Transport software can save you hours of time, frustrations and money. Equally, if you adopt the wrong transport software you may find yourself tied into a three year deal (or more) and unable to get out of it – essentially stuck and not able to move forward at the pace required.
When we set out to build Road XS, our mantra right from the start has been ‘Let’s do this right’. We looked at the market and discovered that the design of software available out there was old and clunky. If anything, this was our first mission! Usability is such a big factor when it comes to software, why would you want to spend hours using a software which is really hard to use and just awful to look at? Well until Road XS you had no choice.
But if we were to build Road XS the right way, what does that actually mean? Before two years ago, we knew nothing about community transport services – that was until a major personal event within the family happened and community transport services were called upon to support cancer treatments. Thanks to those services the family member is still with us today and the plan was put into motion to keep community transport services sustainable. We decided to start the Road XS community to get providers talking even if they didn’t use Road XS, so that we could find out all their little niggles and annoyances and make everyone’s life better, together.
Based on our own experiences and our own knowledge and development talking with numerous providers, here’s what we think you should accept as an absolute minimum from a transport software:
The Transport Software Must Continue to Evolve
Nothing stands still. Demands increase, services evolve and passenger requirements alter. Any transport software that stands still just can’t react and keep ahead, therefore can’t support you moving forwards. Road XS from the start was designed with a quick release update programme called Cloud Refresh. It enables us to rapidly respond to the requests from the Road XS community. All updates are pushed out quietly without disruption to the providers on the software.
The Transport Software Must Scale Up
Transport providers will expand, merge and share resources with others. This means the software must be able to expand on-demand. As services grow into new areas, the software must be able to adapt for reporting purposes to keep your services on track.
Provide Insightful, Valuable Reports
The reports in the transport software need to be meaningful. It’s easy to show total journeys and total passengers, but not so easy to derive meaning from the data provided. You need to be able to compare data sets, assess why things are happening and react to the relevant information provided. Reporting in Road XS combines data from numerous sources, calculating in real-time to provide insight as well as facts.
The software should offer route optimisations. Even if the driver doesn’t take the specified route, it is key to ensure availability is handled right. The process for this should be on-going as the roads and conditions change. Road XS comes equipped with Smart Route technology which saves fuel and time, ensuring the passenger and driver both benefit.
Include a Driver’s Portal
The driver’s portal is a must. It saves time for communicating via email and phone calls to drivers and allows them to work with journeys within their area, at their own comfort. Volunteer drivers are your most valuable asset, you don’t want to annoy them and need to make their lives as easy as possible.
Provide a Clean and Clear User Experience
Any age should be able to use the transport software. The software should require little training and all support material should be provided online. It means you can then involve as many people and volunteers as possible to manage your community transport services, and not be reliant on just ‘tech-savvy’ individuals to run the services.
Include Enhanced Security
The software should as a minimum, include the option for two-factor authentication to protect against brute force attacks. The software should also include advanced access and control protocols ensuring users only see data you allow them to. There should also be mechanisms in place to protect access to the software platform at specific times of day. Road XS comes pre-equipped with numerous security features and audits along with GDPR compliance. Please talk to us and we will be happy to talk to you about some of the further security features of Road XS.
To find out more about what you should expect, why not read our report ‘3 Danger’s Facing Community Transport Providers’ which provides greater insight and places everything in context.