Review of Coach & Bus UK 2018
The highly popular Coach & Bus UK exhibition and seminar once again took place in October 2018. Here at eCoachManager we frequently look at events like this to understand what is coming up in the coach and bus industry and how to develop our tracking software to dovetail with moves and changes.
What was particularly interesting was a talk by Giles Fearnley entitled Challenges of the Last Two Years and the Opportunities Ahead. This seminar had two specific areas that it concentrated on.
- The Impact of Driver Attrition
- Attracting Passengers
The theme of attracting passengers brought up the idea that technology could be used, and data released to the general public had to be trusted and accurate. It also needed to be readily available and easy to obtain.
An interesting point that was raised is that a driver of change is actually the end user themselves. And that the passengers of the future are not those that are current. People are more likely to trust technology now and are more adaptable. And Mr Fearnley reiterated the change from Generation X to Generation Y.
An integral part of the solution to attract more passengers is the speed of journeys, and how congestion is a major problem. Bus lanes in major cities have alleviated this situation somewhat but it is still a major problem.
A vast majority of bus and coach companies have trouble in keeping their drivers. The attrition to a business of frequently leaving drivers can be devastating.
Mr. Fearnley said that transport companies needed to rethink their attitudes towards their employees and instill a belonging that the drivers feel a part of. This can be managed in many ways, such as training sabbaticals and incentives.
The modern-day bus and coach driver prefers flexible working hours, and if you can consider the unsociable hours that some drivers have to operate in then this can be fully understood.
A good idea is to use technology to help the driver and make his job easier. This could include state-of-the-art software such as eCoachManager, onboard communications, interactive maps showing traffic congestion, roadside sign-on so the driver does not have to travel to a depot.
Driver training could also be incorporated in a package given by employers to their drivers. Advanced courses on larger vehicles or particular weather and terrain type awareness courses.
Visually Impaired Passengers
Mr. Fearnley also touched on new technologies that could assist in providing information for visually impaired passengers. There are now new talking applications that visually impaired passengers can use and transport companies should take full advantage of them.
The Bus Services Act in the UK, highlights that technology development in the transport industry should be aligned with general technological developments across modern industries. That way visually impaired people could benefit from wider technological advances whilst using public transport.
Mr. Fearnley’s final comment on the use of technology in the bus and coach industry was that, We will all be rewarded for being Bold.