Red Bus delivers fewer accidents and a better ride with fuel efficiency programme

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Fuel savings delivered through a heavy vehicle fuel efficiency programme are helping Red Bus return to a net profit this year, and with a 40 percent reduction in accidents achieved through the programme the company is committed to keeping the momentum going.

Red Bus delivers fewer accidents and a better ride with fuel efficiency programme [pdf 136 KB]

Overview

Fuel savings delivered through a heavy vehicle fuel efficiency programme are helping Red Bus return to a net profit this year, and with a 40 percent reduction in accidents achieved through the programme the company is committed to keeping the momentum going.

Red Bus says the fuel saving plan could save 4-5 percent of $2 million annual diesel costs, with additional repair and maintenance cost savings expected to add to that over time. The incredible drop in accidents has been attributed to the Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFEDNZ) training and the introduction of new driver monitoring technology known as ‘telematics’. Both were implemented by Red Bus’ ‘Smart Business Team’ (made up of managers and staff) as part of the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme introduced to the company by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Red Bus Chief Executive Paul McNoe says the installation of telematics, which collects real-time vehicle data and  reports performance back to drivers, is resulting in reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs and a better passenger experience.

“The system’s dashboard display shows green, amber or red signals to indicate whether drivers’ performance is good, needing improvement or poor. Speeding inadvertently, harsh braking, taking corners too quickly, revving the engine too hard and leaving the engine idling for too long are all monitored and reported back to the driver. “When we turned the light warnings on we saw a 75 percent reduction in speeding events.”

Telematics has given Red Bus tangible performance data to acknowledge and reward drivers who are consistently driving professionally. “Data produced by the telematics system provides effective feedback and tells us which drivers constantly display excellent driving; resulting in increased passenger comfort and safety, reduced fuel consumption, fewer carbon dioxide emissions, reduced tyre wear and savings on repairs and maintenance. Telematics also provides objective data to protect the driver if there is an accident or complaint. The bus or driver is typically assumed to be in the wrong when this is often not the case” McNoe said.

The rewards quickly add up with Red Bus expecting a return on its investment in technology of about 7 percent. So far, 85 percent of kilometres travelled by Red Buses are now being monitored, with a third of the company’s drivers trained in SAFEDNZ to further improve performance.

Red Bus has come a long way since it joined the programme in 2013. The establishment of a ‘Smart Business Team’ within the company, with EECA providing an external perspective, has proved to be a key to success. The team meets monthly to progress fuel efficiency and safety benefits, but also to look at business efficiencies as a whole. The CEO Paul McNoe and CFO Terry Foote attend all of the meetings which are given a high priority in their work schedules. Paul has made it clear that all matters, subject to confidentiality of course, are open for discussion by the SBT.

EECA Programme Manager John Doesberg says Red Bus managers are very active in assessing and implementing recommendations from the team, resulting in quick results. Red Bus CFO Terry Foote agrees, “The focus on implementation, rather than letting the review gather dust on a shelf, has sparked positive innovations across the company. We would encourage other companies to take advantage of the services and advice being offered by John and the team at EECA.”

Red Bus is owned by Christchurch City Council. It has a fleet of 130 buses, and carries 3.8 million people a year. Red Bus is the first bus company in New Zealand to implement the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme.

Key results

  • Expected return on investment in technology of about 7 percent
  • 85% kilometres travelled by Red Buses are now being monitored
  • A third of the company’s drivers have been trained in SAFEDNZ to further improve performance.

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