Category: General

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

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.

Network optimisation in a COVID-19 world

As we slowly move out of the COVID-19 lockdown, operators will no doubt have one eye on the future. One area of focus will be on the performance of their networks and the routes within it.

With talk of a 20% reduction in public transport use post-COVID-19, it is likely that the networks previously operated will no longer be commercially viable.

Operators will need to react quickly to the shifts in demand to limit the financial impact and to set themselves up for a bright future. Clearly public transport, as always, has an important part to play in the movement of people – perhaps more so than ever if ambitious climate change targets are to be achieved. However, the transport needs to be sustainable in more ways than one.

Regular route profitability analysis should be undertaken to help operators make these decisions about their network. This can help to identify entire routes that should be cut, frequency reductions, vehicle capacity reductions (e.g. double to single decks) or to provide a basis to seek Local Authority funding to maintain unprofitable service levels. Route profitability can also help to inform planning for increases to, or for restructuring, fares.

Where to start?

To get a good feel for the performance of a network, analysing the operating profitability at route or route group level would be a sound place to start. This would help provide an overview of the routes that are not performing well – as well as those that are. Focus can then be placed on the poorest performing routes, in an effort to improve overall profitability.

Looking at the route as whole may not tell the full story.

Decisions cannot be made simply based upon the performance of a route. A ‘poor’ performing route may in fact be a feeder route to a highly profitable route so to take direct action on one may negatively impact the other – with the overall effect not being the desired one.

It may also be the case that a route appears to perform poorly; however, there are certain times of the day when it performs well. This is where a detailed understanding of patronage and capacity can pay dividends.

By reviewing the patronage and capacity down to timebands, or even trips, operators can then start to get a much better idea of the performance of a route. The analysis may highlight specific trips/times of the day where capacity can be reduced or removed to help lower costs, whilst limiting the impact on the top line.

Analysis at this level may be crucial to demonstrate to a local authority of the need to provide financial support to maintain service provision. It would be possible to provide a local authority with a clear picture of the social benefits of the service, against the costs, to allow them to undertake their own cost-benefit analysis – it would give them a clear case to present to their stakeholders too.

By undertaking regular profitability analysis, trending analysis should prove to be useful when it comes to capital expenditure decisions. The data will help to make the case for particular vehicle capacities, and, potentially, the fuel type (gas, electric, hydrogen) or even manufacturer to use.


Clearly there are many variables when undertaking route profitability analysis. For instance, how should revenue for period tickets collected off bus be distributed across the network, or what is the fairest way of distributing engineering labour costs? There is no definitive answer, but consistent, reasonable, models can be devised to manage this by taking some of the characteristics from the routes, for example, the average fares, PVR and vehicle types used. Be careful, over-simplification can lead to the wrong conclusions.  For example, concessionary fares reimbursement could be apportioned on the basis of concessionary passengers numbers. But a totally different perspective would be obtained if the apportionment also reflected the average fares by route. Clearly, decisions based on the performance of a route alone could have unintended knock-on effects elsewhere on the network. However, having the data to hand allows operators to take a much more targeted, efficient, approach to network reviews.

It is important to ensure that regular route profitability analysis is afforded the importance it deserves; with actions identified and driven through.

How we can help

We have well-established software to facilitate the regular analysis of route profitability, simplifying the process for operators and providing them with the data they need to inform important decisions regarding their network. The software can also be utilised by our experienced consultancy team to help operators undertake detailed analysis and make sense of their data.

The EPM Insights solution empowers you with actionable Management Information on your network performance, supporting you to react to both the changing nature of reality during the Covid pandemic and to help shape your future network. Read more about Insights.

Experts in route profitability analysis

Government unveils new bus strategy with £3 billion investment

happy man in bus
happy man in bus

15 March 2021, Government has announced a new bus strategy along with a £3 billion investment into the sector to encourage people to use buses over cars. The strategy is a complete overhaul to build a better bus services as we recover from the pandemic.

The strategy will see passengers across England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use and understand, better coordinated and cheaper bus services.

The changes include:

  • Simpler bus fares with daily price caps, so people can use the bus as many times a day as they need without facing mounting costs
  • More services in the evenings and at the weekends
  • Integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes, so people can easily move from bus to train
  • All buses to accept contactless payments

Through the plans the Government is driving for the fragmented, fully commercialised market, which has operated outside London since 1986 to end. They want to see operators and local councils enter into a statutory “enhanced partnership” or franchising agreements to receive the new funding and deliver the improvements.

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.

Employee spotlight – Ian Churchill, Chief Executive

In this month’s employee spotlight, get to know Chief Executive, Ian Churchill, who joined EPM in February 2020.

Ian has been running software businesses servicing various market sectors for over 20 years.

Name three words you would use to describe your role

Leadership, interesting, team-builder

Where did you work prior to joining EPM?

BigHand – a legal software business

What is your biggest achievement to date?

Professionally – leading the Capita SIMS business for 8 years, during which time we increased our market share to over 80% through delivering quality products and services.

Personally – bringing up two teenagers

Are you working on any interesting projects at the moment?

I have been with the business for 12 months now, and we are making lots of changes, so plenty of interesting things are happening.

The most interesting projects are about expanding the business both through introducing new products, such as Insight; and acquiring other businesses – we acquired Omnibus Solutions last week.

Do you have a favourite film?

Shrek! – I love its dry humour. I am a big fan of anything from Pixar.

What’s your favourite album?

U2 – Rattle and Hum. I bought it on the day it was released from the local record shop in St Austell in 1988.

What’s the best and worst things you’ve eaten?

As a family we all like food, and regularly cook new things. It is great having 4 cooks in the house! So the best is very difficult. The worst would be a continual diet of rice and Dal Bhat for three weeks whilst trekking in Nepal.

Favourite holiday destination?

This is a difficult one, I love to travel and have a long bucket list. If I have to choose one, it would be Bolivia, which was my first holiday with my wife.

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

Photography. I’m also quite active, so I like to ski and cycle as well.

What’s a secret talent that no one knows about?

I can ski off-piste, although my children would say I am not very good at it. Off-piste skiing is skiing in the backcountry, on ungroomed and unmarked terrain.

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

I’d like to be able to play the piano

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

I think there will be a number of changes over the next ten years. Firstly, the consumer will expect a seamless and integrated transport experience whereby they only have to purchase one ticket for the entirety of their journey. There will also be an increased demand for public transport in general, as climate change gets increasing focus resulting in barriers to the use of cars, particularly in urban areas.

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

Push yourself outside your comfort zone and constantly seek to take on more responsibility so you’re always learning new things. Most importantly, believe in yourself and believe that you can do it!

Experts in Transport Management

EPM Bus Solutions completes Omnibus acquisition

Ian Churchill

18 Feb 2021 – EPM Bus Solutions has today, with the support of Literacy Capital, completed the acquisition of one of the UK’s leading passenger transport software businesses, Omnibus.

The strategic acquisition sees EPM further strengthen its capability in providing high quality software solutions across the bus operator and transport authority markets, focussed on improving operational and commercial performance.

Founded in 1990, by Peter and Carol Crichton, Omnibus provides software for passenger transport scheduling, staff rostering, depot allocation and timetable construction to a wide range of public transport operators and local authorities, with solutions being used across the UK and overseas.

Ian Churchill
Ian Churchill CEO at EPM Bus Solutions

EPM Bus Solutions, formed in 1986, provide software to help bus operators and transport authorities reduce operational costs, improve financial performance and better serve their customers. In addition, EPM are the UK’s leading BSOG auditor and concessionary reimbursement consultancy.

Ian Churchill, CEO at EPM Bus Solutions, said: “Omnibus’ software solutions perfectly complements EPM’s, and the acquisition will enable us to provide a higher quality service to existing clients and give a wider offering of solutions to new customers. By bringing together the two businesses we will be able to harness the domain knowledge and experience of both to develop solutions to meet the needs of the public transport sector as society emerges from the impact of Covid-19.”

Peter Crichton, Managing Director at Omnibus, said: “I am very proud of the journey the Omnibus business has been on over the last three decades. Driven by the challenges faced by the pandemic, new technologies, and demand from bus operators and transport authorities for deeper insights into their operations to drive efficiency, EPM’s solutions combined with Omnibus’s will offer a powerful set of solutions which will be best-in-class. I am looking forward to working with the EPM team on this exciting journey.”



Press Contact:

EPM Bus Solutions
Harmi Sangha
07538 935 568 

Webinar – Unlocking the power of your commercial and operations data

Showing benefits of bus operator software solution

With EPM Insights you can easily and quickly manage your entire bus operations from a single online platform to improve business profitability and efficiency.

Join the webinar and see how we can drive your business forward.

  • Date: Thursday 11th February 2021
  • Time: 2-2.30pm

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Illustration of EPM bus operations software

Improving Reading Buses profitability with Insights

Robert Williams CEO Reading Buses

Robert Williams
Chief Executive Officer at Reading Buses

EPM Insights has shifted the Reading Buses business away from the manual collation of data to the automated production of key metrics, freeing up management time to focus on the actionable intelligence which the tool provides…. supporting us to react to both the changing nature of reality during the Covid pandemic and to help shape our future network. “

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,

Unlocking the power of your commercial and operations data

See how we can drive your business forward.

Moving EPM in a new direction

Bus double decker blurred

With many transport operators facing an uncertain outlook, at EPM, we’re changing to ensure we are better placed than ever to help you face the future and embrace emerging opportunities.

New solutions coming soon!
Over the past year we have been listening carefully to our customers and reviewing our business.  As a result we’ve made a number of changes to what we do and how we work.  We have been busy developing a new suite of Bus Transport Management solutions and services, focussed specifically on the challenges that the bus sector will face as society emerges from lockdown.  Our new Insights solution will be launching very soon, keep an eye out for more information over the next few weeks.

Renamed to EPM Bus Solutions
We’ve also renamed from ‘EP Morris’ to EPM Bus Solutions to better reflect our core service offering, accompanied by a revised logo and brand design.  You can find all of this on our new website, along with details of how we help bus operators and transport authorities to improve their operations.

Experts in transport management, improving profitability
What has not changed is the quality of our software and services, and being your trusted partner with deep expertise in the bus sector. Focused on improving commercial and operational performance, we have solutions which support you to:

  • Maximise revenue
  • Grow patronage
  • Improve efficiency

In some ways we are sad to see the old logo and website go … it worked for a long time but we are even more excited to bring in the new… and continue providing you with best-in-class Bus Transport Management services.

If you have any questions, then get in touch. We look forward to sharing with you our new solutions over the coming year.

Ian Churchill 
CEO EPM Bus Solutions

How to deliver 4,000 Zero Emission Buses by 2025?

bus driving through nice landscape

LowCVP considers the funding options

As part of the National Bus Strategy the Government have pledged to have 4,000 zero emission buses in operation by the end of 2025. With numbers currently just under the 700 mark, there is a long way to go and a significant amount of investment required in both the vehicles and infrastructure.

The LowCVP have recently published their paper setting out the funding options that they believe the Government should consider. Each option has been scored by their members as to the effectiveness in accelerating the adoption of zero emission buses.

The paper looks at existing funding streams – ULEB bids, incentivising through additional BSOG as well as alternative options going forward, such as vouchers, grants, etc. They also consider the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and how that could change future funding in the short term to boost operator appetite for greener buses and protect manufacturing jobs in the UK.

It is clear from the paper that members view the LCEB BSOG incentive as being an effective tool in delivering the Government’s target. However, the current scheme in England was introduced over 10 years ago and certainly needs updating to provide more generous payments to those operators with the cleanest vehicles, rather than the current flat rate. The paper suggests a graded pence per kilometre low carbon scheme such as that introduced in Scotland in April 2019, a view we at EPM agree with.

Whatever funding mechanism is put in place it is clear that the DfT will need to act fast and dig deep if they are to hit their target!

EPM are the leading experts in the certification of BSOG claims, ensuring that all claims they certify are accurate, compliant and maximised. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with your claim, then get in touch.

If you’d like to read the full LowCVP report, you can find it here.