Category: Bus Operators

£226 million package to support vital bus services

07 July 2021 – Bus operators across the country will benefit from £226.5 million in government funding to help ensure they continue to run vital services as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The funding will run from September 2021 to April 2022 and will support operators across England, outside of London, cementing the government’s commitment to level up transport links as passenger numbers begin to return to pre-pandemic levels.

The scheme is part of the government’s drive to build back better and greener from the pandemic, as the UK prepares to host COP26 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said:”The recovery funding will ensure vital services continue to run by supporting operators in those initial months, as restrictions are lifted and passengers begin to return in higher numbers.”

Read the full announcement – £226 million package to support vital bus services

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

VIDEO: Route profitability made easy with Insights

Insights software route profitability

As we start to emerge from the Covid pandemic, public confidence will lead to higher levels of patronage and government financial support will start to be phased out.  This means operators need REAL-TIME management information to rebuild revenues and reshape the network around customer demand in order to re-establish profitability.

Automated. Seamless. Dynamic.

Route profitability made easy.

Getting visibility of route profitability can be a very time-consuming and resource intensive process as there can be many data points to analyse, held in several systems across the organisation, and it can easily become outdated as new information gets fed into the system.

Our Insights software automatically consolidates data across multiple sources of the business, delivering a 360-degree view of your bus operations – supporting you to improve network performance.

In just a few clicks you can easily find out the routes that are performing well and those that are not contributing to the business – watch the video to see how easy it is….

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Employee Spotlight – Nick Brookes, Software Director

In this month’s ’employee spotlight’ we sit down with Software Director, Nick Brookes who has worked for EPM for 20 years.

Undertaking a range of roles from BSOG auditor to concessionary fares consultant, Nick uses his wealth of bus industry knowledge to help shape products and services; staying at the forefront of passenger transport technology.

What three words would you use to describe your role?

Challenging, fast-paced and interesting.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are typically spent talking to customers about our products to identify new requirements and ways that we can add value for our clients. I also work closely with our Product Owner and CTO around the development programme and our Service Delivery Manager.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have a black belt in karate – well I did when I was 13 anyway!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Probably Australia – I like the good weather, but my foreign language skills are not up to much!

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Friends – I think we have all missed the opportunity to go for a beer with friends in recent months.

Do you have a favourite book?

Probably more of a guilty pleasure but I always read a John Grisham book when I am on holiday!

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Do you have any hobbies?

I like going to the gym and running. Not so much my hobbies but my children are both very active, so I enjoy watching them take on a range of activities from the side-lines as well.

If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be?

My son plays the guitar, which looks pretty cool – fortunately for him he has inherited his mother’s musicality not mine, which is non-existent.

Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

I recently watched the Last Dance and played lots of basketball when I was younger – so maybe Michael Jordon at his peak or any professional athlete just to experience what it would be like to be that good for a day!

How do you think the industry will change in 10 years?

The vast majority of vehicles will be zero emission as the investment that our clients have started making in alternative fuel vehicles continues. Autonomous vehicles will still be a little way off, but integrated transport networks in major towns and cities will be the norm.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just started their career?

Work hard and take on the responsibility as it is offered to you and be prepared to learn from both your successes and failures!

Read last month’s Employee Spotlight with BSOG Manager, Sarah Bayliss

Experts in Transport Management

Bus Service Improvement Plan guidance follows NBS

empty bus seats
empty bus seats

17 May 2021, Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) guidance document has been published, part of the National Bus Strategy, by the Government.

BSIP submissions will need to set out a high-level vision and key interventions to deliver it, with the overarching aim will be to grow patronage.

The timetable for Local Transport Authorities to submit a BSIP :

  • 30 June: Decide whether to pursue Enhanced Partnership (EP) or develop a franchising assessment
  • 31 October: Publish a BSIP
  • 31 March 2022: Have either an EP in place or be following the statutory process to develop a franchising assessment

Access to a share of the £3bn to be provided by the Government for buses required these deadlines to be met.


Download the National bus strategy: bus service improvement plans – guidance to local authorities and bus operators

Read the full Government announcement on the £3 billion bus revolution

Download the Bus Back Better: national bus strategy for England

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

EPM and Omnibus to exhibit at ITT Hub 2021

Join EPM and Omnibus on 30th June and 1st July at ITT Hub 2021 – a new industry event which supports the government’s decarbonisation of transport plan – taking place at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Exhibiting the best in road-transport innovation and technology for fleet operators, planners, and policy makers; ITT Hub combines an indoor exhibition, outdoor interactive display, and demonstration space with a high-profile Future Logistics Conference.

Visit us on stand A33 and speak to EPM’s Software Director, Nick Brookes and Product Manager, Mark Jones; Omnibus’ Managing Director, Peter Crichton and Technical Account Manager, Kieran Proctor on the latest passenger transport software to increase commercial, financial, and operational performance; from scheduling, to staff rostering, depot allocation and timetabling.

Visit the website: ITT Hub 2021


Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre
Etps Rd, Farnborough
GU14 6FD

ITT Hub 2021

30 June – 1st July
Farnborough International Conference & Exhibition Centre

BSOG payments to local authorities and bus operators announced

30 April 2021 – The Department for Transport have published Bus Service Operators Grant payments to bus operators and local authorities.

The document has been updated to list the details of claimants and the amounts paid up to 2020 – 2021.

Download our analysis of the payments: BSOG payments 2020-21

Read the full announcements:

Bus Service Operators Grant payments to English operators from 2010 onwards

Bus Service Operators Grant payments to local authorities from 2013 onwards

As the leading experts in BSOG certification, we know what it takes to produce complete and compliant claims — and we can prove it. We certify over 90% of all UK BSOG grant funding each year.

With our auditing service, you’ll get an estimate submission to smooth out cashflow, an audit to uncover and rectify issues before they cause delays, and a complete, compliant and certified BSOG claim to ensure prompt and full payment.

If you have any questions on the announcement, or on the scheme, please complete the online contact form or call 01527 556940.

Take the hassle out of claiming

We ensure that your BSOG claim is accurate, compliant and maximised

Employee Spotlight – Sarah Bayliss, BSOG Manager

In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we get to know BSOG Manager, Sarah Bayliss who has worked for EPM for 20 years.

Sarah first joined EPM as a BSOG Audit Assistant and progressed through the ranks to BSOG Manager. She has a vast knowledge of the BSOG scheme and business process improvement, advising both operators and Government bodies.

What is a day in the life of a BSOG Manager like?

Planning and reviewing the work of a strong team. All members of the team support one another, which really does make my role easier – particularly as this has been such a busy year, assisting our clients even more than usual.

What do you enjoy the most about your role? 

The people I work alongside; the level of autonomy over my responsibilities; the connection with our clients and contributing to completion of engagements, which are interesting and often challenging but result in a feeling of accomplishment.

What do you least like about your role?

The last 13 months have been a challenge and it has been tough to plan the team’s work in terms of the time available and changing requirements. They have worked extremely hard meeting their deadlines in a very different world.

Describe yourself in 3 words

Down-to-earth, positive, and adaptable.

I asked my 9-year-old daughter how she would describe me; she said funny, independent and a little crazy. I’ll take the first 2!

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Wow – anyone? I love sport and have so many sporting heroes but the people I admire most in this world are those who speak out about injustice and stand up for what they believe in.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I was born with 6 fingers on my left hand. I wouldn’t always have helped with counting and numbers! Although my dad, who was a milkman, asked the doctor to leave it on so that I could carry more milk bottles!

Do you have any hobbies you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy running, yoga and anything that involves the sea. I also often become embroiled in my daughter’s crafty projects and have found I am a skilled pom pom maker!

Name a song title that best describes your personality

All the Time in the World by Deep Purple – I am not someone who likes to be in a rush (or be rushed!). I am quite a fan of the Cornish concept of ‘Dreckly’, similar to that of the Spanish manana. Unless working to a deadline of course, and then it becomes Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen!

What is your favourite holiday destination?

A campsite in Cornwall with a sea view = paradise. Luckily, I have a sister who very kindly moved there, so I am able to book into the Big Sister B&B with relative ease.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, two 5-year-old cats Woody and Jessie who are brother and sister. Also, a new addition to the family in February – a whirling dervish puppy pointer called Loki. I also share my home with an array of creature creations including pebble people and Lego folk!

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

To run (aka shuffle) the London Marathon

Learn to play chess

Visit Orkney where my Mum’s side of the family are from

What’s the best advice you can give to someone who’s just started their career?

A little bit of self-efficacy goes a long way. Play your role in creating a supportive, working environment. We spend a lot of our waking hours at work and we all have responsibility in it not being something all-consuming and dread-inducing, but fulfilling and rewarding.


Read last month’s Employee Spotlight with Chief Executive, Ian Churchill

Experts in Transport Management

3 tips for driving bus network profitability


UK bus services have been hugely impacted over the past year, with patronage dropping almost 90% in the early stages of the pandemic and talk of a 20% reduction in public transport use post-COVID-19.

Planning for the future, even short-term, is now far from straightforward and certainly not easy. Luckily, there are three simple steps you can take to put yourself in the best possible position and quickly return to profitability.


1. Review historic data to improve unprofitable routes
Take some time to dig through your pre-COVID-19 data to understand which routes have been profitable and which haven’t. Whilst patronage is still significantly lower than it was, this will undoubtedly help you put an informed focus on the routes that will directly impact future profitability.

Identifying your loss-making routes through detailed analysis is the first step to understanding where there are issues in your network that are affecting overall profitability. Reviewing passenger loadings, for example, by time-band and route stops will help paint a clear picture – flagging specific times of the day where patronage is below average and identifying the least popular stops. These insights can then be reviewed alongside current data to verify that similar patterns are emerging. Once validated, you’ll have the evidence you need to make effective timetable alterations, such as reduced frequencies, or changes to stopping points, to help reduce costs whilst minimising the impact on the top line.

Having this data to hand would also prove invaluable for discussions with local authorities where a case for funding is to be presented – be that for whole routes, particular days or even certain times of a day. Having patronage data and revenue generation, alongside demographics, would inform ‘value for money’ cases for local authorities, improving your chances of securing funding.

2. Be vigilant in finding the root causes of service profitability
Along with the under-utilisation of buses, you’ll likely find many other factors impacting the profitability of your routes. For instance, high levels of lost mileage could be adversely affecting costs on a route, whilst simultaneously driving down passenger numbers. Understanding the root cause for lost mileage would allow you to instigate remedial action going forward, such as maintenance issues with a particular type of bus that are impacting reliability and driving up engineering costs.

Analysing dwell time at bus stops is another useful tool for identifying scheduling inefficiencies. By minimising the dwell time, you can make cost savings in respect to both drivers’ wages and fuel usage. Speeding up journey times is a proven way to improve profitability that also has a massive positive impact on your customers’ perceptions of your service, leading to significant commercial benefits for the business.

Reviewing customer feedback can also be crucial in understanding why a route is not performing as expected, as it may throw a spotlight on operational issues such as persistent lateness, or regular cancellations.

3. Make informed business decisions with quality data
Clearly, operators require a wealth of data at their fingertips to accurately assess network performance and the factors impacting route profitability.

Understanding your data and extracting valuable insights is critical to actioning network optimisation such as timetable changes – with the normal lead times being reintroduced from January, tweaking or unwinding changes that are not delivering the expected benefits will cost valuable time.

It goes without saying that strong business decisions around future-proofing your network can only be made through high quality data analysis. The integrity of your data is fundamental to the whole process of network optimisation.

Get a specialist on your side to optimise your network for improved profitability.

If you’re struggling to analyse or understand your data, or are looking to improve the quality of your insights, EPM has a range of versatile and fully integrated bus operator solutions to give you total end-to-end visibility of all business functions — from commercial to operations and engineering. You’ll find all the data you need in one place to streamline your operations and optimise your network. Our team of expert consultants is also on hand to guide you through your data to help inform the decision-making process.

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Government launches multi-million pound scheme for zero-emission buses

30 March 2021 – The Government have announced a new (ZEBRA) scheme worth up to £120 million, which has been launched to help local transport authorities introduce zero-emission buses.

The funding will deliver up to 500 zero-emission buses, and comes from the wider £3 billion fund announced by the government in the national bus strategy to help improve bus services and make transport more sustainable.

The (ZEBRA) scheme will allow local transport authorities to:

  • Bid for funding to purchase zero-emission buses
  • Reduce the carbon emissions from their local public transport
  • Improve air quality in towns and cities across England

Bidders will have until 21st May 2021 to submit expressions of interest for a fast-track process that will allow local transport authorities with well-developed proposals to move quickly in their bid to secure funding.

However, those who need more time to develop their proposals will have until 25th June 2021 to submit expressions of interest.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented: “The launch of the scheme today means we’re giving businesses and local authorities the tools to help deliver the 4,000 zero-emission buses we said we would introduce, which will dramatically improve air quality in towns and cities across the country, helping us achieve our net-zero ambitions.”

Read the full document: Multi-million pound scheme for zero-emission buses across England launched

Information on how to apply for zero-emission bus funding

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.

Wales Transport Strategy pushes sustainability

24 March 2021 – The Welsh Government has published Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021 in its aim to improve transport over the next twenty years.

The strategy will see passengers benefit from a transport system that is accessible, efficient, and sustainable with a focus on reducing transport emissions.

In line with recommendations from the UK Climate Change Committee, the Welsh Government has committed to introduce legislation to achieve a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, with plans to meet a 63% reduction by 2030 and an 89% reduction by 2040.

This will be achieved by encouraging the use of public transport and other sustainable methods such as cycling and walking over driving cars.

There are three main priorities in the strategy:

  • Bring services to people in order to reduce the need to travel – which will mean an increase of local services
  • Allow people and goods to move easily from door to door by accessible, sustainable, and efficient transport services and infrastructure
  • Encourage people to make the change to a more sustainable transport option by making public transport more affordable and reliable

The strategy will require governments, local authorities, transport providers (both commercial and third sector) and other policy areas to work together to help ensure that transport contributes to the current and future well-being of Wales.

Read the full document: Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021

Easy-to-read version: Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021

Powering the future of your bus operations

Grow patronage, boost revenue, and drive operational efficiency.