Category: General

Government pledges £80 million to support buses into 2025

Older woman using bus. Government pledges £80 million to support buses into 2025

28 September 2023 – The government has pledged a further £80 million to support buses into 2025.

The funding will protect essential bus services and allow local authorities to make the improvements that would most benefit their communities.

Roads Minister Richard Holden today confirmed allocations for 64 local authorities across England from the £80 million investment in the bus service improvement plan+ (BSIP+) for 2024 to 2025.

Older woman using bus. Government pledges £80 million to support buses into 2025

Local authorities can use the funding to improve local buses by bringing in new services or routes, extending timetables through new morning or evening buses or making tickets cheaper through reduced fares for elderly or young people. They can also protect hundreds of bus services with low passenger numbers so that people who rely on them for essential services can continue to access their local bus.

Roads Minister Richard Holden said:  “Buses are the most popular form of public transport and millions of people across the country from the Tees Valley to Torbay rely on their local service to get to work, attend medical appointments and see loved ones.

“We are providing a further £80 million to help local authorities improve and protect essential services, delivering for local communities across the country by enhancing transport connections, supporting passengers and growing the economy.”

Today also marks the publication of the £2 Bus Fare Cap Second Interim Evaluation Report, analysing the initial impact of the cap in January and February 2023, the first 2 months of the measure.

£80 million to support buses into 2025: read the full story on the Department for Transport website.

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Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2022-23

Bus stands at a bus stop with The City Hall building in the background in downtown Belfast Northern Ireland on a cloudy day. Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2022-23

27 September 2023 – The annual report providing public transport statistics for Northern Ireland has been published and contains statistics for 2022-23.

The report presents statistics on public transport operated by Translink and it brings together information on public transport journeys, vehicles and staff. It is produced by Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (ASRB).

Bus stands at a bus stop with The City Hall building in the background in downtown Belfast Northern Ireland on a cloudy day. Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2022-23

The key points on public transport journeys are:

  • In 2022-23, there were 73.5 million journeys on public transport; this was an increase of 14.2 million or 23.9% since 2021-22, but a decrease of 11.9% from 2019-20 (83.4 million).
  • During 2022-23, there were, 60.6 million bus passenger journeys, an increase of 19.9% when compared with 2021-22 (50.5 million), but a decrease of 11.3% from 2019-20 (68.3 million journeys).
  • There were 12.9 million rail passenger journeys in 2022-23, an increase of 47.4% when compared with 2021-22 (8.8 million) but a decrease of 14.7% from 2019-20 (15.1 million).
  • In March 2023, the number of bus passenger journeys reached it’s highest monthly level since the beginning of the pandemic with 6.7 million journeys. Monthly rail passenger journeys reached a post-pandemic peak of 1.4 million in December 2022.

The Public Transport Statistics Northern Ireland 2022-23 report includes data on public transport passenger journeys during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Read the full report.

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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.”

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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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New campaign encourages older people to make the most of free bus travel

Older and eligible disabled people are being urged to make the most of free bus travel to meet friends, connect with nature and visit new places this summer, through a new government campaign launched on 15 July 2023.  

The new ‘Take the Bus’ campaign is targeting people aged 66 and above, and disabled people who are eligible for a concessionary pass, to encourage them to use the free bus travel available.

The move comes as statistics show concessionary journeys are down by more than a third since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign reminds passholders of the benefits of using bus travel, including staying active, visiting new places, taking up hobbies and seeing friends and family – while saving money on travel.#

Along with the government’s £2 bus fare cap scheme, the campaign aims to get more people using the bus to help reduce congestion and emissions while supporting the bus industry and helping grow the economy.

Read the full story: New campaign to boost free bus travel this summer

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RTIG webinar: Improving the customer experience effectively and efficiently

With customer expectations rising, ensuring they receive a high quality experience at every touch point in their journey is essential to support patronage growth.

On the 20th of June 2023, Nick Brookes, our Software Director, and Aiden Proctor, Omnibus Product Owner, delivered a presentation at an RTIG event where they discussed the importance of high quality bus stop publicity and customer communications to enhance the customer experience.

eBook – The future of customer service in the bus industry

Our eBook discusses the challenges customer service teams in bus operations face and explores ways bus operators can adapt and enhance their customer service function to thrive in the current climate where the customer experience is key to a successful business.

Complete the below form to download our eBook.

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Our changing travel – how people’s travel choices are changing

The Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned research into public attitudes, travel needs, and behaviours regarding travel following the pandemic and in response to other challenges, such as the rising cost of living and climate change.

The research involved an online survey of a representative sample of 2,345 adults aged 16-75 across England, 10 online focus group discussions in November 2022 to supplement the survey findings and 15 in-depth interviews to follow-up and explore key topics in February 2023.

The report compares data from November 2022 and November 2021 and in the three months immediately before the pandemic period.

Key findings include:

  • In November 2022, just under a third of people (30%) said they avoided public transport due to concerns around Coronavirus, a proportion which had fallen since November 2021 (46%). However, it is notable that nearly a third of people said they did avoid public transport for this reason. Focus group discussions highlighted the importance people placed on adequate ventilation and cleanliness.
  • When people in November 2022 were asked what would encourage them to use public transport more, financial incentives were most mentioned, along with more frequent and punctual services, whilst issues related to Coronavirus (ventilation, low numbers of Coronavirus cases) were mentioned less.
  • A third of people (33%) agreed they found it difficult to choose the most suitable ticket when travelling by public transport. Focus group participants suggested that clearer and more visible information about current ticketing options was needed.

Read the full report: Our changing travel – how people’s travel choices are changing

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£2 bus fare cap extended to 31 October 2023

The ‘Get around for £2’ bus fare cap – previously due to come to an end on 30 June – will now continue until 31 October 2023.

The offer will be available for single bus tickets on over 5,000 routes in England (outside London), helping passengers save a third off the average ticket price.

The scheme will then continue at £2.50 for one year until November 2024, thanks to £200 million in government funding to help people save money on travel while growing the economy.

The move is an essential part of the government’s help for households initiative to support everyone through the increased cost of living and will particularly benefit those on lower incomes who take nearly three times as many bus trips than those on higher incomes.

Read the full article: £2 bus fare cap extended to 31 October

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Webinar: Effectively manage performance across your contracted network to drive service quality and patronage

Measuring the performance of bus operators against desired performance indicators is challenging for most Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) due to the lack of standardised processes to manage the contracted network. This can result in passenger complaints regarding reliability, punctuality, and vehicle suitability.

The ability to benchmark operators on your contracted network depends on bringing together reliable and consistent information on all aspects of performance.

Our webinar, recorded on 27 June 2023, demonstrates how our Contract Performance solution will support you to analyse contract compliance and understand the performance of operators on your contracted network.

We also demonstrate how utilising valuable insights will enable you to work with operators to improve the quality of contracted bus services and drive patronage.

Contract Performance

Drive positive change and improve the passenger experience.