Category: Transport Authorities

Local Transport Authorities: Network planning to attract new passengers

The National Bus Strategy (NBS) sets out a vision to improve bus services with the principal aim of encouraging more people to use buses, which means the traditional approach of network planning is going to change.

Previously operators have driven most of the decision making due to buses being largely run on a commercial basis and have had full control in terms of the services they run, which communities they serve, the frequency of services, and the times of day they operate. Now, Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) will have more control over bus services and there will be a bigger push, not only for commercial services, but also economically necessary funded services to meet the needs of local communities.

LTAs and operators have a responsibility to work more collaboratively in order to provide an integrated and efficient service for customers. The majority of LTAs have opted for Enhanced Partnerships over Franchising; working closely with operators to improve the network instead of having full control over bus services. Partnerships already operate very successfully, with examples in Nottingham, Brighton, and the West Midlands delivering passenger growth and high levels of customer satisfaction.

LTAs are required to set Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) which they will then closely monitor in order to receive grant funding. The majority of operators in the region must agree to the BSIPs and ensure that they consistently follow the points laid out in the plan to receive BSOG payments.

Utilising data to improve the network

The NBS is encouraging a more open sharing of data between LTAs and operators and insisting that processes become more transparent, which requires a level of trust from both parties. Previously operators will have only had to share data from contracted services, but now the LTAs require data from commercial services: such as patronage, revenue, and customer feedback.

This shared information can be used to inform the structure of the network. For example, an increase in bus lanes and traffic priority measures will speed up journey times, which means fewer buses are needed to run on that particular route, giving them the opportunity to be utilised elsewhere. This can also lead to a reduction in the cost to run the service, which in turn can be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares. Faster journey times and lower fares will also help to encourage more people to use the bus.

In order to monitor the progress of BSIPs, LTAs need access to data to see whether or not the goals are being achieved and to see if they have made an improvement to service and patronage levels. These results are also required to be published under the funding terms, which means it is important to get accurate figures.

Software solutions can be implemented to monitor route performance to assess how successful a route is, and customer feedback can be collated and tracked to see where issues may have developed and why. Analysis tools can also be utilised to give a complete picture of the network by collating all the data into one system and offering breakdowns of individual areas. Users are able to view information such as patronage trends that are formulated into graphs and charts. This drill down capability provides intuitive interrogation of the data, investigating the root causes of any identified issues.

Coordinating services to streamline the network

A key point of the NBS is to simplify services for customers so that they feel more encouraged to use buses, whether that’s with multi-operator ticketing which enables the customer to use a variety of buses from different operators, or by implementing a more streamlined service.

The NBS encourages operators to work with LTAs to harmonise route numbers to improve the passenger experience. So instead of having two buses that serve different parts of the city but have the same service number, this would then change to two different numbered buses.

LTAs should plan an integrated transport network whereby other modes of transport, such as trains and trams are coordinated with bus services and arrive and depart at a suitable time so passengers can avoid waiting for long periods. Bus timetables should also be coordinated so different operators do not run buses at the same time, which will stop a duplication of effort and cut down on costs.

As well as streamlining the operational side, operator branding can be replaced with route branding to simplify the service. Software solutions can easily merge different operators’ timetables together and create a customised stop display that incorporates the route’s branding, making it easier for customers to know that they are getting on the right bus.

Improving process efficiencies

In many cases, processes between LTAs and operators are not synchronised and require time-consuming and error-prone manual duplication of data entry. Tools are available for mapping, timetabling, and scheduling, that can gather all the information from operators and consolidate this data into a single, combined view of operated routes which LTAs can then use to produce timetables for the whole network. Operators can then use tools that enable rapid scenario modelling to test for ‘what if’ scenarios and find the best way to service that route.

By using integrated software solutions, LTAs can transfer timetables into contract registers and operators can import the information and work out how to make the service more efficient, such as moving journey times to cut down on costs. They can then feed this information back to LTAs and share ideas without losing data integrity.

Historically this data has been exchanged over paper, pdf, email or excel and this format has had to be rekeyed into the operator’s or LTA’s systems, which is very time consuming and can lead to errors. Ideally, planning data should be shared via TransXChange files which should be used as a standard format across LTAs and operators, regardless of the different systems used. This will allow for a more efficient sharing of data as the operator can then import that file straight into their scheduling system.

How EPM Group can help

With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, EPM Group has a comprehensive knowledge of the bus industry and works with five out of the seven PTEs in the UK as well as a range of local authorities to streamline their organisational processes. Our broad, fully integrated software range covers a multitude of functions from operations through to commercial and engineering. To book a free consultation to see how we can assist with your challenges and requirements, complete the online form or call 01527 556940.

Ready to take your bus network to the next level?

Get in touch to build a tailored solution today

Job vacancies – Account Executives

Join our journey!

Driven by successful growth, we’re looking for people to join our Business Development team.

Do you want to work within a fast growing and ambitious organisation, alongside great people with a positive team culture, helping  customers as they search for the best solution for their needs?  If so, these roles could be perfect for you!

Roles: Account Executive and Senior Account Executives

We are looking for an Account Executive and a Senior Account Executive to support our on-going business growth.  These are new roles focussed on both the management of existing customer accounts along with the acquisition of new customers.  You will play a vital role securing existing contracts and developing new sales, helping to build revenue and achieve targets.

To be successful you will have a balance of great customer relationship skills, a determination to succeed, an understanding of the passenger transport marketplace (ideally within the bus sector),  and a successful track record in a sales or customer relationship role.

About us

We are an ambitious, fast moving software business serving the passenger transport marketplace and are growing both organically and through acquisitions. Although UK centric, we are also growing internationally with a footprint in mainland Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  Established over 30 years, we have a large base of long standing customers including blue chip multi-nationals, public sector organisations, mid-market operators and small growing businesses.

In addition to our well established market leading solutions for public transport operators, we are continually developing and launching new products to help customers address the challenges presented by a constantly changing landscape.

In particular, the National Bus Strategy launched early in 2021 by the UK Government, backed by billions of pounds of funding, presents significant opportunities and challenges for the bus sector.  We have reacted quickly to evolve our existing products and develop new functionality to ensure our customers are fully equipped for the future.

Our people are the heart of our business and we have a genuinely people centric culture and team ethos.  All team members have clear objectives and are supported to achieve their best.  Personal development is positively encouraged and we recognise and reward individual achievements.

Both the Account Executive and Senior Account Executive roles come with a great package of strong basic salary, uncapped commission and attractive benefits including pension scheme and private health insurance.

Responsibilities of the roles

Both roles cover the following core responsibilities.

  • Manage relationships with all contacts within designated existing customer accounts to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, ensuring they are gaining maximum value from our products and services, feeding back any issues into the business and driving through resolutions
  • Manage contract renewals with designated existing customers to secure renewals
  • Develop our presence within designated existing customer accounts, growing our contact network, building our understanding of their business challenges, identify new sales opportunities and growing revenue
  • Follow up new business enquiries generated from marketing activity or through personal contacts
  • Utilise our product and industry specialists in a pre-sales support capacity to identify the best solutions for customers
  • Own and develop a pipeline of sales opportunities, working with the marketing team to ensure the pipeline is sufficiently strong to meet sales targets
  • Identify, own, manage and win sales opportunities with both existing and new customers
  • Achieve sales targets for renewals, revenue growth and new business

Requirements for the roles

Account Executive – working with independent / mid-market bus operators and municipal bus companies

  • Knowledge of the public transport environment
  • Understanding of transport planning, scheduling and operations (ideally in the bus sector)
  • Experience of customer utilisation of IT systems and business applications (ideally in the bus sector)
  • Customer engagement experience (ideally sales)
  • Track record of successfully building customer relationships
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Problem solving or solution planning experience
  • Confidence in delivering presentations, demonstrating solutions and writing proposals
  • Strong planning and organisation skills

Senior Account Executive – working with multi-national organisations, PLC businesses and larger groups of bus operators

  • Proven track record managing large, strategically important customer accounts
  • Understanding of complex customer organisations, with multi-level and cross functional engagement
  • Ability to develop strong personal relationships with C-suite level contacts
  • Track record of developing new business within key accounts, identifying or creating sales opportunities
  • Demonstrable ability to execute value based sales campaigns
  • Knowledge of the public transport environment and an understanding of the IT systems used for transport planning, scheduling and operations in the bus sector
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Problem solving or solution planning experience
  • Confidence in delivering presentations, demonstrating solutions and writing proposals
  • Strong planning and organisation skills


If you think this could be right for you contact Gary Hyman, our Business Development Director, for more details:

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

Navigating through the challenges of the National Bus Strategy

The National Bus Strategy (NBS) sets out an ambitious vision to revolutionise the way in which local bus services are provided, which is presenting many new challenges for transport authorities.

We appreciate that it’s a difficult and uncertain time, which is why we’re committed to helping transport authorities improve the effectiveness of their organisations and the success of their bus networks to meet these challenges.

Experience working with PTEs and local authorities
With over 30 years’ experience in software and consultancy services, we have a comprehensive knowledge of the bus industry and work with five of the six PTEs in England and a range of local authorities to streamline their business processes.

Contract Management Solution
Our software enables all tenders to be specified and monitored to ensure that they are operated in line with the authority’s contracts. This ensures that operators are not overpaid and demonstrates good stewardship of public funds, whilst reducing the time spent administering and keeping track of performance.

On-demand performance management reports
You can also generate measurable KPIs, such as those required for Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) and use our new Insights platform to analyse data and make key decisions on the network based on cost effectiveness. The solutions can also be used to administer multi-operator ticketing schemes, which are a key theme of the NBS.

If you’re interested in getting faster reporting on key areas like revenue, patronage, and costs, we have the systems, data, and expertise to help. To book a free consultation to see how we can assist with your challenges and requirements, complete the online form or call 01527 556940.

Empowering you with new levels of control and visibility over the bus networks servicing your communities

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

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.