St John’s work with QRoutes to address capacity challenges on school transport routes

People want to be able to depend on transport; they don’t want to think about it. So, it can be that any change to home-to-school bus routes is met with resistance.

However, while people might not like change, eventually it is inevitable. New children join and older ones leave every year changing the ‘shape’ of the demand. Routes that previously worked well can begin to encounter problems, such as capacity issues in particular areas.

QRoutes recently completed some work with Melanie Cox, Transport Manager at St. John’s School in Leatherhead, Surrey. Melanie’s role is to manage the day-to-day running of buses delivering approximately 350 children to school and home again every day.

“Our routes are 90% right,” says Melanie “but they’re getting very busy in some areas, with new pupils pushing routes over capacity.”

We looked at St. John’s routes to explore how the provision could be adapted to address the capacity issues without wholesale change that would create pushback from parents.

“We’re looking at a trade-off between flexibility and communicating change” says Melanie.

The work with QRoutes identified how using different size vehicles and adjusting the direction of some routes only slightly could successfully address the capacity issues and even reduce the need for an extra vehicle. This represents a significant cost saving which also lessens the carbon footprint.

And finally, the exercise provided a new way of seeing the data using GIS technology.. All the pick-up points are now accurately geocoded which makes communicating with parents and operators now and in the future much easier.

“It was also an opportunity to look into the future to anticipate how we can change things when we need to. Overall, it’s been a great help and we intend to implement the QRoutes improvements overtime to maintain efficiencies on our routes into school.” concluded Melanie.

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