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April 27 2018
By Mel Holley

Mel was routeONE magazine’s Editor until autumn 2018. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.


Omnibus enhances CrewPLAN software

Bus software specialist Omnibus has enhanced its CrewPLAN crew scheduling software, that works in conjunction with its OmniBASE operations and scheduling system.

The system now includes more duty types and flexibility, more route definitions and a greater number of meal break locations and associated travel movements.

Says Director Peter Crichton: “For all operators, driver wages make up a significant proportion of operating costs, so it is essential to have the most efficient and robust schedules in place to operate services.”

To achieve this using traditional manual scheduling methods is a very time-consuming process, so many Omnibus customers use CrewPLAN, the automatic crew scheduling module that works in conjunction with OmniBASE.

As a core component of the Omnibus scheduling suite, CrewPLAN is able to compile a cost-effective duty schedule solution using its comprehensive set of Labour Agreement rules along with the extensive Network requirements of a typical operation.

All operators have their own unique requirements regarding maximum and minimum duty lengths, mealbreak times, travel allowances, payment rules and much more; CrewPLAN takes all of these into account and is able to produce a robust and compliant solution in a fraction of the time taken to do the job manually.

Experimenting with rule changes or evaluating different options is a simple task, allowing the user to choose the most appropriate solution for their needs.

CrewPLAN uses a proven algorithm, with an excellent pedigree, but the Omnibus developers are always looking for ways to improve the results. Users have already seen benefits from enhancements introduced, including:

- More duty types and more flexible type configuration;

- More route group definitions and extended route coverage constraints;

- A greater number of meal break locations and associated travel movements.

The ability to handle various types of Crew Relief arrangements, including ferry bus movements and ‘running on and off’, has also been enhanced.

All of these changes, along with increased data size limits and improvements in the use of the scheduling algorithm have resulted in more efficient solutions being possible in many real-world situations.

The Omnibus Support Team includes a number of experienced schedulers, who are always available to help users achieve the maximum benefit from using the software.

In the case of CrewPLAN, they are able to give advice on setting up the rules in the most appropriate way for specific user requirements, and also guide the user through the CrewPLAN process from start to finish, providing a greater understanding of how the software works and how to get the best from it.

As always, this help and advice is available as part of maintenance and support to existing users trying to improve on their results as well as new users, who may have an understanding of scheduling principles but have never made use of automatic duty compilation.



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