Customer demands of public transport are escalating as much as any industry. Not only have expectations risen regarding on-time performance, frequency, reliability and convenience, but now commuters also expect a great customer experience and a proactive attitude by providers toward their customers.
Aiming to meet these high expectations is Transdev, a leading public transport company which includes buses, ferries, heavy rail, light rail and industrial services. With sizeable operations in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand, Transdev provides jobs to more than 5,700 transport professionals and conveys more than 145 million customers every year.
Transdev has embarked on a technology transformation journey, led by CIO Simon Pearce. The project focuses on driving efficiencies in IT, introducing new operational practices, overcoming technology obsolescence and streamlining disparate systems.
The approach is working, as Transdev’s operations in Melbourne were recently named Service Champion in the large business category of the 2016 Customer Service Institute of Australia Awards. These awards recognise Australia’s top performing organisations and individuals in the field of customer service.
A key area of development that contributed to the award was a new communications infrastructure. Operating on the Orion Network, it provides clear and reliable communications between Transdev’s Operations Control Centre (OCC) and its operational fleet. The OCC was the first of its kind to have a multi-state distributed OCC model, allowing the business to manage its national bus fleets from any location. The solution incorporates TRBOnet command and control software, which includes a number of applications and features, including text messaging, voice recording and data reporting.
The benefits of the rollout have been significant:
Better coverage: The Orion Network is powered by Motorola Solutions’ MOTOTRBO Connect Plus digital mobile radio technology (DMR), with integrated voice and data services. Multi-site digital trunking technology with automatic site roaming makes it easy for drivers to focus on driving while maintaining the critical link between the driver and the OCC. As capital cities across Australia continue to add more bus interchanges, including into areas with inadequate coverage, multi-site networks are ideal for Transdev’s communications needs.
Significant operational efficiencies: Efficiency has increased with a single radio platform across Transdev’s operations. The Orion Network has added significant capacity to Transdev’s ability to communicate with drivers whatever their needs. Unlike legacy analogue services, which have a limit of one call action at a time, Transdev is now able to receive duress calls, private calls, groups calls and messaging – all at the same time. The OCC is equipped with the latest TRBOnet command and control software solution to allow Transdev to manage bus operations locally or interstate as the business requires.
Improved driver and customer safety: A custom duress function accessible to drivers flags an emergency or incident with the relevant emergency response group and OCC. OCC operators are able to visualise the bus ID and location instantly and control security features on the bus. Operators can quickly assess the nature of the alarm and direct the necessary support services to the incident.
Communication between drivers and the OCC: With multiple talk groups for OCC operators, drivers, depot supervisors and mechanics, communication between these groups and the OCC has improved. Enhanced call clarity means all conversations are clearly audible. In addition, predefined voice and text messages between drivers and the OCC enable voice announcement messages to drivers, particularly after-hours operational reminders and updates.
The Orion Network also provides special event talk groups, which enable operations to be separated when required without affecting usual business communications.
Interoperability across devices: Transdev workers are very mobile, yet they still need to communicate with workers for whom the two-way radio is not their device of choice. Motorola Solutions’ WAVE Work Group Communications is a communications interoperability and broadband push-to-talk (PTT) solution that delivers real-time voice and data securely between devices across different networks.
WAVE is fully integrated with the network, allowing Transdev to bring in supervisors on broadband devices. For example, during special events, onsite supervisors are often used to better manage crowds and to assist with the smooth flow of buses, yet they use smart phones and other devices. Using WAVE means that everyone – bus drivers on two-way radios and supervisors on smart phones – can communicate quickly and easily.
A better experience for customers: A reliable communications system ensures the timely dispatch of services across the bus network and quick responses for drivers.
Transdev takes the view that proactively managing drivers, buses and routes will provide a better level of customer service. By simplifying the process for drivers communicating quickly with the OCC using text messages, operators are able to manage fleets over wide areas more efficiently. At a glance, OCC operators are able to assess high priority incidents that can have an impact on services and at the same time provide drivers with surety that all matters are being dealt with on a timely basis.
Voice recording: All voice and data transactions are recorded, which is essential for post-event analysis, as well as demonstrating compliance with occupational health and safety (OH&S) and regulatory requirements. Transdev is also able to collect transactional data from open databases and use this information to report on business activity, train operational staff and improve internal business processes.
Fixed costs: Orion’s fixed communication costs remove surprises in the form of additional charges for variable talk times or traffic volumes, thereby benefitting Transdev’s capacity to budget and plan its government contracts.
Future-proofing: Transdev’s partnership with The Orion Network ensures future access to the latest technologies and data applications, so the solution evolves over time as the business’s needs change.
Pearce reports that working with the Orion Network group was “fantastic, providing a professional service that delivers what is promised”.
Click here for the Transdev Australiasia case study PDF.