the-day allocation a breeze. 

The controller should have clear visibility of the best matches for allocating uncovered work – and see this in an unbiased way. Information must be quick to locate and provide a summary of key details critical to making those informed decisions. For instance, only those that meet drivers’ hours, union agreements, local labour rules and company guidelines are listed. One important safeguard is the software will not let the controller make an illegal allocation and stop them at every attempt. This control of staff against relevant drivers’ hours legislation and company rules will offer assurances that drivers are only allocated to duties they are legally able to complete. 

Additionally, each drivers’ route and vehicle type training should be automatically captured so work is only assigned to staff who have prior knowledge of both. To ensure quality decision making, the controller needs to be alerted at the point where work is being considered where relevant experience is lacking. This adds another layer of confidence when making those quick decisions and potentially helps to prevent incidents that risk reputational damage. 

An important part of the reallocation decision process is the financial impact on the business. With bus driver wages accounting for around 41% (1) of operator costs, the controller needs to know when allocation choices will have a negative impact on pay. This way only the best driver in terms of legal rules and cost is chosen for the work. The simplicity to quickly identify available drivers and assign duties to them means the operator’s non-driving paid time can also be reduced. 

These capabilities become extremely important as operators not only look to rebound from COVID, but also to continue to respond to significant national and local drivers of change such as transforming for net zero, meeting Bus Service Improvement Partnerships (BSIP) requirements and shaping for future work.   

Quickly capture planned and real-time data

Schedules do not always go to plan in a live environment. Any number of situations can arise from unfavourable traffic conditions, accidents and vehicle incidents to driver absences and lateness. Far rarer are national emergencies such as the restrictions imposed on operators at the start of COVID. In all cases, bus operators must respond quickly and effectively to real world changes. 

To do this effectively, operators need to capture operational activities as they happen such as planned and unscheduled leave and events relating to accidents, complaints and disciplinary action. At the same time documents and DBS checks, data relating to CPC training and the expiry date of each driver’s CPC card, and issued equipment need to be recorded along with driver route and vehicle knowledge.  

Operators also need to better track their vehicles to quickly resolve allocation issues. The controller needs to see the assignment of buses to specific trips with all available, used and out of service vehicles displayed. The traffic office also needs visibility of allocated and unallocated running boards that are identifiable with mismatched buses as well as supplementary information on vehicle data, branding criteria and parking locations. 

For the smooth running of the business, it would be helpful for the operator if all this data could be captured automatically by one easy-to-use system that did not burden the busy controller. The traffic office’s workload can further be reduced by empowering drivers to manage their own duties, holiday and swaps. 

Benefits of payroll integration

Paying drivers correctly can be a challenge for bus operators. To avoid under and overpayment and retain a motivated workforce, pay needs to be accurate and account for actual hours worked, including overtime, duty rates, duty changes and so on. A depot allocation system with payroll integration is one way round this, and it can have multiple benefits for the operator and drivers. 

Firstly, it can save money. A controller who can see the cost of allocation can assign work to a driver who, for example, needs to meet their guaranteed paid hours and is legal to do so rather than one who would be on overtime. 

Secondly, it can increase efficiency because pay is calculated at the point of allocation. Also, it would be useful for the operator to have a system that automatically recalculated pay if a driver was involved in an incident and pushed into overtime. This would remove the burden from the controller and reassure drivers and the operator that payment is accurately recorded against hours worked. 

Finally, the controller needs a simple process to close the day or week and the finance department wants a fully accurate payroll-ready file that requires no data manipulation. Operators can reduce the risk of errors and improve efficiency if they were able to pass data between departments or teams without the need to share files and emails. By doing so, they would remove the need to create multiple versions of the same document. In terms of payroll, the traffic office will have a hassle-free way of sharing payroll data with finance, with neither team having to rekey information. 

Cross-departmental processes can also be streamlined with other teams to benefit the business. Analysts can extract data on drivers’ hours, overtime, mileage, etc for reporting purposes to identity timetable inefficiencies. 

All these scenarios reduce business risks and maximise productivity when making those quick decisions and put the operator in a stronger position to manage costs – and increase revenue – when responding to changes in the market and operating environment.  

Configurable around operator’s needs

When making those important decisions operators need to maintain strong union relationships and ensure compliance with local labour rules. This is achieved within rotas and duty plans – but also in the allocation process. To do this efficiently, operators need highly parameterised systems that can incorporate the complexities of the local labour agreements and provide multiple parameters to accommodate different labour rules across depots.   

As no two companies work the same, the depot allocation software must be entirely dynamic and configurable around the operator’s unique working practices. In terms of forward allocation, the operator needs to allow for a wide range of driver needs and have the flexibility to accommodate specific and complex requirements to ensure driver preferences are met. 

Also, the operator needs to define special days and may want to set a balanced holiday number so the same number of drivers are off all the time. In terms of payment, they may want to set pay rules, pay grades, pay codes, holiday and sickness entitlements and work guarantees. 

A system with a wide number of configurable options is available which allows for multiple levels of security so the operator can choose to use it effectively throughout the business.  

Conclusion

Bus operators are obliged to operate every duty, particularly one that is publicly funded, and they face potential penalties and reputational damage if they fail to do so. In the case of a subsidised route, the penalty can be higher than the loss of direct revenue from not running a service. Once an operator gets into the position of not running a route, bringing the service back on schedule can be a horrendous challenge.  

Highly configurable depot allocation software that gives real-time control over driver and vehicle management will help operators address allocation challenges. A system that is one source of truth for data which allows users to allocate and manage resources, produce timesheet and payroll information and automate staff sign-on – so the traffic office can focus on service provision. 

How Omnibus can help

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, our depot allocation software enables passenger transport operators to better manage their resources in real-time.

Our software solutions are trusted by public transport operators and local authorities, and implemented in mainland Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

To discuss your depot allocation requirements, please contact us on 0161 683 3100 or complete the online form. 

(1) Source: Understanding Buses by Chris Cheek 

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

Webinar – Depot Allocation simplified from schedules to payroll

Close up of man using laptop

Starting with your schedules, OmniDAS simply and efficiently allows you to allocate staff and vehicles, easily handling shift swaps, holidays and non-attendance, and day to day aspects in a bus depot. Whilst also making sure that it remains legal, and everyone is paid correctly too. Cloud based OmniDAS captures all this and more by being tailored to your specific circumstances. Join our webinar to find out more.

  • Date: Wednesday 13th October 2021
Close up of man using laptop

Key topics covered in the webinar

These tutorials taken from the webinar explain how to import schedules information, allocate resources and reduce administration.

Getting started with OmniDAS

Quickly & efficiently allocate resources

Automate staff sign-in

Produce accurate payroll information

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.

– END –

Press Contact:
Harmi Sangha

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

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