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Increased grants for transport operators

Last year, the Government announced an increase in Bus Service Operator Grants (BSOG) for organisations able to demonstrate improved fuel efficiency for their vehicles. Such increases are especially welcome to community transport operators with charity status – as enhanced grants means greater income.

Improved fuel efficiency using existing vehicles means more efficient route planning. This can be very difficult, but help is at hand in the form of ‘TrakSave – a vehicle telematics device (blackbox) which is connected to the operators office system and not only provides the ongoing data to achieve journey efficiency, but also enables a full fleet tracking system.

Aston Clarke, Alamein Director, explains…
“The critical issue facing transport operators wishing to claim the increased BSOG is to reduce average fuel consumption (km/litre) and importantly, prove this performance. Their challenge is to achieve this utilising existing vehicles with inherently the same running performance.” He continued: “To do this, efficiencies must be sought and these must be relevant to ‘engine running’ conditions.The initial target areas are to identify and eradicate ‘inefficient’ driving habits and excessive periods of idling.”

Fred Rule, Chairman of Keep Mobile (Community Transport) and Thames Valley Operators, has been working with Alamein over the last 3 years to integrate mobile technology solutions to their office systems and has already seen improvements.

“Alamein’s MNTS system has saved hours in administration, as paper work has been minimised as we no longer have paper forms for journey schedules, entering pick-up and drop-off times, fares paid and due. This information is now entered into the hand held PDAs, and journeys eligible for the existing BSOG automatically fed into the accounting system.”

Fred added; “The BSOG payment is currently based on qualifying journeys, but in the next two years this will also be measured on the efficiency of the vehicles; each Community Transport organisation will need to demonstrate an increase in litres/kilometre of 6% in order to claim an extra 3% of BSOG rebate. We will be working with Alamein to help us to measure our vehicles fuel consumption, monitor our drivers’ behaviour and even improve their driving style, to not only meet these new BSOG requirements, but also extend the lifetime of our buses.”

Thames Valley Operators are confident that Alamein will help them achieve and demonstrate the improved efficiencies required to secure the increased BSOG in 2010.