Category: General

Transport for Wales to improve efficiency of contracted network with adoption of EPM’s Contract Performance solution

Transport for Wales is to improve the performance of their TrawsCymru contracted bus services with the adoption of EPM’s new solution, Contract Performance.

Developed for Local Transport Authorities the system manages all stages of contract procurement, management, and performance analysis in one intuitive platform.

A key aim of Transport for Wales (TfW), a not-for-profit company owned by the Welsh Government, is to improve the quality of the service delivery of their contracted network to encourage people to use public transport.

TfW is keen to manage contract performance efficiently and consistently using the data available from systems that support bus operations to automate monitoring and analysis, rather than it being a manual and time intensive task.

Working in partnership with TfW in overcoming its challenges, EPM designed a powerful solution that enables TfW to manage all stages of contract management, including performance analysis. The solution standardises processes as well as providing them with the capability to benchmark operators against key performance indicators.

The intuitive solution provides an overall performance score for the contracted network and for individual operators using a combination of existing data from EPM and third-party solutions. Bus operators are scored based on three key standards: reliability, driver, vehicle and operator processes, which includes vehicle maintenance.

Integration with the EPM Insights platform provides advanced analytics, the reporting capability allows TfW to drill down into the data and investigate the root cause of any identified issues and gain a deeper understanding of individual operator scores. The powerful management information provides actionable insights to drive network improvements and improve passenger satisfaction.

Lee Robinson, Development Director for Mid, North and Rural Wales at Transport for Wales said, “Our aim at TfW is to make public transport an easy and obvious choice for the people of Wales, to encourage behaviour change and modal shift and support Welsh Government policy direction. We are confident the Contract Performance solution will support us in achieving our goal and that it will provide us with valuable in-depth knowledge and understanding of the TrawsCymru contracted network.

“A key aspect of the platform is monitoring the performance of our contracts and having on-demand visibility of this will enable us to develop improvement plans and ensure a quality service is being delivered to meet the needs of our local communities.”

Nick Brookes, Software Director at EPM Group said, “We’re delighted to have worked with Transport for Wales to develop a solution that addresses their requirements but also helps other local transport authorities across the UK to improve the passenger experience and support growing patronage.”


Contract Performance

Drive positive change and improve the passenger experience.

Reading Borough Council appoints EPM Bus Solutions to administer the new multi-operator ticketing scheme

Reading Borough Council selects EPM Bus Solutions to administer and audit its new multi-operator ticketing scheme ensuring participating bus operators are compensated accurately – providing valuable experience in scheme management.

Reading Borough Council has been awarded funding for its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). Part of its plans to improve bus services across Reading is to introduce a multi-operator ticketing (MOT) scheme, the Reading All-Bus ticket, to allow passengers to seamlessly travel across several operators’ services using one ticket.

The scheme includes adult, young persons, and group tickets with two ticket types – peak and off-peak – and the council will be introducing a tap-on, tap-off day ticket this summer. These ticket prices are set at a lower level than a single operator’s own day tickets in order to generate demand and help with the current cost of living crisis and each operator will receive compensation from Reading Borough Council’s BSIP allocation for each ticket purchased on one of their buses or via their website.

To ensure all participating operators are reimbursed accurately and on time Reading Borough Council has appointed EPM to administer and audit the scheme. As administrators, EPM will periodically allocate the scheme revenue along with the compensation payments, ensuring the payments being made to participating operators are accurate and the BSIP funds allocated to this initiative are accounted for.

As part of their service, EPM will provide Reading Borough Council and the operators with patronage data from each of the scheme products. The data provided enables Reading Borough Council to track the performance of the scheme and identify trends, the data can also be used for BSIP reporting.

Bi-annual audits of operator submissions will also be conducted, this involves an in-depth interrogation of the data to ensure revenue and passenger data align and provides further assurance that all participants have been accurately reimbursed.

John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport at Reading Borough Council said: “We’re excited to be introducing the Reading All-Bus ticket to make travel simpler for the people of Reading. Keeping track of the scheme and ensuring operators are paid correctly, as well as complying with our own reporting requirements, can be a complex and time-intensive task.

“EPM has the dedicated resource and extensive skillset to seamlessly administer and audit the scheme. This will relieve some of the pressure off our transport team and gives us more time to focus on implementing our other bus improvement commitments.”

Jon Anton, Consulting Director at EPM said, “We’re delighted to be working with Reading Borough Council to administer their new multi-operator ticketing scheme. Our comprehensive knowledge of multi-operator ticketing schemes enables us to seamlessly implement processes and provide assurance to stakeholders that all bus operators participating are paid what they are owed.”


Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

Increasing bus patronage through an audience strategy

The Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned an audience segmentation of England in relation to what would encourage greater bus usage.

The overall objective of the research was to increase bus usage by being able to develop strategies and policies that would drive behaviour change.

Key findings include:

  • 80% of English adults were found to use the car at least once a fortnight
  • Though bus is the next most frequently used mode of transport, only 23% of adults were shown to use the bus at least once per fortnight
  • Research has outlined reliability, ease, safety, journey time and flexibility as universal transport needs
  • Currently, buses aren’t performing against key transport needs: Namely, reliability, journey time and flexibility
  • Existing bus users are most likely to use the bus in the next 6 months. The reverse is true for those who never use the bus
  • Bus users have a known profile – typically: aged under 34, Londoners, ethnic minorities, and found inner city areas
  • After universal needs, it is crucial to widen the audience buses currently appeal to. This can be achieved via a segmentation.

Read the full report: Increasing bus patronage through an audience strategy

Concessionary Analysis

Empowering you with new levels of control and visibility.

Evaluation of the £2 bus fare cap

Interim report of the £2 bus fare cap.

The £2 bus fare cap was launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) on 1 January 2023. The scheme supported bus operators to implement a £2 cap on eligible single tickets for adults.

The aims of the fare cap were to save passengers money and encourage more people back on the bus.

The DfT has commissioned an independent evaluation by Frontier Economics and SYSTRA of the bus fare cap, focusing on the early observations from the first month of the scheme.

Observations from the first month include:

  • respondents in the North West were most likely to report paying a £2 fare and those in the South East were least likely
  • respondents in urban areas were more likely to report paying a £2 fare than rural areas
  • respondents with a household income of up to £50,000 were more likely to report paying a £2 fare than those with a higher household income
  • respondents without access to car/van as a driver were more likely to report paying a £2 fare than those with

Read the full report: £2 bus fare cap interim report

Concessionary Analysis

Empowering you with new levels of control and visibility.

Concessionary travel statistics: year ending March 2022

Concessionary travel statistics for England for the year ending March 2022 have been published by the Department for Transport.

These statistics cover:

  • older and disabled concessionary passes
  • concessionary bus journeys
  • payments made by TCAs to reimburse operators
  • financial breakdowns for operating concessionary schemes

In England, comparing the year ending March 2022 with the year ending March 2021, there were:

  • 8.7 million older and disabled concessionary travel passes, down 3%
  • 555 million concessionary bus journeys, up 104%
  • £803 million reimbursed to bus operators by TCAs, down 5% (constant prices)
  • £1.01 billion in net current expenditure on concessionary travel, down 6% (constant prices)

Read the full report: Concessionary travel statistics, England, year ending March 2022

Concessionary Analysis

Empowering you with new levels of control and visibility.

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.

Visit us at the ALBUM Conference 2024

Join us, EPM and Omnibus, on 22 & 23 April 2024 at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, Cheshire for ALBUM Conference 2024.

This year’s theme is Moving On Up and brings together thought leaders, experts, and enthusiasts passionate about revolutionising the bus sector. The conference aims to provide a platform for exchanging ideas, sharing insights and discovering ground breaking solutions..

Visit us for product demos and speak with Software Director, Nick Brookes; Consultancy Director, Matthew Hanlon; Regional Sales Manager, Josh Mellor; Account Manager, Penny Johnson; Omnibus’ Founder, Peter Crichton; and Product Owner, Tom Birkin about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:

View event itinerary.

Book your tickets.

Carden Park Hotel & Spa,
Broxton Rd,
SY14 7HZ.

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

See us at the CPT UK Bus & Coach Conference 2023

Join us, EPM and Omnibus, on the 30th and 31st of March 2023 at the Eastside Rooms, Birmingham, for the UK Bus and Coach Conference hosted by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

The event brings together operators large and small with supply chain, key stakeholders and Government to debate, discuss and share experience of the big issues facing the industry.

Visit our stand and speak with Software Director, Nick Brookes and BSOG Director, Mat Hanlon about our software solutions and consultancy services, including:

Visit the website: UK Bus and Coach Conference 2023

What’s onConference itinerary

The Eastside Rooms
2 Woodcock Street
B7 4BL

Thursday 30 March 2023, 10:00 – 17:00 hrs
Friday 21 March 2023, 09:00 – 13:00 hrs

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

£2 bus fare cap to be extended and bus services protected with new funding

The government has announced the £2 bus fare cap will be extended for three months to 30 June 2023.

Millions of passengers across England will benefit from £155 million in government support to cap bus fares at £2, maintain services and ensure people can travel affordably.

The Transport Secretary has confirmed £80 million from 1 April to 30 June 2023 to protect vital bus services people rely on for work, education, medical appointments and shopping.

The government has also announced plans to provide up to £75 million so that bus operators can continue to cap single bus fares outside of London at £2 until the end of June, saving passengers money and encouraging more people back on the bus. With the average single local bus ticket costing £2.80, passengers can save almost a third of the ticket price.

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

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

Control Room Efficiency – Streamline the recording of bus driver incidents

Disruption to bus services has a negative impact on the customer experience so it is important that transport operators can manage re-allocation problems on-the-spot and with the least number of processes for faster resolution.

But the impact of driver shortages and staff sickness is increasing workloads for controllers. They use multiple systems to resolve staff-related operational issues and this eats into their time which would be better spent managing the network. How can operators streamline the recording of bus driver incidents and free up their controllers to focus on higher value work?

Challenge: Time lost to manual data entry

Operators use a range of control room systems – often disparate technology that is not integrated – to record information on absences, customer feedback, accidents, lost mileage, and monitoring punctuality and reliability. Each operational action may also require a record to be made or updated on one or more separate systems.

A staff-related incident, for instance, that results in changes to planned mileage is recorded in the depot allocation system and the bus incident reporting screen. If using disparate data sources (systems which function on their own without sharing data or working with other computer applications), the controller rekeys the same information twice; once in each system. This is not only tedious and time-taking but also makes managing disparate databases difficult as the bus operation grows.

Challenge: Rekeying data leads to errors

There is also a lack of data integrity borne out of two different sources of the same information. Re-entering or transferring data is prone to human errors and lack of precision and can result in varying versions of the same information being entered into different systems. In addition, any discrepancy takes time to identify and rectify.

Furthermore, driver availability issues mean operators are cancelling and amending services in lots of different systems. If the controller is distracted and there is a delay in recording information, the data is logged incorrectly or they forget to enter it in one or more systems, this can result in out-of-date information going out to the end-customer.

Data that is manually entered in multiple systems or generated from a variety of sources can become unreliable if it is not consistent. This, in turn, may lead to difficulties with reporting and poor decision-making, and result in significant cost implications for the operator and directly impact the service to the end customer.

Solution: Reduce duplication with software integration

Operators can overcome these challenges by automating interactions between their data systems and in doing so streamline processes. For instance, staff-related changes recorded in the depot allocation system can automatically transfer to the bus incident reporting screen, meaning data only needs to be entered into one system. This reduces the time required to record the incident, therefore, increasing staff efficiencies, and allows for faster response times to solving problems as they arise.

Software integration also ensures operational data across systems is consistent. The removal of duplicate data entry points reduces the opportunities for human error, providing operators with a single source of truth for decision-making and reporting purposes.

How we can help

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, EPM and Omnibus, companies of Velociti Group, has comprehensive knowledge of the passenger transport industry and well-established software solutions to improve operational agility.

Control Hub automatically consolidates operational data from multiple control room systems into one central location, empowering operators to efficiently manage on-the-day issues and achieve significant cost-savings.

For a free consultation, complete the online form.

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today