Freeway helps Reading Buses achieve high maintenance standards

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Reading Buses has been transporting customers in and around Reading for more than 100 years. Since 2005, Reading Buses has invested millions in more than 100 new fully-accessible, ultra-low emission buses for its routes. The company now operates a fleet of 178 buses across Reading, Newbury and the local area. The company has invested in the latest lower emission buses, with 37 percent of the company’s fleet either electric hybrid or powered by compressed natural gas.

Reading Buses needed a comprehensive solution that provided stock control, order management, fleet asset management, scheduled and ongoing vehicle maintenance. It also had to capture labour costs on non-company owned vehicles, i.e. sub-contracted coaches. And with the decision to “green up” its fleet, Reading Buses also needed the ability to see the operating costs for each bus model, not only for analysis but also for budgetary purposes.

Comprehensive solution

The Freeway software has the capacity to capture and analyse the data for this mixed fleet operating on various routes. Freeway captures maintenance and repair costs, as well as calculating fuel efficiency. The software integrates with Reading Buses’ fuel management software, so that a complete picture of the total running costs per mile for each vehicle make and model is available for the entire fleet. These results can not only highlight under-performance, but can also provide a cost-based comparison between real and budgeted costs for each vehicle make and model in the entire fleet.

Apart from scheduled and routine maintenance, Freeway also captures ‘First user check cards’, which is the data provided by every driver who inspects his bus before leaving the depot in the morning.

Freeway produces accurate job cards for the workshop which are linked to the individual histories for each bus, detailing previous inspections and maintenance work. Freeway also manages stock automatically, recording accurate usage and giving Reading Buses full control of around 2,000 line items as well as non-vehicle related purchases, such as office supplies and even building work.

Maintaining high standards

Reading Buses consistently achieves high maintenance standards by eliminating vehicle problems through Freeway planned inspections and rectifying all defects as soon as they are discovered. The software coordinates the inspection programme and service intervals for each bus, helping to manage maintenance, repairs and annual PSV inspections.

“Reading Buses has used Freeway for more than a decade,” said Patrick Tandy, Managing Director, Freeway Fleet Systems. “The bus company’s use of the software has developed from managing running repairs for older vehicles to keeping a modern fleet in first class condition.”

Flexibility

“Reading Buses was one of the first UK bus operators to install the Freeway transport management system,” said Mike Batt, Purchasing and Facilities Manager, Reading Buses. “Although not bespoke to us, Freeway has developed right alongside us, adding new functionality to accommodate emerging requirements.”

“This clearly demonstrates the flexibility of the software,” commented Tandy. “This flexibility is achieved by Freeway’s responsiveness to customers’ changing requirements by adding new functionality as and when they need it.”

“As our requirements have evolved, so Freeway has evolved right along with us,” added Batt. “If you asked me what is it about Freeway that makes it unique, I’d say its flexibility and ability to adapt to our needs. There has been nothing we’ve asked for that Freeway couldn’t provide. That’s pretty special.”

Freeway At A Glance

Challenges

  • Multi-depot
  • Mixed fleet of 180 buses
  • Sub-contract coaches
  • Stock control of 2,000 line items
  • High standard of vehicle maintenance

Benefits

  • Asset tracking and management
  • Cost management and analysis
  • Costs include fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc.
  • Comprehensive vehicle history
  • Analyse running costs per vehicle/vehicle type/route
  • Flexibility to add new functionality

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