Category: Bus Operators

DfT updates how concessionary fares reimbursements are calculated

DfT updates how concessionary fares reimbursements are calculated

These are the biggest changes in over 10 years issued by the DfT on how to calculate concessionary reimbursements

The DfT recently issued updated guidance around the reimbursement of concessionary fares in England and published a new reimbursement calculator tool. These are the biggest changes in over 10 years and there are a number of fundamental updates that operators need to be aware of.

DfT updates how concessionary fares reimbursements are calculated

In addition, the DfT have removed their recommendation that LTAs continue to pay reimbursement at pre-Covid levels, therefore operators need to act fast to ensure they are not losing out following the changes.

Within the revised guidance, there are some key changes for operators to consider:

Reimbursement Factor / Demand curves

  • The PTE/non-PTE demand curves are now referred to as urban and non-urban. The criteria for each is unchanged, although the list of urban (i.e. PTE) areas has been updated using the latest census data. Operators should check their scheme documents to ensure the correct demand curve is being applied in 2024/25.
  • The underlying demand curves have been updated. Based upon the work we have undertaken in the vast majority of cases this has led to increases in the reimbursement factor of >10% compared to the previous version of the reimbursement calculator.

Average Fare Foregone / Lookup tables

  • For those operators whose average fare is based on the ‘Discounted Fare’ method, the old Nowcard lookup table has been replaced with four new tables. These are based on the following area types – large urban, medium urban, mixed urban/rural and rural. It is imperative that operators review their scheme documents to ensure LTAs have selected the appropriate lookup table for their area.
  • Although the DfT recommend that one lookup table is used by an LTA for all operators, they do acknowledge there may be circumstances where this is not a fair reflection of an operator’s particular circumstances. Operators should therefore assess their own operations to confirm this aligns with the LTA area – if it doesn’t then the lookup table may be challenged.

Additional Costs

  • Within the marginal capacity costs calculation, the elasticity and default commercial journey percentages have been updated. The basis of inflation has also been updated, which has an impact on the underlying cost per vehicle hour and mile rates. We always recommend that operators run their own marginal capacity cost calculations to ensure the rates, if any, proposed by LTAs are appropriate for their operations. Given how sensitive the DfT’s reimbursement calculator is to operators’ local inputs, over the years we have frequently found that operators are being under-reimbursed in this area.

We have helped operators of all sizes ensure they receive the correct amount of reimbursement since the inception of the free concessionary fares scheme. In the last scheme year, we improved operators’ reimbursement by an average of 17%. Read more on concessionary consultancy services.

To ensure that your concessionary fares payments are maximised, particularly given the recent changes to the scheme guidance, contact us for a free consultation.

Get on route to accurate concessionary reimbursement

EPM and Omnibus Solutions, part of Velociti Group, announce Adrian Hipkiss as new Chief Executive Officer

25 January 2024 – Velociti Group, a leading software and specialist consultancy serving the public transport sector, is pleased to announce the appointment of Adrian Hipkiss as its new Chief Executive Officer. With a proven track record of leading and scaling technology organisations, Adrian brings a fresh perspective and strategic vision to lead the Velociti Group through its next phase of growth. 

 

Adrian Hipkiss, new Velociti Group CEO

Adrian has held several executive leadership positions, and joins Velociti Group with an impressive background of driving revenue and profitability whilst leading strategic transformation. Having held key roles in Ceragon Networks, Tata Communications and ShoreTel, Adrian brings his exceptional leadership, strategic planning, and a commitment to driving the innovation that will help Velociti succeed in its mission to deliver fast and lasting digital transformation in passenger transport.

Velociti Group, known for its commitment to delivering software and strategic services in bus and rail transport, sees Adrian’s appointment as a strategic move to capitalise on emerging opportunities in the transport sector. His leadership is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of the group and to drive synergies across the businesses, fostering collaboration and innovation to propel Velociti Group to new heights.

Adrian Hipkiss said, “I am delighted to be joining Velociti Group at a time when the transport sector is undergoing such rapid transformation. Velociti Group businesses are well-positioned to take hold of the huge opportunities that digital transformation in transport presents.”

Jim Darragh, Velociti Group Chairman, said, “We are hugely excited by the appointment of Adrian, he brings an incredible track record of commercial growth and building great teams.”

 

Notes for Editors

For more information about Velociti Group and its portfolio of companies, please visit https://www.velociti-group.co.uk/about-us/.

Contact: Kerry Chapman

press@velociti-group.co.uk

About Velociti Group:

Velociti Group is committed to transforming public transport, providing bus and rail operators with technology, implementation services and support backed by deep expertise of the transport sector.  Velociti offers the future ready technology, client side-experience, implementation expertise and bespoke consultancy services that power public transport and are focused on one outcome – customer success.

Velociti Group is comprised of diverse portfolio of companies specialising in various aspects of the bus and rail operations. The group comprises:

  1. EPM Bus Solutions: A leading provider of unique software and consultancy services for the bus industry, EPM Bus Solutions focuses on enhancing operational and commercial efficiency, and passenger experience.
  2. Omnibus Solutions: As a key player in the transport technology space, Omnibus specialises in developing advanced software solutions to efficiently plan and deliver services.
  3. 3Squared: Known for its expertise in railway technology, 3Squared is at the forefront of providing cutting-edge solutions to enhance the efficiency and safety of rail operations.
  4. Fab Digital: A dynamic player in the digital transformation arena, Fab Digital focuses on leveraging technology to revolutionise the rail industry’s communications with passengers.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

2023 reflections and the year ahead

UK bus industry in 2023 and the year ahead

The UK Bus industry is ever-evolving and 2023 has been a year of marked change. This year has witnessed the sector navigating challenges, such as the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and driver shortages, to the ever-present call for greener and more efficient modes of transport. As we approach 2024, we believe the central themes guiding the upcoming year and beyond will revolve around collaboration and adaptability.

 

UK bus industry in 2023 and the year ahead

To franchise, or not to franchise?

Franchising has undeniably taken centre stage in the narrative of 2023. Introduced in Manchester for the first time since deregulation, this transformative trend looks set to shape the years ahead with Liverpool City Region and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), amongst others, planning to follow suit. With a growing number of councils bracing for upcoming elections, the widespread adoption of the franchise model seems increasingly inevitable. Yet, as this momentum builds, it is important to consider alternative approaches. By leveraging best practices and enhancing the established systems and processes within operators’ existing networks, there’s an opportunity to transition toward a more collaborative future involving Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) and operators.

Against this backdrop and with funding potentially tightening in 2024, bus operators and LTAs must adopt a prudent approach, carefully managing financial resources to ensure operation of the most efficient services possible. The notable upswing in patronage observed this year underscores the need for a sustained and proficient operation. Collaborative efforts between bus operators and LTAs will play a pivotal role, with the latest technology helping to empower LTAs and operators with the intelligence and insights required to fulfil their commitments and uphold network responsibilities effectively.

Incentivised travel and BSOG reform

The introduction of the £2 bus fare cap in England, not only incentivised bus travel but made it affordable for millions of passengers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. Introduced as a £2 flat rate fare outside of London until November 2024, the measure has helped to increase patronage post-Covid. However, unless a transitional arrangement is introduced at the end of the current initiative, a potential cliff-edge scenario could see fares increase substantially at the end of 2024, hitting millions of passengers in the pocket and reducing patronage.

The BSOG funding process is set to be reformed, with the Department of Transport and industry bodies set to shape the future of the scheme with a focus on incentivising zero emission vehicles and additional funding for rural services. Depending on the approach, and considering work carried out by EPM in collaboration with Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), changes to the current funding mechanism could have significant winners and losers. With a general election next year it is likely that any reform measures decided on in 2024 will not be implemented until Spring of the following year.

Flexible timetables to meet changing work patterns

Travel patterns have changed, characterised by an uptake in remote work and an increase in leisure travel. Therefore, there is a greater need for LTAs and bus operators to understand these changing behaviours. Timetables need to be fluid and flexibly planned to capitalise on emerging trends and to effectively meet the fluctuating demand. This ensures that the changing needs of customers are not only understood but also met.

Driver shortages

This year has seen a shortage of drivers continue to blight the industry. The CPT has identified that almost 1 in 10 bus driver positions are vacant in the UK which has led to a drop in the number of deliverable services. With attributing factors such as long hours and exhausting shift patterns, there is a need for operators to build stronger relationships with their drivers to address this ongoing challenge. Establishing open communication is vital, and leveraging data becomes paramount in understanding and contextualising driver performance. Additionally, adopting driver-centric technologies can prove instrumental in enhancing driver relations by empowering them to access their schedules remotely and easily request time off or overtime.

Innovation to attract more passengers

The key challenge for bus operators and local authorities in 2024 will be to continue to attract customers. Initiatives such as multi-operator ticketing (MOT) and tap on tap off (TOTO) make bus travel a more attractive proposition, encouraging travel and repeat journeys. However, the key metrics of affordability and reliability will determine the continued success and viability of operations. Amid escalating costs and rising customer expectations, on-the-day decision-making will be critical in ensuring service quality. This demands an evolution of control room systems to provide a complete, holistic view of operations in real-time, helping controllers get ahead of problems on the network and proactively find solutions.

The year ahead

2023 has been a dynamic and transformative period for the industry, marked by challenges and significant developments. As we look ahead to 2024, collaboration emerges as a central theme, with franchising gaining prominence and funding set to reshape the sector.

Technology will play an increasingly important role, helping bus operators and LTAs to successfully navigate these challenges and help the bus industry to go from strength to strength.

Solutions to support the year ahead:

  • For planning and managing franchise networks ETM DAS and Contract Performance.
  • To improve driver retention and communication a driver app such as OmniENGAGE.
  • Empowering control room teams to efficiently manage and resolve on-the-day issues to deliver a quality bus service, as well as achieve significant cost-savings with Control360.
  • Data / intelligence streamlined with Insights providing management teams with a comprehensive view, enabling them to make well-informed decisions.
  • Flexible timetable display solution, OmnSTOPdesign, allows for efficient and cost-effective turnaround for roadside publicity.

Ready to start driving forward in 2024? Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

DfT extends BSOG+ registration to 29 December 2023

Lady at computer using calculator. DfT extends BSOG+ registration to 29 December 2023

Operators have you registered to BSOG+

The DfT have reopened the registration window of the BSOG+ scheme to the 29 December 2023. Operators will be able to claim BSOG+ from 1 January 2024, rather than 1 July 2023, which was the commencement date of the scheme.

Lady at computer using calculator. DfT extends BSOG+ registration to 29 December 2023

How to register

The Bus Service Operators Grant Plus (BSOG+) is a new grant running from 1 July 2023 until 31 March 2025. Following recent re-issuing of the Terms and Conditions for BSOG+, the DfT have opened a new window for operators to join the scheme, if they have not already signed up.

Operators who wish to sign up to receive BSOG+ should review the T&Cs and submit a signed declaration form to BSOG.Plus@dft.gov.uk by 29 December 2023. It is important the eligibility criteria and data requirements is reviewed before submitting a signed declaration form to sign up.

Operators who are accepted onto BSOG+ will receive payments for eligible commercial services run between 1 January 2024 and 31 March 2025. It is important to note that BSOG+ funding will not be paid to those subject to debt recovery for BSOG or another Government Bus Funding Grant Scheme.

If you have already returned your declaration form to sign up to BSOG+, then you do not need to take any further action.

Read FAQs on BSOG+ and download the declaration form. Any further queries email BSOG.Plus@dft.gov.uk.

Take the hassle out of claiming

For a free consultation on how we can assist you with your BSOG+ claim, get in touch with our expert Matthew Hanlon by completing the online form or call 01527 556940

A vision for streamlined operations: EPM and Omnibus are dedicated to enhancing operator efficiency with new solutions

In the dynamic world of public transport, where efficiency, reliability, and data-driven decision-making are paramount, Velociti Group companies EPM and Omnibus, are making significant strides to transform industry processes. With a rich legacy spanning over three decades, the companies are at the forefront of providing innovative solutions to this complex sector.

Nick Brookes, Software Director at EPM and Omnibus, believes that the companies’ commitment to driving operational efficiency and boosting patronage is evident in their approach to product development with enhancements to existing solutions and plans for a new product — Control360 — which aims to revolutionise service delivery.

 

Article featured in the Passenger Transport supplement for CPT Scotland Conference 2023.
Evolution of control room solutions

In early 2021, EPM acquired Omnibus, a leading transport software company. Since then, EPM has been working to integrate their solutions to provide more value to customers. Nick emphasises the need to bridge digital capability gaps.

“In the intricate bus operations landscape, effective management is crucial for reliable, high-quality, passenger-focussed services,” he explains. “Our focus on integrating the OmniDAS depot allocation system with our existing operator control room tools marks significant progress. This cloud-based SaaS solution provides operators with real-time visibility of driver and vehicle resources, streamlining resource management and ensuring compliance with regulations and local agreements.”

In a world where operators are increasingly focusing on driver retention and engagement, Nick highlights Omnibus’ innovative driver smartphone app, OmniENGAGE, which fosters improved communication with drivers, boosts driver retention, and facilitates efficient allocation of resources by offering a self-service function that takes the pressure away from depot-based allocation teams.

That self-service system has also been expanded to offer an automated sign-on facility for drivers. Rather than signing on for work at a front desk in a depot, they can instead sign on for work remotely using the app. Geofencing technology ensures accurate tracking of the driver’s location, enhancing operational oversight.

Real-time decision making with OmniDAS

OmniDAS is a cloud-native platform designed to support on-the-day operations with real-time decision-making capabilities for control room staff. It enables operators to swiftly adapt to unforeseen challenges such as driver shortages and unexpected incidents. This semi-automated system ensures that any changes made during the day are accurately logged and processed, providing a single source of truth for payroll and HR records.

Nick highlights EPM’s Insights solution. It complements OmniDAS by offering comprehensive data analysis tools that help identify trends and issues, fostering proactive decision-making and improved service quality.

“This holistic approach to operational efficiency encompasses both planning and execution, ensuring that meticulous pre-planning translates into passenger satisfaction,” he adds.

Control360: a vision for comprehensive service delivery

While Omnibus is enhancing OmniDAS, EPM is developing Control360. It will provide operators with a comprehensive 360-degree view by unifying disparate data sources.

“Critical decisions are frequently made in the control room, and Control360 will facilitate data sharing, enabling operators to uphold their promises of delivering reliable and quality bus services,” revealed Nick. “By consolidating data from various applications, including third-party sources and open data, Control360 will present operators with actionable insights and early warning alerts, reducing the reliance on gut-feel decisions and fostering data-driven operations.”

One key advantage of Control360 is its seamless integration with existing EPM and Omnibus solutions, such as OmniDAS, Customer Resolution Centre and Accident Management systems. This integration streamlines processes, removes data silos, and ensures consistency.

“Control360’s future roadmap includes plans to assess the financial implications of operational changes, helping control room staff make informed decisions that not only improve service quality but also make financial sense,” adds Nick. “This proactive approach will ensure that bus operators are equipped to handle a fast-paced and complex environment effectively.”

A glimpse into the future

EPM and Omnibus are advancing their journey to provide data-driven bus industry solutions. OmniDAS is available, and integration with the EPM Traffic system is complete. The upcoming Control360, though still in development, is set to be a game-changer by consolidating crucial information, ultimately boosting bus service quality and reliability.

As they prepare for a phased launch for Control360 in early 2024, Nick believes operators can look forward to a future where data-driven decisions and efficient resource allocation — backed by improved communication — are the pillars of success.

“Our view is that for operators to be successful there are two sides to the equation,” he concludes. “The first is to become more operationally efficient and the other is in growing patronage and therefore revenue.

“We want to empower operators with data-driven tools that respond to those challenges by optimising resource allocation and responding swiftly to issues. This not only improves service quality but also fosters growth in patronage, ultimately boosting revenue as operators deliver on their promises to passengers and build a reputation for service reliability and quality.”

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

EPM Bus Solutions parent company announces rebrand to Velociti Group

Today, UK-based EPM Transport Solutions, transport technology specialists and parent company of EPM Bus Solutions, Omnibus Solutions, 3Squared, and FabDigital has announced it has rebranded to Velociti Group.

 

The company launched the new identity, including new name and logo, to better communicate its purpose to deliver innovative software and specialist consultancy to power public transportation. This new fresh identity represents Velociti’s dynamism, agility, and energy.  Along with the brand-new look, Velociti Group’s innovative message is ‘The Future. Accelerated.’

Through pioneering technology and a first-class approach to implementation, Velociti Group tackles the challenges faced by those seeking to create an improved and greener future for customers, operators, and infrastructure owners, in both rail and bus sectors.

Ian Churchill, CEO at Velociti Group, commented: “We are delighted to launch Velociti Group, a new name and vibrant identity that effectively embodies us as a group. Velociti Group encompasses a wealth of heritage and ambition from across the bus and rail sectors and we are pleased to reflect this in our new brand.”

“Velociti Group companies will continue to operate as individual entities while the new group identity will bring them together as a collective, with the combined aim of creating a better future for forward-thinking organisations seeking to improve outcomes in bus and rail transport.”

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The DfT develop transport user personas

The Department for Transport (DfT) has developed a set of transport user personas to help understand the needs, preferences, and behaviour traits of different passengers and ensure the transport system works for everyone. They have developed 12 different personas to reflect 9 groups of people.

 

These segments were developed from existing research that was validated and updated by a large-scale survey and ethnographic research in 2022, covering the population aged 16 and over in England only. They break up the population into smaller clusters to define their individual traits when using transport.

Read the full story: Transport user personas: Understanding different users and their needs

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EPM Group aims to deliver on customer service

Software solutions specialist supports bus operators as they transform customer service and rebuild patronage.

 

The bus industry is facing some significant challenges when it comes to providing high-quality customer service. Despite their very best efforts, many operators need help with staff shortages, traffic congestion, and post-pandemic uncertainty all  impacting service delivery.

Nick Brookes, software director at EPM, believes the bus industry needs to react to these challenges and also think ahead to the passengers of the future.

Many of these potential passengers increasingly turn to cost-effective alternatives such as ride-hailing apps and micromobility modes like e-scooters or cycle hire. Younger generations are also less likely to use traditional public transport.

Article featured in the Passenger Transport supplement, The ALBUM Report 2023.

“Against this backdrop, customer expectations more generally are rising: people expect a more personalised experience and also the ability to provide feedback on their journey,” says Nick. “This puts pressure on bus operators to transform their customer service delivery and provide a more tailored and responsive service.”

The customer service challenge

Bus operators are also increasingly recognising the significant role that good customer service plays in responding to those challenges.

“Many operators acknowledge they need to enhance customer engagement, but there are other factors also contributing to this shift in attitude,” adds Nick. “The National Bus Strategy requires operators to demonstrate wholesale improvements in customer satisfaction and partnership working with Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) will inevitably require them to demonstrate its happened using KPIs.”

 

Customer service is therefore a crucial factor that should not be overlooked. “Not so long ago that feedback would have come from a small number of channels,” says Nick. “Passengers would have either written a letter to the operator or called their customer service team.

It’s completely different today, of course. Yes, those channels still exist, but there’s now also email, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to consider. The ability to proactively communicate across multiple platforms is now critical.”

Offering a consolidated view

So how can operators get a handle on managing customer service? Nick believes the answer lies in EPM’s Customer Resolution Centre platform, a single system that automatically collects feedback from a variety of sources, effectively managing the process and providing a consolidated view of all communication.

“It has been designed to ensure that no feedback slips through the cracks unnoticed,” he adds. “Customer Resolution Centre consolidates data from social media networks and websites along with more traditional communication methods, such as face-to-face or telephone calls, to reduce the time spent recording customer interactions.

Managing these very different communication channels can be time-consuming, so it’s really vital that operators ensure they have the right systems in place to collect the data they need.”

Built-in workflows ensure that every comment, complaint or commendation is assigned to the appropriate department for investigation, and the passenger also receives a notification about how their feedback is being handled. It’s an approach that Nick says has been designed to save staff time and make it easier for them to keep on top of all customer communications.

He continues: “Traditional methods of investigation can be time-consuming and frequently run the risk of straining relations with both passengers and between teams, but operators these days have access to a wealth of data captured in standalone systems, such as real-time information systems, and it seems logical to use that information to help resolve the issue.”

Nick highlights how Customer Resolution Centre can work across different platforms. Investigators can swiftly retrieve data on the route, timetable, vehicle, and driver, even with the most basic of details and that means investigation times can be reduced, allowing the case to be efficiently resolved.

“When looking at data such as ticketing information, driver logs, and congestion reports on their own, little actionable insight can be gleaned from them,” he adds. “However, when these disparate data sources are combined and analysed alongside customer feedback – effectively a single source of truth – a much clearer picture emerges. It means operators can identify network issues or routes where extra running time may be needed.”

Customer service teams inevitably spend more time dealing with complaints than commendations, not because the service is poor, but because passengers are more likely to report negative experiences. Nick stresses it’s important to focus on positive feedback.

“There are well-known industry driver recruitment and retention issues, so ensuring any positive messaging gets back to the driver concerned to recognise their good work is an important aspect of an operator’s driver retention strategy,” he adds.

Nick also feels that Customer Resolution Centre can improve compliance. “That consolidated view means you’re capturing a comprehensive snapshot of the business,” he says. “There isn’t the risk you’re missing silo datasets, so there are some real benefits when it comes to Traffic Commissioners and regulatory compliance.”

A key focus

EPM has been placing significant emphasis on improving control room processes for some time now with its BIRS (Bus Incident Reporting System) tool enabling operators to work more flexibly and efficiently. Nick adds the company now wants to build on this by consolidating all information flows in and out of the control room into one solution.

He says this will be crucial in allowing control room staff to make more informed and proactive decisions. By integrating data from different systems, like Customer Resolution Centre, and using historical data to identify trends, the aim is to eliminate silos that currently exist.

“The goal is to improve operator efficiency and that’s a key priority for us,” Nick concludes.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

EPM and Omnibus aim for innovation in the efficiency chain

Software solutions specialist aims to support bus operators as they grapple with uncertainties.

It’s a challenging time for bus operators with continuing uncertainties surrounding future funding, the building back of patronage, and increasing traffic congestion.

Many are placing their operations and networks under the microscope, but software solutions specialist EPM Bus Solutions and Omnibus Solutions, companies of Velociti Group, believe the answer to many of the problems created by these complex issues can be found by focusing on improving efficiencies and streamlining processes.

 

Article featured in the Passenger Transport supplement for UK Bus & Coach 2023.

“We’ve been working very closely on the efficiency chain,” says Nick Brookes, software director at EPM and Omnibus. “We are looking at the complete range of interactions that take place in any bus operator to see how we can help them realise savings and become even more agile.”

The focus of EPM and Omnibus is on realising efficiencies by creating an integrated operational platform. The key components of this vision are drivers and depot allocation, customer services and accidents, and engineering processes.

“We want the data and processes from each of those stages to talk to one another,” explains Nick. “Bus operators create huge amounts of data, but a lot of it is lost in translation. We want to take the data and translate it into information that enables bus operators to become more efficient.”

Helping with driver retention

Driver and vehicle allocation has been a key focus for the group. The Omnibus depot allocation system, OmniDAS, for real-time driver and vehicle management has been enhanced with a move to the cloud and the addition of a smartphone app that creates a complete self-service system for drivers to manage their working life. This includes the ability to offer   remote sign-on facility, meaning drivers don’t even have to visit their home depot to sign on for work each day.

Nick believes the sum of these parts is a system that can assist operators to improve their driver retention goals, an important development at a time when much of the industry is struggling with shortages.

“It can really help drivers manage their home life while ensuring they are informed and connected with their colleagues,” he explains. “They can see their shift patterns, apply for overtime, swap their shifts – in other words, they don’t have to go to a front desk or speak to someone. There’s still oversight of what’s going on, but it becomes a back-office process. It makes things more efficient for everyone.”

Nick reveals there are plans to build on this self-service approach. A new bulletin board system within the app aims to supplement the traditional depot noticeboard, allowing staff to review important company information on the go.

Further enhancements are likely to see the app integrated into EPM’s accident management systems, in other words, drivers will be able to record vital details and evidence in the immediate aftermath of an accident. And on that EPM plans to later this year improve its accident reporting solution with new features that will assist operators in tracking accidents from when they happened right through to closure and then analysis afterwards. Nick adds this will allow operators to scrutinise insights that will help them drive down the possibility of a similar accident reoccurring.

Integrating systems

Those plans to integrate the app and accident reporting hint at other aspirations. Nick is keen to evolve the EPM and Omnibus suite of solutions into an expanded platform that helps bus operators realise efficiencies. He describes this as being about creating a “single source of truth”.

“What we want to do is create outputs for operators that offer a good, accurate and consistent overview,” he adds. “We want to streamline workflows and integrate them across the business.”

Nick highlights the operations platform elements of EPM’s offering. “Our Customer Resolution Centre is integrated into that,” he explains. “We wanted it to work harder to help operators rebuild patronage and it’s an area where some operators have struggled in the past.”

While other systems are about logging these interactions, EPM’s platform aims to be more proactive in addressing them. It can automatically consolidate customer feedback from multiple sources to produce a complete overview of customer interactions.

“It means operators can respond to customers quickly and efficiently from a range of platforms, including social media,” adds Nick. “Downstream processes, such as creating feedback forms from the staff involved or evidence requests are automated. It’s about resolving the issue quickly and creating a consolidated view of the entire process.”

Another example of that integration is in engineering systems. While EPM has no plans to create an engineering solution of its own, it is working with third-party providers to ensure systems ‘talk’ to one another in order to streamline processes.

Nick says a good example is if a vehicle is off-road for repair: the engineering system will talk with EPM’s systems to ensure the depot allocation system (OmniDAS) knows that the vehicle can’t be allocated for work for that day. It means that telephone calls or potentially unreliable paper-based methods between engineering and operations departments are avoided and there’s also the advantage that the entire process is automated.

Tying it all together

A big focus for some time for the product team has been on control room processes.

“Our BIRS (Bus Incident Reporting System) solution enables operators to work flexibly and efficiently, but we want to expand on that,” explains Nick. “A lot of information already flows into and out of the operator’s control room, and we want to consolidate that data into a single dashboard. This is a key focus for us because it will allow control room staff to make more informed and proactive decisions.”

He adds that this process will take disparate systems out of their silos, consolidate them and then use historical data to allow operators to determine trends.

“Efficiency is a big focus for us this year,” Nick concludes.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Visit us at the ALBUM Conference 2023

Join us, EPM and Omnibus, on 25 & 26 April 2023 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, for ALBUM Conference 2023.

This year’s theme is the changing face of our industry focusing on four pillars within this – policy, customers, products, and colleagues. The event will be a celebration of all areas of the industry looking at both the present and future of the industry, and how we can navigate the challenges and maximise opportunity.

Visit us on stand 37 for product demos and speak with Software Director, Nick Brookes; BSOG Director, Matthew Hanlon; Account Manager, Penny Johnson; Omnibus’ Founder, Peter Crichton; and Product Owner, Aiden Proctor about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:

 

Event itinerary.

Book your tickets.

Address:
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
1 Festival Square
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH3 9SR

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

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