Bringing real time data and significant efficiencies to a legacy Victorian Bus Operation

13/3/24, 8:30 am

Owning a legacy transportation business whilst a fortunate position, comes with a unique set of legacy challenges. General Manager of Kastoria Bus Lines, Andrew Chan knows these all too well. We recently sat down with him to understand how working with NEC has allowed them to bring a much valued and utlised community asset into the 21st Century through technology.

Tell us about the core of Kastoria's business?

Andrew: "Kastoria Bus Lines operates 170 buses for the Dept of Planning and Transport, Department of Education, local schools and private charters. On any given day, we have 100 buses departing the depot, transporting thousands of customers and school children and have over 200 drivers and operational staff."

What were the challenges you were experiencing?

Andrew: Our biggest challenge was communication - ensuring that driver-to-operations-to-workshop and vice versa was seamless - especially in the event of an incident. The second was the ability for location tracking and accountability, lastly a lack of customer and real time data - having insight into the fleet as shifts were occurring. Broadly, addressing these challenges would also have a spill-on effect of happier staff better workplace culture.

You are very actively involved in engaging with government and other bus operators - how did that play into your solution considerations?

Andrew: It was very important to me to ensure that Kastoria's strategy aligns with that of the Victoria Bus Plan. The plan focuses on 5 key areas - (1) to make the network smarter, faster and more reliable buses (2) cleaner and smarter fleet (3) better performing buses (4) a better customer experience and (5) better value for money. When I met with NEC it was clear they understood my passion for this alignment and worked towards this goal with our solution.

What is the solution that was built for Kastoria?

Andrew: The solution was built from NEC's Smart Mobility Platform, specifically the Push to Talk over Cellular (PTToC) communication solution and Transit Management Solution. The benefits are operational intelligence - having a really clear picture of the business operations throughout the day and instant and seamless communication between the drivers/vehicles and the operations centre.

What changes have you observed of staff since the changes?

Andrew: I pride myself on being a progressive, encouraging and motivating leader. A big part of that is understanding the everyday challenges of your team and working to create solutions that make their job more satisfying. The NEC solution has taken away many of their daily pain points, drivers feel better supported, training and on boarding has been drastically reduced and driver relief in the event of an incident is seamless. Customer satisfaction is up meaning that drives and frontline staff are happier. Broadly, when staff feel you have invested in them and the business, they feel valued and supported.

What's next for Kastoria Bus Lines?

We would like to expand the NEC PTToC and TMS technology to our regional depot in Seymour.

We would like to work closely with the Department of Transport and Planning, collaborating with NEC to provide a seamless reporting platform.

Learn more about the Kastoria