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.