Did you know that Trapeze also has bus operator customers in the UK and Ireland? It is often valuable to see how comparable organisations are tackling similar issues, and it is certainly true that the UK bus sector faces similar challenges to our own, including suppressed ridership, reduced revenues, driver and staff safety, and of course electrification of vehicles.
Therefore, we thought you might be interested to hear about the recent UK User Forum, which was similar to our own Buzzstop in many respects. We hope you find this event recap useful.
Demand Scheduling Becoming a Reality
Covid-19 has had a huge impact on UK bus ridership. With operating margins already tight, operators must do all they can to run services as efficiently as possible.
Ensuring that services are aligned to demand is an obvious way to do this, which was the topic of this session focused on a new concept called Demand Scheduling. With this approach, flexible elements are incorporated within ‘fixed’ bus routes, thereby reducing dead miles, saving money on fuel and minimising driving hours – and all while also reducing carbon emissions, which we have also been exploring here in Scandinavia.
In practice, with this type of solution passengers would go to a bus station and use an interactive display to summon their bus (and pay in advance). The system would then dynamically adjust the route in real-time, adjusting headways and feeding data to mileage and KPI systems. There is also potential for this to extend into ‘full flex’ routes, where passengers would manage their entire journey via an app.
Given that this concept resonated strongly with the event’s UK audience, with 75% of attendees indicating they saw a requirement for these kinds of services, we were keen to share it with you as well.
The Developing Trend of Electric Vehicles
Electrification was covered in our recent Buzzstop event, during which we explored how our technology could enable customers to run electric vehicle efficiently, and the concept is very much the same in the UK.
Though positive in many ways, electric vehicles do of course have one major constraint in the form of battery capacity. In this session, Product Manager Gavin John unveiled the work he has undertaken to monitor and manage this area.
Gavin outlined how advanced monitoring tools make it possible to assess how much power is being used on each journey, and where and when charging time can be factored in. The driver profile function enables managers to identify which drivers are working the most efficiently so that vehicles can be allocated appropriately.
While challenges remain in relation to running electric vehicles, there is huge potential here, both in terms of return on investment, quality of passenger experience, and of course better air quality and lower emission rates.
Keeping Drivers Safe with Mobile Sign On
The requirement for ‘social distancing’ has been a huge part of our lives this year. In the UK, our colleagues have spent much of 2020 implementing driver management applications for their customers – especially ‘mobile sign-on’, which offers similar functionality to our own Crew App.
The UK team report that these solutions have been in incredibly high demand this year because they enable bus operators to maintain services while keeping staff and drivers safe by reducing the number of people visiting depots.
One interesting announcement from the UK is that the team has integrated their driver app with a third-party specialist driver engagement portal. With driver attrition a huge issue for many UK operators, this approach is seen as a way to increase driver satisfaction, which should then help operators to retain drivers. We would be keen to learn whether any of our customers who see potential in this kind of approach.
Get in touch to find out more about any of these trends!