Community transport providers are always under constant pressure to get the most out of their services, whilst at the same time operating with a smaller and smaller budget. There have even been instances where transport contracts have been awarded to providers outside of the county who’s bid even showed the service would run at a loss. Decisions like this hurt the passengers, who suddenly find themselves in rural areas not able to get anywhere.
Community transport demand is only set to increase. This will place greater demand on the existing volunteers, admin staff and vehicle availability. The UK is an ageing population and to keep communities functioning people need to get to places, events and appointments. The value of community transport exceeds the journey itself, but reduces isolation, provides enjoyment and comfort at times when people need it the most.
Here at Road XS we are always trying to assist providers and capture their requirements releasing them onto our software platform via our Cloud Refresh programme. This way everyone benefits without the huge up-front costs usually associated with transport software and custom software builds of this calibre.
Over the past two years we have had a really interesting view into the community transport world and it’s a very fun, rewarding sector. Some might call it an addiction!
Here’s 8 ways you can reduce your costs yet boost productivity at the same time:
1) Share Drivers
The easiest way to increase your resources is to share drivers. There are instances where a volunteer driver might live in one county, yet is closer to a passenger in another county. In the past, with less demand, this would not matter. Today, with increased demand in services, every volunteer driver is valuable. If the driver lives over the border it shouldn’t stop them from assisting your community transport services.
2) Share Vehicles
With volunteer drivers your greatest asset, then so are their vehicles. If you spot patterns in your transport services you will notice that clusters of passengers are likely to travel to the same locations at similar times. With the right transport software in place you can ensure your vehicles and their driver’s are used to their most optimum levels.
3) Know Your Peaks
Do you actually know your busiest day? Many providers are unsure of which day is their busiest. While it may seem this doesn’t matter, in reality if you know your busiest day you can allocate additional staff to handle the peaks on the demand for booking your services. There’s no point having additional staff at hand if it’s costing the services money.
4) Close Satellite Offices
Controversial I know! This one depends on how the office is used. If it’s used solely for transport services then it’s an overhead potentially not required. If it serves the community in greater ways than just transport then there is a need for it in the local area. Offices are a great expense, however, you do need a collective location to bring everyone together but does that mean you need more than one location just to have one? For transport you could just redirect a central line to the booking desk and with Road XS (depending on your security settings) you can actually operate from anywhere and collaborate with your team remotely – even in the snow!
5) Get Headsets
If you are a large provider, headsets are your new best friend. In having a headset your phone operator can quickly take bookings whilst chatting to the client / passenger at the same time comfortably. There’s nothing worse than a ‘I didn’t hear that?’, ‘sorry say again?’. The headset puts the operator comfortably in control and able to do their job more efficiently. It’s also clearer for the passenger as the voice level is constant.
6) Know Your Day
Having a real-time, clear and easy way to understand your day is critical for your daily success. With our vehicle activity board you can plan where your vehicles are going where and which drivers are travelling on them. You can also re-allocate passengers accordingly. At Road XS we’re taking this a step further and are developing ways of simulating costs so that the provider knows instantly which journeys are operating at cost and those that aren’t. Helpful for the bottom line!
7) Adopt a Transport Software
Manual bookings work great. However, when demand increases you can’t keep up. The new GDPR legislation’s ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ makes manual management very hard to implement – unless you are happy manually scribbling out all the past journeys of the last 3 years for one passenger! A transport software such as Road XS that constantly evolves to the needs of the transport community is your silent asset, keeping you calm, productive and in control. Take a look at our what’s new page to see where we have come from and where we are going (our new roadmap)! Software will also automate manual processes meaning your staff can focus on other, more productive tasks.
8) Know Your Data and Plan for the Future
Reports. Yawn! I know. But reports really underpin your services. It enables you to look at your services in a factual way allowing you to adapt and make decisions you otherwise would not be able to. Believe it or not but reports can help you cut costs by looking at bottlenecks you otherwise wouldn’t know. With Road XS we provide you some incredibly detailed and insightful views you just can’t get from other transport software providers. We also develop custom reports as and when you need them.
We hope the above was helpful. If you could like to add to the list feel free to contact us!