In November 2022, Dr. Richard Linien GmbH & Co. KG chose to integrate Optibus’ planning software into their work processes and operations. With this decision, Vienna became the 2,000 city worldwide whose public transportation network is planned and optimized with the help of Optibus.
Ulrike Schandl, Head of the Transport Market Department of the Dr. Richard Group and project coordinator for the integration of the Optibus platform, spoke with us about why Dr. Richard chose Optibus and their experience during the first steps of onboarding.
Dr. Richard: the largest owner-managed operator in the German-speaking region
Ulrike Schandl: The Dr. Richard Group is the largest private owner-operated bus company in the German-speaking region. We are a traditional Austrian company and a family-owned business that has been operating for more than 90 years, providing top-quality passenger transport services in areas including coach rentals, urban and regional lines, and long-distance bus transport.
In the coach rental segment, Dr. Richard hires out coaches and minivans equipped with drivers to individuals and businesses. In the long-distance bus segment, Dr. Richard transports passengers throughout Austria on licensed routes. We serve the growing demand for public transportation and make an important contribution to the transition from personal vehicle usage to shared mobility. The company also operates lines between Graz, Vienna, and the Vienna Airport for FlixBus, Germany’s largest long-distance bus provider.
Over the decades, Dr. Richard has repeatedly succeeded in acquiring transportation companies and growing its business within Austria and beyond. Well-known, market-leading brands including Austrobus, Watzke, Kowatsch, Kolda, Bajerbus, Marazeck, and Albus Salzkraft are now part of the Dr. Richard Group. The group is a shareholder in Vienna Sightseeing Tours and Vienna PASS, as well as the owner of Salzburg Sightseeing Tours.
Today, Dr. Ludwig Richard is the third generation to lead the Dr. Richard Group, which represents safety, reliability, stability, quality, and tradition. As a family business, a sense of humanity and personal contact with our customers and all employees is the priority at each of our operating locations.
Why Dr. Richard chose Optibus
Supporting the planning department and becoming more time efficient
Ulrike Schandl: We tested various planning softwares in the past, but the results and user-friendliness were not very satisfactory. Thus, planning manually using spreadsheets remained unbeaten.
Current market dynamics require more focus on qualitative aspects in tenders. This means that the task load for our planning department is constantly increasing. To allow our planners to focus more on these tasks while remaining competitive, we decided to integrate software as an additional tool in our planning processes.
We tested Optibus because we knew that the company is the market leader in planning software. When we were introduced to the product, we were convinced by the way the software’s algorithm works. In addition, the user interface is designed in a way that matches our expectations, being intuitive and easy to use.
Overall, the combination of Optibus’ planning and scheduling product, its cloud-native nature, the visualizations and user-friendliness, and, last but not least, the impressive results, convinced us to purchase the software.
The user experience
Optibus Planning and Scheduling
Ulrike Schandl: The vehicle scheduling product helps make rotas more efficient and reduces the number of deadheads, especially in regional transport. The Gantt chart visualizations make it possible to see at a glance which vehicle is in use when and on which lines.
The duty scheduling product is designed to help create balanced and productive duty schedules. By setting uniform preferences, they can ensure uniformity in the scheduling of different areas of operation and adjust them individually as needed. The manual mode is also advantageous here, allowing us to shift individual trips as required.
The onboarding process
Smooth and on-time
Ulrike Schandl: Onboarding is progressing on schedule. Communication between our team and Optibus works perfectly, with weekly meetings allowing for regular exchanges and meetings advancing the implementation of individual projects. I would also like to emphasize the motivation and commitment of our two supervisors, who effectively and reliably respond to and implement our requests.
Overall, the integrated inventory planning and optimisation processes function in accordance with applicable rules and preferences. We have already celebrated our first planning successes using a new approach through Optibus, as well as through the optimisation of an existing plan.
Saving time and reinvesting it in new areas of responsibility
Ulrike Schandl: We look forward to working with Optibus as they continue to provide great support and use innovation to address gaps in the market, resulting in a long-term and harmonious B2B relationship. Our expectations of the software are, above all, to enable efficient, sustainable planning and validate that results can be implemented in real life. That way, we can save time in timetable planning and in vehicle and duty scheduling, and invest this saved time in new areas of responsibility.