Optimisation of Duty Roster Planning and Personnel Deployment in Public Transport

An urban transport operating company commissioned BSL Transportation to analyse existing processes in the duty roster planning and personnel deployment of its bus and tram drivers. Thereby, we have also analysed existing systems in use and system configurations. The analysis of existing parameters concerning the duty planning were particularly important as those are mainly responsible for an efficient and effective arrangement of duty rosters. For our customer, the following issues needed to be tackled:

  • High proportion of deficit hours through not fully used target working hours due to short duty cycles,
  • At the same time, there was a significant of amount of excess hours to be remunerated which strained the company result additionally,
  • Travel time profile for bus services often didn’t represent the traffic reality.

Part of the problem was the duty roster’s current design in combination with a set number of duty-free working days. Due to this, the required number of hours of duty cannot be produced in order to fully exhaust the collectively agreed normal working time. Other planning parameters were critically analysed and evaluated.

The challenge: Duty roster optimisation under typical conditions in public transport

A clearly required change was ruled out regarding the arrangement of number of working days as well as the decrease of weekly working hours for already employed drivers. Therefore the existing duty plan was further analysed under the present conditions and possible areas of improvement were shown based on a more efficient duty scheduling. For this purpose, BSL Transportation implemented a specially developed software which is designed to optimise duty schedules of bus or train drivers and which delivers reliable results.

In addition, new recruits are now employed based on reduced weekly working hours and individual working time accounts have been introduced. Our customer was not able to improve its roster based on an accordingly optimised rotation planning, as the vehicle and rotation scheduling is determined and fixed by the local municipality.

BSL Transportation also developed a concept to improve the personnel requirement’s planning as well as to control and monitor the employee utilisation of bus and tram drivers. This is used to avoid a shortage of said drivers. Parts of this concept were realised using a simple Excel tool which was delivered to our client.

18. March 2019