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Local is lekker for London buses

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Local is lekker for London buses

Freeway Fleet Systems, part of Randburg-based T4 Systems, is helping to improve the management of bus operations in the UK following the implementation by London bus operator Tower Transit Operations of its fleet management system.

The system will analyse the operating costs for each of the vehicles and routes Tower Transit operates. It also ensures that all business bids are based on achievable and sustainable contract prices.

Tower Transit carries almost 120-million passengers a year. Its London fleet has increased to almost 450 buses on 24 routes, including 33 hybrid buses and 8 Hydrogen powered buses. The Freeway system captures every single cost – maintenance, repair and running costs, and calculates fuel efficiency. These analyses can be broken down by vehicle, by route or by user-specified period, and the results not only indicate under-performance, but also highlight the most cost-efficient vehicles and the most profitable routes.

Tower Transit’s decision to install the Freeway fleet management system was primarily driven by three factors: a user-friendly interface allowing speed of implementation, Freeway’s ability to add new functionality to the software to accommodate new requirements, and Freeway’s proven expertise in bus operation management.

“Freeway generates reports based on a specified date range, per vehicle model, or per route,” says Eddie Street, engineering systems support manager at Tower Transit. “The zero emission buses that we operate on behalf of London Buses were put into operation over a complete London bus route, enabling day-to-day testing of the viability of the technology. The system is very responsive, and it’s easy to drill down and analyse the data.”

The system also captures vehicle servicing and operating defects, and the procurement function enables auto replenishment of parts. If required, the system can first check if parts are in stock at the “home” depot and other depots before automatically generating purchase orders for parts and labour. If parts need to be purchased, the system, once initiated, can automatically process purchase orders to suppliers once authorisation via smartphone has been approved.

“In relation to managing a series of bus depots, our suite of software is built for purpose and is exceptionally well suited to this task,” says Patrick Tandy, MD of Freeway Fleet Systems.

Tower Transit acquired three strategic London-based bus depots in 2013: Westbourne Park, Lea Interchange and Atlas Road, operating a total of 400 single- and double-decker buses on 21 route franchises. Within the next two years, Tower purchased Impact Coaches, a 150-vehicle coach and minibus fleet operating out of depots in Perivale and Croydon, and Cambridgeshire-based bus company Go-Whippet, along with its Swavesey depot and 50 vehicles.
Tower Transit’s confidence in the system ensured that Freeway has been rolled out to both new businesses using the software’s multi-company functionality.