Case Study

How First Bus uses technology to improve efficiency and services


Artificial intelligence. Augmented reality. Cloud computing. Technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. Almost every day, we hear how these new technologies are being applied to drive innovation: Software that generates beautiful pictures from simple text descriptions. Apps that write catchy songs or entire articles. Cars that drive autonomously. 

These advanced and powerful technologies have benefitted many industries. But they have not been made accessible and applicable to the public transportation industry at the same pace – a challenge that Optibus is working to resolve.

Optibus spoke to George Burton, Network Performance Manager at First Bus UK, about his job and the role technology plays in helping his team work smart and plan efficient services. 

Improving driver duties, services, and operational efficiency

“The Optibus algorithm has opened up far more possibilities for [driver] duties than we were used to before,” said George. “Previously we would optimize things team by team whereas Optibus has allowed us to consider all these things simultaneously and get the best result for each team rather than the best result for one team. Which, in effect, has allowed us to deliver more efficient duties, and duties that are better for the driver with marginal impact on costs.”

The ability to experiment with different driver terms and conditions using the software has also enabled George and his team to make data-driven decisions that improve the operation’s efficiency and the passenger experience.

“What I like about Optibus is that they’re more than just a service provider, they’re a partner in our vision and strategy to improve services for customers,” said George.

First Bus recently completed the roll out of Optibus’ software across all of their UK operating companies. The move means that First Bus schedulers and planners, like George, now have access to advanced technologies that can support scheduling for First Bus’ 4,000 vehicles, improve services for more than 1 million daily passengers, and make work processes smoother and faster for the workforce.