Category: OmniENGAGE

Compass Travel selects Omnibus cloud-based scheduling and depot allocation solutions

Compass Travel cloud-based scheduling and depot allocation

12 October 2022 – Compass Travel (Sussex) Ltd, the largest independent bus operator in the South East, has selected a package of Omnibus software solutions to improve operational efficiency, including cloud-based scheduling and depot allocation.

The cloud solutions will provide the Worthing-based operator with seamless collaboration on schedules, real-time driver and vehicle management for faster handling of disruption events whilst minimising costs, and enhanced reporting capabilities to improve service quality.

Compass Travel cloud-based scheduling and depot allocation

Michael Bishop, General Manager at Compass Travel

Michael Bishop, General Manager at Compass Travel, said: “Having considered other options, Omnibus software solutions offered the most comprehensive and flexible capabilities to support our operation. Since the acquisition of Omnibus by EPM Group and ongoing investment, there is a great choice of solutions and synergy between the two companies to drive innovation, collaboration, agility and efficiencies.”

Compass will migrate its existing Omnibus software (timetabling, vehicle scheduling and rostering) to the cloud scheduling platform and introduce OmniMAP, a digital mapping solution developed specifically for bus operators and transport authorities.

To reduce the administrative burden on allocators, the operator will digitalise manual allocations processes by adopting OmniDAS, a cloud-native real-time depot allocation system. OmniDAS provides users with more control to efficiently allocate and manage resources, produce timesheet and payroll information, and automate sign-on.

Linked to OmniDAS, Compass will implement driver app OmniENGAGE to automate driver requests and enquiries and streamline communication between allocators and drivers. It will also adopt data sharing solution BODS Exporter to ensure that compliant transport data is submitted downstream.

Michael, who also sits on ALBUM’s (The Association of Local Bus Company Managers) board of directors, said: “Having shared values, we are proud to extend our partnership with Omnibus. Its solutions are built on a deep appreciation for passenger transport operators of all sizes.

“Moving our existing scheduling software to the cloud and implementing new solutions will help us work efficiently and provide unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability across the business.

“With OmniDAS, our allocators will gain capability to work holistically across our Lewes, Worthing and Dunsfold depots and report on them individually and as a collective. The driver app will support staff retention by improving communication with drivers and providing them with an easier way to submit holiday requests, shift swaps and overtime requests.”

Peter Crichton, Founder of Omnibus, said: “Omnibus is delighted to further expand its relationship with Compass Travel in offering cloud-based scheduling and depot allocation along with a data sharing solution.

“Operators need to be agile to react to the changes in passenger demand and require a deep understanding of the data relating to their operation in order to achieve their business goals. With our in-depth knowledge of the industry and proven ability to provide robust solutions, Omnibus is well positioned to support operators with their challenges.”

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Omnibus Solutions: www.omnibus.solutions

Press contact at Omnibus Solutions, part of EPM Group

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.

Driver communication – Are holiday requests creating a time drain for your drivers?

Driver communication

At a time when driver recruitment and retention are the biggest challenges across the transport sector, bus operators should consider how they can make their organisation a place where people want to work.

One such area is the process for managing driver holiday requests.  

Driver communication

It can be quite frustrating for a driver, who at the end of their working day, needs to speak to someone about a holiday request, only to find that person is unavailable or busy seeing to other drivers. The driver can have a clear and easy way of requesting leave that does not affect their own time, such as a driver app which can be used remotely and independently when convenient. 

Other options that make managing the driver’s work-life balance easier can also be available. For instance, it can be easy to swap a shift for a more suitable start or finish time or know where they might be at a given time on a given date in the future. Having easy access to duties weeks in advance and the content of those duties empowers your drivers with better management of their own time. 

The benefits go beyond the time saved discussing leave or swaps with the person responsible for driver allocation; the quality of information is vastly improved, and it differentiates your organisation to current and potential employees. 

Drivers who want to volunteer for overtime can also be accommodated. They do not have to scan the noticeboard after each shift or burden the allocator; they too can request overtime at their convenience or even just let the allocator know they are available.  

If a driver can do all this at any time, it adds an element of fairness. The driver does not miss an opportunity to request holiday just because they could not get into the office and the overtime does not always go to the person who is in the canteen at the right time. If overtime is available through a driver app, it is available to all your drivers at the same time in the same place. 

Driver requests are a time drain and fraught with inaccuracies when done manually. By leveraging technology, you can make the process a positive experience where staff are encouraged to take the appropriate leave and come back recharged, refocused and recuperated. 

Drivers need support to help manage their home life around varying shift patterns and you need an efficient and fair process which makes the depot allocator’s life easier, whilst improving the level of control and accuracy of information.

Coming soon – In part 2 of our series on driver communication, we consider how you can ensure your staff are kept in the loop about operational and business decisions. 

How we can help

Part of the EPM Group, Omnibus has over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services and has comprehensive knowledge of the passenger transport industry and well-established software solutions to meet your challenges.  

Our driver app OmniENGAGE enables operators to stay connected with drivers whilst reducing administration to your operations team remain focussed on service provision. 

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.

Empowering you with software to drive your business forward

Intuitive. Seamless. Dynamic.

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.

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.

Warrington’s Own Buses adopts Driver App improving communication with drivers

31 Jan 2020 – Warrington’s Own Buses have installed myDAS from Omnibus to improve communication with its 160 drivers. myDAS is a driver App that links drivers directly with OmniDAS, the depot allocation system from Omnibus.

With large numbers of drivers to manage, it can sometimes become challenging for operators to manage all their requests for information in a timely manner. myDAS, the driver self-service module, which is an integral part of OmniDAS, allows drivers to access all their own details, including rota, overtime and holiday details, from their smart phone.

Gareth Mead, Head of Commercial for Warrington’s Own Buses, comments: “We wanted to improve our communication to drivers and give them access to important information to enable them to find their own answers to the most commonly asked questions. Through myDAS they can self-serve themselves more easily, which frees up the Duty Supervisors and Forward Allocators to deal with more challenging tasks.”

Warrington's Own Buses
Warrington's Own Buses

myDAS has already proven a huge hit with drivers. Within the first 2 weeks nearly 70% of drivers had already signed up to the App. Gareth says the take up has been largely due to ‘word of mouth from driver evangelists’.

He concludes: “It has been a huge success for everyone. Drivers love it because they don’t have to be in the depot or ring up to find out information and it gives greater visibility on the fair allocation of overtime; and our supervisors and managers now have more time to focus on new projects.”

-ENDS-

Press Contact:
Harmi Sangha
Marketing Manager – Omnibus and EPM Bus Solutions
07538 935 568
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com

Communication. Connected. Realtime

Gareth Mead, Head of Commercial at Warrington’s Own Buses

Gareth Mead
Head of Commercial for Warrington’s Own Buses

Drivers love it [the Driver App]  because they don’t have to be in the depot or ring up to find out information and it gives greater visibility on the fair allocation of overtime; and our Supervisors and Managers now have more time to focus on new projects”