Category: OmniTIMES

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.

Warwickshire County Council selects Omnibus planning and publicity solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Empowering transport authorities with software solutions

Grow patronage, improve efficiency and deliver outstanding customer service

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.” 

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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.

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.

Merseytravel selects Omnibus cloud-based scheduling solution

Merseytravel selects Omnibus cloud-based scheduling solution

Merseytravel has extended its software partnership with EPM Group (EPM and Omnibus) through the adoption of the Omnibus cloud-based scheduling suite.

Omnibus’ solution provides users with a range of flexible and easy-to-use tools aimed at improving efficiency and reducing the margin for error when timetabling and scheduling and is accessible from any location.

Merseytravel selects Omnibus cloud-based scheduling solution

Merseytravel is the transport delivery arm of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and has previously worked with EPM Group on the deployment of contract management solution ETM DAS to monitor the performance of tendered routes in a central hub – reducing administration time and providing data to make cost-effective decisions. In addition, Merseytravel also implemented the interactive analytics platform EPM Insights which offers strategic insight through real-time management information and dashboards.

The scheduling suite integrates seamlessly with both products, removing the need for manual entry of timetables when preparing to issue a new tender. Timetables and scheduling data is then fed into EPM Insights for visual reporting and analysis.

The Omnibus TransXchange viewer tools can also be utilised to review submissions from operators to ensure compliance with the tender specification, making this process as efficient as possible when dealing with multiple tender submissions.

Jeanette Townson, Bus Development Manager at MerseytravelJeanette Townson, Bus Development Manager at Merseytravel, said: “The implementation of Omnibus scheduling suite will help streamline and increase the efficiency of the tendering process by removing the need for manual data entry.

“Previously this process involved creating timetables in Microsoft Word and Excel which was time consuming and difficult to update. The integration of the products and automation capabilities will help ensure data quality and provide significant time savings – freeing up valuable resources to focus on other priorities.”

Ian Churchill, CEO at EPM Group, said: “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Merseytravel, and this new integration is testament to the software’s capabilities as well as the value which is achieved with the two businesses, EPM and Omnibus, working together.

“Driving efficiency is the key goal behind our software solutions and we are committed to helping Transport Authorities improve the effectiveness of their organisation and the success of their networks.”

– END –

EPM Group Press Contact:
Harminder Sangha
Harminder.sangha@epm-bus.com
07538 935 568

Empowering transport authorities with software solutions

Grow patronage, improve efficiency and deliver outstanding customer service

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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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 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

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