2018 New Horizons Award

New Horizons Award sponsored by sponsored by Passenger Transport

Winner, Gold Award, VecTive – Vectare

VecTive is a school bus service management system for independent schools. Vectare provides schools with a bespoke looking website, in the school’s house colours, which incorporates timetables, fare and bus route integration, personalised journey planning (integrated with Google Maps and NAPTAN) and an online booking form. Journey requests are recorded and mapped on an annual basis, helping schools to identify geographical areas where potential demand for bus services may lie. Software multi-tenancy is used to keep prices low for schools, in recognition that most independent schools lose money on their school bus services rather than generating a profit. Multi-tenancy allows one website to be created, and use one database per school to make this website appear completely customised for each school. The system has been in place at a HMC independent school in the East Midlands for two years, and during that time, annual passenger numbers for passengers making one off journeys have tripled, despite the pupils coming from a socio-economic group that is typically least likely to use the bus.

Winner, Silver Award, How do I catch a bus? – Stagecoach East Scotland

Stagecoach East Scotland is seeking a new generation of bus users. The bus can ease the strain of congestion, reduce emissions and keep communities alive, but this new generation has different priorities and accessing the bus needs to be an easier choice. So the company embarked on a mission: a rapid, disruptive deep dive into how to catch a bus. Partnering with Deloitte Digital, Stagecoach East Scotland worked relentlessly, identifying pain points, engaging customers and staff in fact finding missions to identify barriers and try new things. Confusion and uncertainty were stopping people from travelling by bus. So new timetable designs, revised signage at stops, new displays explaining how to catch a bus, and a chatbot were all trialed. But it didn’t end there. One area that could not be ignored which would have a meaningful impact on customer experience was the company’s staff. Their voice and sense of belonging needed to be raised. So a platform was created to play positive customer messages into the drivers room and we gave them good coffee.

Winner, Bronze Award, On-Board Passenger Information System – Lothian Buses

Lothian Buses re-launched the On-Board Passenger Information Systems on its Airlink and Skylink services to and from Edinburgh Airport. The on-board screen layout was changed to show the next three stops in a larger format, and including connections and points of interest. In what Lothian believes to be a first in public transport in the UK, it introduced British Sign Language translation to accompany this information.

Finalist, Connected Apps – Arriva London

Over the last two years, there has been a real appetite within Arriva London to drive both ease and and efficiency from every day tasks and processes. This has been achieved by transgressing both departments and management levels within the business in an attempt to continue to dismantle many legacy silo concerns. This is something that continues throughout Arriva London and Arriva UK Bus today with direct alignment to two of our values: ‘Thinking Beyond’ and ‘One Arriva’. By creating a platform for connected apps with smaller groups of operational bus staff as the end user, Arriva has been able to achieve some major operational inroads for both external and internal Stakeholders. This in turn has simplified many of the labour intensive, and sometimes manual, processes used by the business, and has marked a shift change in the way the company works whilst improving efficiencies.

Finalist, BusMark – Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport

CILT, through the Bus and Coach Forum, has established a unique benchmarking club for the industry. A combination of detailed research and passionate advocacy for member engagement overcame initial concerns about commercial sensitivity, and competitive vulnerability amongst operators. Eighteen months of detailed analysis resulted in the creation of seven business disciplines, covered by 136 operator questions, enabling meaningful comparisons of performance, regardless of fleet size. Launched in 2015, BusMark anticipated 12 member organisations in year one, it achieved 34! Recent investment in smart software has enhanced the value of BusMark, which has now grown to 52 members, running over 21,000 vehicles. By investigating the survey’s key findings and trends, BusMark members, wider industry and passengers, benefit from improved operator performance.

Finalist, Bus Driver Routeway – Go North East

With unemployment in the North East higher than anywhere else in the UK, and a national skills shortage in the bus and coach industry, Go North East developed a partnership with Gateshead College and Jobcentre Plus to launch a unique training and skills development programme called the Bus Driver Routeway scheme. The innovative recruitment and training initiative was launched to fill the annual recruitment drive while helping unemployed people get back into work with the opportunity to secure one of 250 driver jobs.

Finalist, Social seating – Go South Coast – Swindon’s Bus Company

In 2017 Go South Coast acquired Thamesdown Transport from Swindon Borough Council. It was a struggling, loss-making, municipal and needed some new life to be breathed into the company. Go South Coast wanted to raise the profile of bus travel in Swindon, and to encourage families and friends to get out more by bus and start talking again. The bus plays a vital part in improving social isolation and social seating has been well received. The company also wanted to freshen up the whole Thamesdown operation. Following consultation with users, 21 brand new Euro Vl buses were introduced boasting a bright new look and delivering an excellent customer experience with USB charging ports and social seating.