Category: Bus Operators

New commercial ‘Insight’ solution improves Reading Buses business performance

Robert William CEO Reading Buses
Robert Williams CEO Reading Buses
Robert Williams CEO at Reading Buses

Reading Buses has been working with an internationally renowned supplier of transport management systems, EPM Bus Solutions, to develop a new business data ‘Insight’ solution to support improving the bus operator’s business.

The online platform provides bus operators with customised Management Information and enabled Reading Buses to change from the manual collation of data to an automated production of key business performance metrics.

With demand for bus services more complex than ever due to the acceleration of changes in work, shopping and social patterns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.  Operators need to be agile, to react to the changes in passenger demand and requires a deep understanding of the data relating to their operations in order to achieve their business goals.

Operators have invested in a range of systems, however the need to combine data from across the business into easily accessible information still remains.

Said Robert Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses: “ We have traditionally invested lots of time collating static dashboards and KPI’s manually, EPM Insights has provided us with one platform combining data from across the organisation including, operational, commercial and engineering, providing the management teams with actionable management information.”

“The solution quickly surfaces business performance issues in real-time and identifies the key areas to focus management attention, and thereby providing them more time to put in place the required interventions and strategies, which has supported improving Reading Buses profitability and efficiency.”

Nick Brookes, Software Director at EPM Bus Solutions , added: “We are delighted with the adoption of EPM insights at Reading Buses. The dynamic drill down reporting within the platform has provided them with the tools to deep dive into their data and explore the reasons behind performance.

This enabled the operator to react to both the changing nature of reality during the Covid pandemic and help shape Reading Buses future network.”


Contact at Reading Buses :  Peter Love,

Contact at EPM: Harmi Sangha,

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The guide on how to rebuild profits in a post-Covid-19 world for bus operators

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

Covid-19 has changed how we live, work and travel, and bus operators have to adapt to ensure future profitability. The eBook provides a guide on how you can drive revenue during these uncertain times… 2021 and beyond.

EPM eBook for Bus Operators

UK bus services have been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 virus, with patronage dropping almost 90% in the early stages of the pandemic and social distancing measures becoming mandatory on all public transport.

As the government starts to lift restrictions, it is now vital to understand the changing demands of the industry so that you can discover ways to encourage passengers back on board.

From analysing your data to see causes of disruption, to looking at additional monetary streams such as concessionary fares reimbursement and Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) claims, this guide will identify ways in which you can improve your current services and boost your profits for the year ahead.

It includes ways to:

  • Investigate route profitability
  • Improve customer service
  • Drive more revenue
  • Fine-tune your operations
  • Empower business decisions
  • Get the right tools and expertise

The road to success for bus operators in uncertain times

Helping drivers return to work with the Depot Performance System (DPS)

bus driver with covid mask

Following the easing of restrictions, operators are now planning for the phased return to work of their driving staff and the mobilisation of their fleets. However, with the majority of drivers having been furloughed, returning to work after in some cases lengthy layoffs, presents operators with a number of challenges. We explore how the Depot Performance System (DPS) can help drivers return to work quickly and easily.

Onboarding drivers

Where staff are returning to driving duties after a number of weeks off the road, there will be an inherent risk of vehicle related accidents.

Accidents have many negative consequences for operators, however the impact on vehicle availability at a time where more vehicles are required to carry fewer passengers and their impact on costs stand out at this time.

The safety of driving staff is also paramount to ensure that they are trained on new working practises, particularly those around social distancing measures and driver Health and Safety. In addition to this, drivers effectively communicating with customers regarding social distancing will be an important factor to maintain customer service levels.

Utilising data available in DPS

The wealth of data in DPS can be utilised by operators to assist with these challenges.

The ticketing data within ETM Analysis can be used to identify when a driver last worked and their recent route knowledge. This can then be used to form the following workflow in the EPM Operational Performance Module:

Compliance checks – any anniversary dates (such as licence checks, training courses, medical reminders) can be reviewed via an automated report, to identify any compliance issues.

Driver assessments – a new assessment type can be configured for returning drivers, to ensure that all drivers have been through this process prior to going back into service with a vehicle.

Return to work interview – return to work interviews can be added, which would cover changes in working practices and effective customer communications.

EPM support

The EPM support desk continues to operate on a business as usual basis, to provide operators with support and assistance and can be contacted via or on 01527 556 940.

If you feel that EPM are able to assist in any way to meet the current challenges facing operators, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Managing social distancing with the Depot Performance System (DPS)

Social distancing on bus

With the UK government set to put in place a roadmap to ease restrictions and lift some travel bans, operators concerns will be in respect of the safety of their staff, with considerable challenges around PPE and vehicle sanitisation. However, as passenger numbers do increase, managing social distancing on board vehicles will also present a significant challenge. We explore how the Depot Performance System (DPS) can help.

The social distancing challenge

For bus operators there is no reservation system to book online (this may be the solution for train) and as such it is not possible to manage demand in advance. Deploying inspectors to vehicles to monitor passenger numbers is unlikely to be a viable solution, due to the cost and staffing levels required.

There will also be an impact on customer service, as some passengers may have to be refused travel, due to safe capacity limits.

Utilising data available in DPS

The wealth of data in DPS can be used by operators to help meet this challenge, which could exist for a number of months.

On the day

Users of the Bus Incident Reporting Screen (BIRS) can record driver communications where their vehicle is at capacity using a ‘bus at capacity’ incident code and reacting to demand where possible. BIRS incidents can also provide visibility of capacity issues on the network for customer services to notify passengers, for example via operator app’s or social media.

Retrospective review

The data recorded in BIRS then allows for a retrospective review to enable operators to gauge capacity requirements. This data can be utilised alongside ticketing data, to review passengers carried on a journey referenced to the vehicles safe seating capacity. Similarly, where operators have configured a specific button push for the driver to register a ‘bus at capacity’ this data can be analysed.

Monitoring customer complaints for ‘full bus’/‘refused access’ customer feedback categories will also provide more valuable insight.

 EPM support

Reviewing these different datasets together will provide operators with a range of information to assist with operational planning, in what are extremely challenging times.  EPM can work with operators to tailor automated daily reporting to streamline this analysis. The EPM support desk continues to operate on a business as usual basis, to provide operators with support and assistance and can be contacted via