Omnibus, one of the UK’s leading transport software suppliers, is supporting the Oxford Bus Company (OBC) as it transitions to electric vehicle (EV) operations.

The company, which has long worked with the operator to support its scheduling, has created “custom performance scenarios” and helped calculate the most cost-effective ways to roll out a fully electric bus fleet across Oxford – taking into account the limited range of electric vehicles – and the changes that will be needed to its scheduling practices to maximise the number of miles operated. The impact to driver costs has also been considered.

It is hoped the work will inform Go-Ahead’s wider decarbonisation strategy, while supporting its bid for funding from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme, which is set to provide up to £120m for local transport authorities looking to introduce zero-emission buses.

“We’ve had a longstanding partnership with Omnibus and have always highly valued its proactive and positive approach to helping us solve our scheduling challenges,” says Finance and Commercial Director of Oxford Bus Company Luke Marion. “The work it has done to support us on the electrification project has been invaluable in helping us understand how we will need to adapt our scheduling practices to deal with new vehicle technologies.”

Omnibus, meanwhile, will use feedback from OBC and from other operators to further develop its own tools and keep it “at the front of the pack” of bus scheduling software.

Says Peter Crichton, Omnibus Managing Director: “We’re committed to giving our customers complete visibility over their fleet and operations and delivering accurate information first time.

“Our software has been used to successfully plan for numerous EV operations and limited range vehicles – and naturally we are delighted Oxford Bus Company chose our team to support them in their bid for government funding.”

Kieran Proctor, Omnibus Technical Account Manager, worked on the project. He says: “By producing several realistic scheduling solutions we were able to consider the various cost implications of each.

“The customer was delighted with the results, and this level of scrutiny has given it the confidence that it has the best possible plan to introduce a fully electric bus fleet to the streets of Oxford.”