Deliver better transit services, more efficiently & gain full operational control.
With our operation management tools you can modernize your transit operations and deliver better transit services, more efficiently. It provides real-time visibility and control over every aspect of your operations and gives you significantly improved situation awareness, command, control and decision-making capabilities.
Real-time view of activity across the entire network with live performance stats for every critical service indicator, such as headway and schedule adherence.
Improve on-time performance with intuitive operator tools. Make instant service adjustments in response to deviations, demand or service conditions.
Advanced analytics and reporting
Advanced analytics give you a detailed understanding of performance so you can optimize operations, enhance services and reduce cost.
Integrates seamlessly with a wide range of onboard and back-office systems. The pay-as-you-grow service model allows you to scale as your fleet operations grow.
Operations control system gives a comprehensive real-time view of activity across the entire network with live performance stats.
Improve service excellence
Actionable KPIs and advanced analytics capabilities give you a detailed view of your performance.
Boost passenger satisfaction
Digitize and automate your workflows so you can easily respond to demand, incidents and customer inquiries.
Fully interoperable and scalable
Integration ready, the platform works with a wide range of systems. It can easily scale as your fleet operations grows.
How can public transport be more resilient to pandemics and what can be learned from Hong Kong’s example?
How have cities such as Hong Kong contained COVID–19 without going into full lockdown? Ridango´s Head of Mobility, Ursa Hribernik, shares strategies used by one of the world’s leading transport systems.
Keeping public transport operations running smoothly and efficiently can be demanding under the best of circumstances.
Managing operations effectively during the coronavirus pandemic presents new challenges. There is a careful balance to be struck between providing a reduced service that meets demand, while also managing complex risks so that everyone working in and using public transport is safe.
Now is the time to take action to safeguard public transport if it is going to continue to serve and grow post-COVID-19. Making the most of the technology that is available is more important than ever. While there is great emphasis on personal protection, hygiene measures and sanitizing fleets, reducing contact and social distancing is imperative to minimizing the risks.
What is the best way forward and what can we learn from cities that were better prepared and continued without resorting to disruptive lockdowns?
SPOTLIGHT ON HONG KONG
How New World First Bus and Citybus responded and kept Hong Kong moving
Hong Kong moved swiftly to stem the contagion without rigid curbs on movement. The city quickly implemented strict controls and behavior changes that proved to effectively contain COVID-19 transmission. This has included measures to protect the health of passengers and employees on public transport, implemented by New World First Bus and Citybus, members of NWS Holdings.
“Hong Kong moved swiftly to stem the contagion without rigid curbs on movement. The city quickly implemented strict controls and behaviour changes that proved to effectively contain COVID-19 transmission”
1. Fleet Sanitization
Buses are washed down daily using an automatic bus washing machine, with internal deep cleaning in all compartment areas using 1:99 diluted bleach or 1:49 where necessary. The operator is currently trialling the use of nano-photocatalyst spraying technology to test its effectiveness and long-term efficacy. This is a surface coating that has been touted as an effective solution to stop the spread of the virus.
2. Air Purification
The air conditioning system is equipped with a dust filter and electrostatic air cleaning device to strengthen the filtering of air particles and kill bacteria in the compartment. The dust filter is cleaned with diluted bleach by engineering staff at least every two weeks. Regular checks are conducted to ensure the air quality inside the compartment that reaches “First Class of Good Air Quality” standards as stipulated by the Environmental Protection Department in Hong Kong.
3. Protecting Employees
All staff, contractors and visitors must measure their body temperature before work or entering premises using an infrared thermometer. Hand sanitizers are provided at bus depots, offices, regulator kiosks and resting facilities at major bus termini. Surgical masks are provided for all staff to wear when on duty. Transparent plastic barriers are set up at staff canteen to avoid spreading droplets. Cleaning of regulator kiosks and resting facilities are more frequent.
Figure 1: Bus occupancy during outbreak. Source: NWFB & Citybus, 2020
4. Responsive Operations
During the outbreak, commuter demand was affected by epidemic control measures implemented by the Hong Kong government. The operator adjusted bus services to align with passenger demand and travel pattern changes. Integrating figures from various systems, the operations team monitors hourly passenger demand pattern to adjust the fleet and crew schedule both precisely and swiftly. This enabled service levels to be fully optimized on different routes.
5. Passenger Information
The latest service adjustments are well announced to passengers through the push notification function of the operator’s mobile app. Passengers also obtain real-time ETA departure information through the mobile app or website. In addition, the bus stop announcement system and motion bus stop display panel remind passengers of personal and environmental hygiene measures, such as wearing masks and protecting others from sneezes and coughs.
Figure 2: Passenger information systems adapted to the pandemic. Source: NWFB & Citybus, 2020
Hong Kong is better equipped to contend with an outbreak of COVID-19 than many other countries due to the SARS outbreak in 2003. But what can other countries learn from them today?
THE KEY TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING OPERATIONS
Hong Kong moved swiftly to stem the contagion without rigid curbs on movement. The city quickly implemented strict controls and behaviour changes that proved to effectively contain COVID-19 transmission. This has included measures to protect the health of passengers and employees on public transport, implemented by New World First Bus and Citybus, members of NWS Holdings.
1. Managing operations
The situation has highlighted the importance of ensuring that bus operations can match demand or be used to discourage unnecessary travel in accordance with government directives. This involves controlling departures and reducing bus dispatch frequencies, as well as adjusting branch, peak and night routes and suspending inter-city bus services. Most operators have also faced the challenge of providing services with limited workforce due to absence. This is where the ability to manage fleet operations in real-time – coupled with data and analytics as in Hong Kong – becomes crucial. Automatic vehicle location (AVL) with a transit management system can offer city-wide visibility and control over transit network operations. It is possible to simulate workforce, fleet, route and schedule adjustments, then quickly implement any changes. With an integrated transit management and passenger information system, any service adjustments can be automatically updated in journey planning apps and on passenger information displays.
These systems also increase performance and operational efficiency, enabling transport providers to deliver better services with less resources.
“With an integrated transit management and passenger information system, any service adjustments can be automatically updated in journey planning apps and on passenger information displays”
2. Managing passenger flow
Operators can support social distancing measures by avoiding crowds gathering at bus stations, terminals and stops. Accurate real-time passenger information – accessed by mobile journey planning apps and websites as in Hong Kong – enables travelers to plan their trip in advance and time their arrival so that they do not take any unnecessary risks. When providing up-to-the-minute service times, real-time GTFS feeds could use an advanced ETA prediction engine to ensure that arrivals are as accurate as possible. The passenger information system and mobile apps can also be used to provide data on bus capacity or introduce other measures to stagger ridership. Passenger counting devices and cameras can be installed in vehicles and integrated with the transit management system, so operators can keep track of the 50% passenger load restrictions that have been implemented in some cities.
3. Regular and informative passenger communication
Communication with passengers during these times is vital for maintaining public confidence in transport services and dealing with the situation with complete transparency. Authorities have a duty of care to share all potentially valuable information and news, as well as standards of conduct to reduce any risk associated with travel. Service changes and restrictions should also be communicated in advance where possible or in real-time as it happens.
Operators can keep their passengers fully informed, simultaneously and consistently across a wide range of channels with a passenger information system. Before travel via the website and mobile apps, at the start of the journey at stations and bus stops, and during the journey in the buses. Hong Kong have a well-established passenger information system and have used this to maximum effect.
With growing concern over the safety of drivers, the authorities face pressure to ban cash handling. Some agencies have gone as far as suspending fares or fare enforcement while they look to implement contactless ticketing and automatic fare payment systems. Contactless ticketing comes in the form of:
Contactless card payment cEMV (contactless Visa, Europay and Mastercard)
cEMV mobile payment using NFC tags (Near Field Communication)
Mobile device QR code tickets (Quick Response)
Account based ticketing using pre-charged smart cards
“Aside from the wider benefits, contactless payments immediately remove the need for cash to change hands. It also eliminates any contact between passengers and ticket kiosks, drivers or ticket inspectors”
5. Enhance operation resilience with modern cloud-based systems
Advances in technology have enabled the public transport sector to operate in a dynamic digital world. This is largely a result of cloud-based transit platforms, offering ready-made solutions that can accelerate time to market.
These platforms also offer greater resilience by enabling workplace mobility. This means operations to continue in the event of a crisis like we are experiencing right now. They are accessible from any Internet-connected device, which means controllers and dispatchers can still run the transport system without being physically present in the company premises.
The software is usually offered as a service (SaaS) giving operators the flexibility to introduce new tools and scale with pay-as-you-grow subscription packages that fit any budget. No longer does it take a year to implement a new tool, rather weeks or at most months. They also offer leading-edge capabilities as well as analytics, enabling operators to learn and adjust their models almost in real time.
These ‘transit systems as a service’ offer the fastest, most flexible path to implementing advanced transit management capabilities.
Hong Kong was able to react fast due to the advanced level of their digital maturity. Not only were their operations flexible and easily manageable, but they were able to swiftly take responsibility for passenger safety. Digitally supported public transit is not only agile and able to respond quickly to emergency situations, but it can significantly reduce costs, improve services and enhance the passenger experience. European agencies and operators that lack the same level of digital maturity should consider moving digital transformation up the agenda. Then maybe the next crisis will become a major opportunity for public transit to thrive.
“In Chinese, ‘crisis’ is expressed as 危機, which is a combination of two words: 危 (danger) and 機 (opportunity). The current danger is clear, and this could be an opportunity for all nations to drive more hygienic and efficient methods of payments going forward.”
LIT Transit, a Ridango Group company, enables 74 bus operators across Greece to build a world-class public transport system
Greece deployed Ridangos solutions across 74 bus operators with a combined fleet size of 4,000. The modern, open and flexible ITS solution has completely digitized operations while providing up-to-date real-time information to passengers. Unified systems across the entire country have significantly reduced the total cost of ownership while facilitating the future transition to a fully integrated transport network.
The project features 74 privately owned public transport operators from both mainland Greece and the Greek islands, incorporating 32 city operators with a combined fleet size of 1,000 and 42 regional operators with a combined fleet of 3,000. This project represents around 98% of the bus operators in the country.
Driven by the economic and infrastructure development goals of the Ministry of Development and Investment, Greece needed to revamp and modernize bus transport across the country. It forms part of a wider national strategy to develop intelligent transport systems to handle the increasing demand for travel with sustainable transportation.
While the overall initiative had a much broader scope, this element of the program involved the introduction of a single mechanism for operations control, and to provide an integrated mobility solution for future multimodal travel.
At the time, the majority managed operations manually on paper or using excel. They lacked AVL, real-time passenger information and reporting, without any oversight or understanding of service performance or efficiency.
The overall goal was to introduce a transit management system that would simplify operations, give providers more control and enrichen the passenger experience, particularly for tourists on the islands.
The solution was designed and delivered through Ridango´s parnter AMCO Advanced Technologies. AMCO provided a comprehensive solution that included Ridango´s Operations Management system with advanced automated vehicle location capabilities (AVL), the best-in-class ETA prediction engine and the passenger information system.
AMCO implemented hardware devices across 4,000 buses as the backend software platform rolled out to all 74 operators, providing a fully integrated, open framework solution. It also incorporated 100 LED passenger information displays with Content Management System to allow full control by AMCO.
The advanced web-based interface offers a complete control centre that consolidates master data for the AVL system (routes, stops and schedules that had to be digitalized) with information from bus driver consoles, fully optimized for the highest possible arrival prediction accuracy.
Implementation went smoothly with training rolled out across all operators to ensure consistent use amongst a user base that did not have any experience of similar systems beforehand.
Vaios Kakavas, Business Development Manager at AMCO:“The smart mobility platform from Ridango is the very foundation of these projects. Ridango´s technology is particularly easy to implement but still incredibly feature-rich, with a flexible cloud-based software subscription model.”
Public transport operators across Greece now benefit from modern, open and flexible technology that has completely digitized their operations and transformed ways of working. They can remotely monitor and manage fleet operations with a comprehensive platform – optimizing route planning and vehicle dispatch while improving service performance and efficiency.
“Management has realized tremendous value from the reporting capabilities giving them complete oversight of operations and real-time control of their fleet,”comments Vaios.
Other benefits include:
Cost efficiencies: Unified systems across the entire country significantly reduces the cost of digital transformation for bus operators regarding procurement, implementation, training and so on.
Operational improvements: Vehicle dispatch, incident management and detour management are now completely systemized driving considerable efficiency gains and improvements in service quality.
Performance gains: Resource utilization has improved as has the on-time performance of buses, while personnel are freed up from time-consuming dispatching and fleet management, allowing them to focus on other work.
Easy to use: The user interface is visual and functional with intuitive workflows and tools; this eased staff onboarding and accelerated the learning curve for non-tech-savvy users.
Accurate passenger information: LIT Predict improves arrival prediction accuracy, generating high-quality data to feed passenger information systems.
Future-ready: The data is unified across all operators as it comes from the same source and can easily be used for (interchange) transfers and fully integrated transport systems. The platform also supports electric bus fleet operations, which are imminent across the country.
Overall, the operational improvements combined with the provision of accurate real-time passenger information has led to an increase in ridership across the board.
“The operators now have the information they need to manage daily operations more effectively and efficiently while providing travellers with convenient live passenger information,”adds Vaios.
Mwasalat Misr reinvents public transport in Cairo and becomes the first operator to bring smart mobility to Africa
The private transit operator has transformed this congested megacity towards a sustainable future. Commuting by public transport is now a favourable and pleasant experience, thanks to smart transport solutions using technology from Ridangos Slovenian subsidiary LIT Transit.
Mwasalat Misr is now providing a service comparable with the world’s leading transportation systems, in an environment where proper infrastructure was completely absent.
Mwasalat Misr: “The transit management system from Ridango immediately helped us to provide a significantly better service with more streamlined and controlled operations.
We now have control over schedule adherence, which has improved punctuality and drastically limited dwell time for passengers. We achieved a 3.4 minute mean absolute variance from trip start, which is phenomenal given Cairo’s traffic conditions. By monitoring headway, we can make real-time adjustments, which has had a direct positive reflection on revenues.
The speed of the transformation has been staggering. Ridango simplified what started out as a complex project with a solution that was easy to implement. Their systems show a deep understanding of public transportation and there is a willingness to do what it takes to make a project successful.”
Mwasalat Misr is a leading privately-owned Egyptian public transport service covering the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area.
Public transport in Cairo is complex. There are 20 million rides per day via shared public transport, with 13.5 million citizens travelling by bus (the remaining using the metro, ferry or taxi services). This includes standard full-sized bus services or minibuses run by the Cairo Transport Authority, smaller private bus operators and privately-run minibuses.
Unfortunately, bus travel in Cairo typically fails to meet expectations for reliability, comfort and safety. A road network burdened with very heavy traffic, inadequate fleet, infrastructure and operational best practice has made bus travel a frustrating experience for users.
Mwasalat Misr mission is to be the provider of choice for customers and a model of excellence for the industry. In doing so, it recognized a gap in the market and the opportunity to transform bus services across the city.
“Previously, Cairo lacked infrastructure that would be considered standard in other cities. There weren’t any fixed routes, bus stops or even schedules, and any technology was basic where it existed. We had to completely reinvent bus travel to give us an edge in the market, also at a time when fares are escalating due to hikes in fuel prices.”
The aim was to offer a more attractive alternative to competing bus and minibus services, while tackling what the operator calls the ‘Middle-Class Paradox’. It wanted to empower commuters to rely on public transport rather than traveling by car or taxi.
Mwasalat Misr knew it needed to take its fleet management to the next level.
With a new air-conditioned smart fleet and a range of value-added services to improve passenger comfort, Mwasalat Misr recognized that technology would underpin its ability to offer a modern urban transportation system.
“The city was ready for a new customer-centric era of mobility. We put the wheels in motion to become the first public transport provider to introduce smart mobility technologies in Egypt.”
Mwasalat Misr needed to replace its existing fleet management system with a more advanced, intelligent platform. It partnered with Eazy Mobility, Cairo’s specialist mobility system integrator, who helped to deliver the vision using the transit management system developed by Ridangos subsidary LIT Transit.
“The transit management system offers best-in-class CAD/AVL functionality, while being easy to deploy, hardware agnostic and fully scalable. Their system is designed to enable next generation transit environments and shows a deep understanding of the services that operators need to deliver to meet future passenger needs.”
We provide comprehensive operations and fleet management toolset using data imported from the existing transit operation back end. The system offers complete visibility of activity and performance across the entire network in real-time, aggregated in an intuitive dashboard format. Users can drill down and interact with a wide range of monitoring indicators. They can analyze performance against best practices, review historical data and generate detailed insight reports.
The platform also incorporates advanced prediction algorithms. The technology generates the most accurate arrival predictions, in real-time and in an open data format. It can also automatically analyze data accuracy for every element of the transit network.
Embedding this technology into Mwasalat Misr core business operations has significantly enhanced performance, lowered costs and increased profitability. Ultimately, it has resulted in a much better service experience, on a par with other cities around the world, which has improved the attractiveness of public transit in Cairo.
The new platform improved controllers’ situation awareness, command, control and decision-making capabilities. This led to rapid resolution of critical success factors that experienced ongoing difficulty. For the first time, the operator had control over schedule adherence. This improved punctuality and drastically limited dwell time for passengers, achieving a 3.4 minute mean absolute variance from trip start. Additionally, by monitoring headway, Mwasalat Misr could make real-time adjustments which have had a direct positive reflection on revenues.
Amidst fuel price hikes, Mwasalat Misr has maintained its position as a superior service provider offering trip prices lower than rivals. This is largely down to the operator’s ability to more efficiently manage its fleet of 592 buses through 52 fixed routes, with defined schedules and bus stops that are visible online.
“For the first time in Africa, our customers can plan their trip in advance. They know when their ride will arrive and how long their journey will take in real-time, through our award-winning trip planning platform and mobile app.”
With the intelligent prediction algorithms developed by LIT and embedded into the platform, the real-time passenger information generated is very accurate.
“The excellent AI incorporated into the system has helped us to provide accurate arrival predictions, which keeps passengers happy and has resulted in an increase in ridership. This is quite an achievement given Cairo’s heavy traffic. It takes into consideration the traffic patterns at different times of year, days of the week and time of the day. This helps us to adjust schedules to maintain a steady service.”
Mwasalat Misr has also linked its CAD/AVL data with Cairo Metro, enabling it to extend its reach beyond the metropolitan area with multi-modal journey planning.
As the first to introduce smart mobility technologies in Cairo, the city can look forward to a more sustainable future where public transport is a favorable, pleasant experience. In partnership with Eazy Mobility, Ridango continues to support Mwasalat Misr with new functionality.
“Thanks to the smart mobility technology from Ridango, we are firmly at the forefront of digital innovation in public transport in Egypt. In fact, Africa!”
Mwasalat Misr strives to be a model of excellence for the industry, there is potential for other cities in Egypt and across Africa to adopt these more advanced approaches to public transport.
Mwasalat, Oman’s National Transport Company, operates the state’s bus services offering City and Intercity services. Mwasalat covers main cities such Muscat and the popular touristic destination of Salalah, in addition to planning an introduction for other main cities.Mwasalat Intercity services also deliver a regular bus service between most visited cities within Oman, such as Muscat to Salalah, Nizwa, Sohar and other cities. Carrying a total of 1.5 million passengers with a fleet of 164 vehicles each year, the buses are clean, efficient and used by citizens and tourists alike.
Taxis in Oman are marked distinctively in orange and white stripes. While a pricier option to the bus, their shared taxis offer cheaper alternatives. Alternatively, small vans also serve as shared transport for short hauls and they charge per stop-over point just like city bus services.
The need to improve the bus services in Oman was recognised as an important aspect of economic growth and development. For this reason, Mwasalat wishes to become a world-class bus transport operator and provide an efficient bus service that is modern and competitive on a national and international level1.
WHAT WAS IMPLEMENTED?
In cooperation with LIT Transit, a Ridango Group company and NEC Corporation, Mwasalat launched a multimodal application in December 2021 as part of a larger national ticketing and AVM project in the Sultanate of Oman including 175 vehicles. The project included the provision of an account-based ticketing solution, AVM solution and multimodal application for passengers.
The application connects three modes of transport: City buses, intercity buses and airport shuttle services on a national level for a seamless travel experience across the entire country. Apart from a multimodal journey planner, the application provides a centralised “one-stop-shop” for all tickets.
MAAS TICKETING AND PAYMENT SOLUTION
Ticketing: Account-based ticketing
Fare policy: Flat, zonal, station-to-station
Attractive lower fares through the use of mobile app compared to the normal on-bus sale.
Purchase options (gateways): Local debit cards, international credit cards, mobile providers account payments (Pre-paid and Post-paid) and payments through main bus stations
Trip payment options:
E-wallet: trip payment with stored value
Purchased fare item
The MaaS application, ticketing service and mobile ticketing backend were provided in collaboration with LIT Transit, a Ridango Group company.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
While there were certain obstacles:
Revision of existing fare models to match account-based ticketing
Introduction of new business processes (e.g., inspection)
Introduction of new payment channels
Extension of passenger interaction through mobile application
Overall, the MaaS application encouraged the use of public transport, helped to reduce congestion in cities and provided localised (decentralised) transport services on a regional scale. Users not only benefit from easier travel experiences but, with concessions, benefit also from cheaper services for beneficiaries e.g., special fare prices.
Mwasalat found that a centrally managed system on a national level is cost-effective due to service optimisation and performance monitoring. They can forecast future service demand requirements. Because of the success, the following steps for Mwasalat are:
Encouraging further utilization of the new technology through targeted marketing campaigns through various channels
Introduction of period passes
Upgrade of intercity bookings
Integration with other payment wallet providers and self-service city utility kiosk providers