London buses carry six million people every weekday, on a fleet of roughly 8,000 vehicles which run across 673 routes. This means most staff are out on the road or working remotely, so mobile has long been a priority for the organisation.
It needed to bring a number of systems up-to-date, however, to take advantage of advances in mobile connectivity and services. TfL chose solutions from Cognito to manage employees and help both passengers and staff on their journeys, combined with O2’s network to bring the services to life.
“We have worked with Cognito for over 15 years, so when we needed to replace our previous system against tight timescales we were confident in its ability to work with O2, not just to deliver on time, but also to provide a solution which better supported our field and office workers,” said Nick Owen, head of bus enforcement at TfL.
The first move was to replace its back-end systems with updated technology from Cognito, O2, ITAL and Crown, giving it the extra capacity it needed to run the new applications.
The operations division was supplied with software to manage and track staff working hours, attendance and the processing of fines for dodging fares. TfL claimed the solutions allowed operations to have a full view of what their staff were doing on the job and to track overtime and annual leave, among other tasks.
It also led to quicker reporting of faults or safety issues on the network that need to be repaired or addressed as soon as possible. This enabled TfL to centrally control its maintenance patrols much more effectively, meaning problems were addressed quicker and the buses could get back to running as normal – benefiting both staff and passengers.
For those working out on the transport network, the companies provided new handheld devices linked to the back office. This cut cumbersome paperwork from their daily lives when having to fine passengers for fare evasion, and the connection into TfL makes the process much quicker for staff to conclude.
“The benefits have been immediately visible,” added Owen. “For example, we can now deal with instances of alleged fare evasion more quickly and effectively. This benefits not only those involved, but also other passengers who see the potential for their journeys to be disrupted reduced.”
The deployment process began in April 2011, following a two-month trial of the new systems. All work was completed by the end of 2011, giving TfL, its staff and its buses a new lease of life for 2012.
“With London’s transport system in the spotlight during last summer’s busy events schedule, it was more important than ever that staff were supported by technology that enabled them to provide exceptional customer service,” said Jonathan Chevallier, strategic development director at Cognito.
“It’s great to see TfL leading the way on this issue.”