MV Transportation is the largest privately-owned passenger transportation contracting services firm in the United States. They provide fixed route, multimode, shuttle, school, and paratransit services to over 200 city and county government transit agencies, school districts, universities, and corporations.
We spoke to Transportation Planning Manager, Elizabeth Stayner on MV’s decision to use the Optibus platform and the changes they have seen in their planning process.
“One of the reasons why our company chose Optibus is that it is a cloud-based SaaS platform. No additional hardware is needed, there’s no software to purchase and continuously update. You’re not tied to one machine in the corner of your office. You can do this from anywhere, on any type of device; If you’re on a plane on a tablet and you need to tweak something or make some changes, or if you get a new idea. It is available anywhere with an internet connection. I can do planning from my home or from the beach as easily as I could from the office.
That was one of the key driving factors as well as the reliable algorithms that are used and the ease of making changes and the quickness with which you can effect those changes.”
Steiner identified three ways in which Optibus has allowed MV to increase efficiency:
Reducing the need for vehicles:
“You can reduce some of the capital requirements by adjusting your vehicle blocking which would save you money and capital costs and in some cases reduce the need for vehicle replacements.”
Reducing potential down hours:
“You can reduce the dead time or downtime in your layovers or possibly deadheads just by analyzing how you’re putting together the vehicle trips and the vehicle blocks. You can also take account of the constraints that you may have due to state and labor laws as well as collective bargaining agreements.”
Reducing the number of employees that are needed to do the same amount of work:
“You really make the most of your time. Reducing the length of split shifts, making more of a 4-10 work week, which appeals to many people, can be more efficient to the agency and the employer as well.”
“There’s been many times we talked about how nice it would be to create a preference for X
a week after discussing this with Optibus we got an email letting us know they’ve developed a new preference specific to an individual location’s needs or my own personal request, in order to make drivers’ days more enjoyable or create more homogeneity within their workweek.”
Looking to the Future
“Within the next year I hope to help our customers really take their planning to the next level. There has been a lot of really exciting new developments in the overall planning atmosphere of Optibus – the route planning, the true planning and not just scheduling – that new functionality is really exciting.
I think that a lot of our customers can benefit from having experienced planners on both sides of the table and a system that we can really collaborate in, where we take the entire planning process from the drawing and the creation of the route all the way through to the driver scheduling and there’s no need for data transfers anymore. It can all be done collaboratively and we can all see exactly where we are in the process so it allows us to really become better partners.”