In the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik and the surrounding municipalities, the transport authority, Strætó, is responsible for both public bus transport and special needs transport. Of course, the requirement to respond to changes in transport requirements quickly and effectively is a requisite here. And, when the municipalities demanded a better way of dealing with short-notice trip bookings, Strætó realised it needed a new planning system. The solution to the challenge was an IT system from Trapeze, which manages and plans trip bookings at very short notice.
“Our previous IT solution was unable to handle changes in special transport with less than a day’s notice,” explains Smarí Ólafsson, Operational Manager at Strætó’s booking office. “This meant, among other things, that people would have to call as early as Friday if they wanted to change a Monday transport request. Obviously, this was something they weren’t happy about. So the municipalities demanded that we should be able to handle changes in bookings with just two hours’ notice.”
Useful local knowledge
In order to meet the municipalities’ demands, Strætó opted to invest in Trapeze’s demand response solution. This solution can handle trip bookings in real time and, therefore, fully meets the requirement of making rapid changes as and when needed.
Indeed, as far as Smarí Ólafsson is concerned, Trapeze’s solution was the logical choice here: “For many years we have been using Trapeze software solutions for planning and operation of public transport, and Trapeze is therefore familiar with the handling of our real-time data and geographical maps. They also have in-depth knowledge of the requirements and organisation of demand response services in the Nordic countries, so it was natural for us to choose them.”
Reliable and well-functioning solution
In addition to the ability to make rapid changes, Strætó is now seeing a number of added benefits, which were not available to them in their previous system.
Smarí Ólafsson explains: “This is a very reliable and well-functioning solution, and we are especially pleased that it is as flexible as it is. For example, it has become possible for us to handle some quite complicated travel patterns that change from week to week. Naturally, we do have to learn all the functions properly; but once you know how to use them, there are some really valuable possibilities hidden away in there.”
Statistics: a world of brand new possibilities
In managing and planning for effective transport services, it is absolutely critical that an organisations’ data, information and statistics are accurate, and also easily accessible by staff. Here again, Ólafsson explains that the new Trapeze system is improving working practices at Strætó:
“We can now retrieve statistics far more easily, and we can see a massive difference from where we were before,” Ólafsson says.“In our old solution, we could only get basic information on the number of trips and things like that, but with the Trapeze solution, we have a lot more options, which are much better. In future, we will be in a position to assess our transport services more critically, and identify which trips are necessary for individual citizens. Because of this, the municipalities will also benefit, because they can obtain a better basis for managing the certification processes – while also improving the way they can adjust service levels for the different transport offerings. In short, it’s a win-win situation, where everyone involved stands to benefit!”
New statistic features reveal possible savings
As new information becomes available, the new Trapeze system is helping Smarí Ólafsson and the Strætó team react more effectively to the changing demands of special needs transportation.
“Another crucial benefit of the system is that we have gained a lot of valuable information about no-shows,” Smarí Ólafsson says. “Every month we retrieve statistics on who has had more than three no-shows, and then we call them to find out what went wrong. Equally, the municipalities can get to know if there are people who perhaps do not need all the trips they have been granted. Without a doubt these statistics will enable the municipalities to save money.”
Self-service for people
In addition to the selected solution from Trapeze, Strætó has chosen to invest in the Travel Mate self-service solution, which is one of the many optional modules available in the Trapeze System. The module helps greatly improve communications between external users (the travelling public), and transport organisations like Strætó.
It is for this reason that Smarí Ólafsson is expecting a great deal from Travel Mate: “With Travel Mate we get a portal out to the passengers. They can log on and see where the vehicle that is meant to be coming to collect them is, they can see their bookings, and they can cancel trips online themselves.”
Making things easier for the booking office
“Also, passengers can provide notification of holidays/days off or sick days via Travel Mate, so the booking office no longer has to deal with this,” Smarí Ólafsson continues. “Travel Mate is available as a platform-independent web portal. We really believe that this self-service solution will mean a lot for both the general public and for us, because they no longer need to phone to get information, make changes to their personal profile, or cancel trips.”*
Online communication with drivers
But of course, utilising new online portals can also help improve internal communications within a business, especially between traffic office staff and drivers. This is something Strætó is also discovering to it’s benefit:
“We have also invested in Driver Mate, which we use for fleet management,” Smarí Ólafsson adds. “With our previous planning solution, we had to print out all information for the drivers on paper, but Driver Mate links the drivers with the Trapeze System, so the drivers can keep up to date via a tablet they have with them in the vehicle. This makes it a lot easier to make rapid changes, and in this way we can make much better use of our vehicles.”
Overview across municipal borders
The next thing Strætó has to do is to implement the CERT module, which is a web-based solution for certifying citizens for special transport in the municipalities, and which replaces today’s manual paper and e-mail procedures with automated procedures and online forms. “With CERT, the municipal case workers, care personnel, local education authorities and municipal offices can all use the same system, and the solution is directly linked to our Trapeze System,” Smarí Ólafsson explains.
“In this way, the individual municipality can see the same things as we do, and it is more obvious who is responsible for what,” Smarí Ólafsson concludes.
*Trapeze has found from its experience of installations in Scandinavia that the level of activity in the booking office goes down by 40 - 60% when Travel Mate or another equivalent self-service solution is used.