Some say that waiting for a late-arriving bus is the very worst bus passenger experience. Many passengers may not know this, but bus operators also suffer just as much from delays. Not only is their reputation and brand damaged with each late arrival (which impacts whether they win future route tenders) but also, in most cases, operators are heavily penalized for each delay. These penalties can be very substantial; up to $3,000 fine for each delay. Costs can easily pile up and represent a heavy burden on operators’ profitability.
Schedule assignments for a typical day are constructed in a way that gives most vehicles and drivers multiple trips per day. To maximize a schedule’s efficiency planners must ensure that trips are lined up back-to-back, so that no resource is idle. However this means that if, for some reason, there is a delay during a morning trip there will be a “rolling delay” effect that impacts many more trips down the road. Unfortunately this is a common problem that control room operators must deal with on a daily basis. The only solution to this problem is for the operator to keep vehicles and drivers in stand-by (reserve), so that they can be dispatched in case of a problem, and fill in for delayed buses and drivers. This manual answer is very costly and inefficient.
Optibus offers a unique and innovative solution for this problem. Our new offering, Optibus OnTime™, uses the same core optimization technology – Optibize™ – that is already used by many customers worldwide for planning and scheduling. Optibus OnTime™ integrates with the Automatic Vehicle Location (GPS) system to predict bus delays, and if they happen, uses the Optibize™ technology to make real-time changes to the schedule – and fast. Amendments will include changing assignments and dispatching alternative buses/drivers to replace delayed ones. Thus, the delayed bus problems are solved before they pile up into “rolling delays,” and passengers of next trips are not impacted at all by the original delay.
We plan on releasing Optibus OnTime™ in 2017, and there is already a waiting list of customers who want to serve as beta testers. Please let me know if you’d like to join the list.
As always, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.