Taking a fresh approachReading Buses has been transporting passengers in and around Reading, Berkshire, for over 100 years. Despite their heritage that dates back to 1903 when the company was formed, Reading Buses prides itself on their forward-thinking approach to technology, and dedication to their customers and the greater community. Unlike many other bus operators, Reading Buses boasts a network of vividly branded buses and employs 410 drivers who are specifically recruited as “people who like people”.
Their fleet of 181 buses includes 31 hybrid, 34 gas and 24 Euro6 diesel buses as part of their efforts to improve air quality for the greater community of Reading. Together with their owners, the Reading Borough Council (RBC), they’re also successfully reducing car dependency for access to the area – for both visitors and residents. This massive focus on customer service and innovation has not only cemented the good reputation of the operator, but grown their annual turnover to an impressive £30 million.
Keeping it simpleIn looking to improve overall fuel consumption and reduce fuel spend among other aims, Reading Buses shortlisted a total of seven telematics providers. MiX Telematics was singled out as the only company able to meet their requirements without over-complicating the solution on offer: namely MiX Fleet Manager with RIBAS (an in-cab driving aid) and MyMiX (a mobile app, designed to give drivers direct access to their driving data), a combination proven to drastically improve driver engagement and behaviour.
Very important to Reading Buses was to keep their fleet running as normal at all costs, so as not to affect their customers. Which is why they were delighted that MiX was able to fully support them through implementation, with consultants and technicians working in the evenings to allow for minimum disruption.
Implementation commenced in January 2015 and continued for four weeks until the entire fleet was kitted out. During February and March, data was used by Reading Buses to benchmark the performance of their vehicles and drivers, and furthermore introduce the solution to their drivers to allow for a hassle-free transition. In April 2015, the solution went live and by December 2015, the results were rolling in.
“We were able to identify that between our best and worst drivers, there could be as much as a 40% difference in fuel consumption.” – John Bickerton, Chief Engineer at Reading Buses
Return on Investment in under a yearBy December 2015 – just nine months after the solution was first put to use – Reading Buses reported a 27% reduction in harsh braking and a 44% reduction in harsh acceleration across their fleet. Since fuel consumption is directly linked to the way in which vehicles are driven, it came as no surprise when their overall fuel consumption dropped by 2%, too.
“In addition, we are also extremely pleased to see a 35% increase in drivers who meet ‘green’ driving standards, which will only lead to better outcomes for our operation in the future,” says Dan Bassett, Operations Manager at Reading Buses.
Reading Buses makes regular use of RAG reporting, which was – and still is – used to identify at-risk drivers and coach them accordingly. RAG reports are based on data captured by the RIBAS Display in terms of over-revving, excessive idling, harsh braking, harsh acceleration and over-speeding where Red is poor, Amber is neutral, and Green is good. This, along with diagnostic data, will help Reading Buses to detect over-heating engines and save as a result. Fuel consumption reports, as well as mileage reports, have helped them monitor changes in fuel consumption as well as tyre wear and tear.
“Along with positive engagement from drivers, these results have us confident that the MiX Telematics solution will continue to deliver,” says Dan. In particular, Reading Buses hopes to see a further drop in fuel consumption and a reduction in collisions. They also plan to use drivers who perform well as examples to others in an attempt to promote wider participation.