FUEL EFFICIENCY MEANS SAFETY
WE LOOK AT A FEW DIFFERENT PATHS TO FUEL SAVING AND EFFICIENCY. AS A NUMBER OF OPERATORS ARE FINDING, WHAT STARTED AS AN EXERCISE IN FUEL EFFICIENCIES IS HAVING A NUMBER OF OTHER POSITIVE OUTCOMES.
A NUMBER OF OPERATORS ARE TURNING TO GPS-BASED TELEMATICS SYSTEMS TO TRY AND KEEP THEIR FUEL COSTS DOWN AND – MORE IMPORTANTLY – IMPROVE THE SAFETY OF DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS
When Bernard Pavlovich of Pavlovich Coachlines first started looking at a GPS system that monitored his drivers, he initially thought it was all about fuel saving and nding speeding drivers, but he soon discovered it was more than that. “ere was subtle shi to the realisation that it was not about that, it was about customers sitting on buses. At that point the whole thing changed."
“Over the years I had looked a number of times at GPS systems for buses but I could not see the value. I could only see where the bus was on the map and I could see pages and pages of reports. I had enough paperwork to deal with already.”
Early last year Pavlovich became much more aware that everyone was moving more in the telematics space. In the middle of last year they sent out for expressions of interest. They got about five responses, but discovered there were probably about 25 people selling telematics systems. Many of them though were truck oriented.
“What we thought we had embarked on, a solution to improve fuel effciency and reduce our costs, we soon realized was actually about finding a customer-centric solution.
“We thought it was wholly a cost-saving exercise, but we realized this was a huge opportunity to provide a tool for our drivers to make a much better customer experience. We knew we could achieve that if we had drivers who were suddenly driving better, giving our customers a more comfortable ride and feeling safe, then all those cost saving effects were going to come anyway, so we had a major change of mindset.
“We had plenty of suppliers talking about fuel consumption and reduction of costs, and better effciency. One supplier said: ‘We can get your business performing safer, we can get your customers a more comfortable ride and feeling safe, then all those cost saving effects were going to come anyway, so we had a major change of mindset.
“We had plenty of suppliers talking about fuel consumption and reduction of costs, and better eciency. One supplier said: ‘We can get your business performing safer, we can get your customers having a more comfortable trip, and by the way you’ll save on fuel along the way’. We went hallelujah. We went down the GreenRoad
Driver buy in is very important and Pavlovich, aware of this, are implementing very slowly, benchmarking across the whole fleet.
The information they get is a driver score every day from his or her shift. It’s a safety score. The driver is measured on speed, control of the motor vehicle, ability to stay in his lane, and measuring any harsh braking, all those things go into an algorithm and produce a score that says you are either 99 out of a hundred, which means you are a terrible driver, or you are one out of a hundred which means you are a fantastic driver.
Realistically, says Bernard, when they started they were seeing high scores, but they are confident they will come down dramatically.
Howick and Eastern have been using a telematics system for 12 months now and chief operations officer Troy Odea says he would not now be without it.
“We wanted a system that was working in advance for us. We wanted more than a system that was feeding information that was basically too late to do anything constructive about.”
They had tried a system initially that was incident activated. “A camera would give you information around the time of an incident, it was ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff.”
Eventually they went with the GreenRoad system. “GreenRoad is active 24/7 getting information and data back on drivers’ style, their safety, what the vehicle is doing, where there are areas the drivers can improve. We are able to look at a pattern, it will pick up things like maybe a driver is going too fast into corner, we can move that driver back into training and correct the driving style.”
Different operators are finding that different systems suit their needs best.
Ritchies Buses have been trialling another telematics system, EROAD and according to Ritchies chief executive Andrew Ritchie they are very pleased with the results and are seeing a great improvement in driving skills and efficiencies.
“We went to E-road because they are a New Zealand firm with local knowledge with local programmers and are very responsive.”
Whatever the system, all operators Circular spoke to were positive about the telematics eect on their drivers, customers and overall operation.
According to Troy ODea when they went into telematics they were “horrified”. They had thought their drivers were pretty safe – the telematics system showed up areas they weren’t seeing that they needed drivers to pick up.
Souter Holdings Group installed telematics through its entire fleet at H & E, Mana, Manabus.com and Waiheke buses.
“We have seen an 81% drop in speeding infringements from the police. It’s huge. That was one of the scary things for us. It has been dramatic the change around, we get a speed report every day and we are able to go to the driver and say ‘did you realise?’. Also it helps when a driver goes on to a new or unaccustomed route, there will be transgressions and we can pick them up.
“It’s proactive; we can deal with an issue before it becomes major.” It has also had a flow on effect for customer satisfaction. “We used to have complaints about the comfort of the ride and we had no real way of checking in. Now with GreenRoad, we get the opposite, we get compliments.”
Economically there are fuels saving to be had; tyre wear is reduced. “We are not going through so many brake linings because the drivers are now braking consistently, using the engine brakes more efficiently and not relying on the air brakes. Lower speed and a more efficient driving style means they don’t need to use the brakes so much. We are seeing about a 3.1% saving in fuel.”
According to Troy the telematic system says the fuel savings can be up to 10%. He says initially they had not focused on that as such. “When we first put the system in place we looked at the safety score and realised that we were not as safe as we thought we were. We have spent the last 12 months focusing on safety and ensuring drivers are reaching targets, then from safety we have just started looking at the economic savings.
“We are not dealing with accidents, damage to other vehicles, it’s greatly reduced our spending in those areas.
And how has the driver buy-in been? According to Troy there are three groups of drivers. Some drivers will resist, some are 50/50 and there is a group of drivers who follow the system without fail.
“We found these three groups; we spend a lot of time getting the drivers’ buy in, a telematic system is not going to work without the drivers’ buy in, they need to understand it is as much for them as it is for the company, and probably more.
“Our drivers have predominantly bought into the system. They love it. It’s almost annoying: every day they want to check on their GreenRoad stats.”
At H & E it has got to the point the competition is fierce between drivers to see who is the top dog. “I have drivers that are upset because they are not the top dog and yet they are driving on a one. The competition to be a better driver is fierce! I have about 40 drivers in the GreenRoad 1–6 area, fighting to be top dog.
Troy stresses they have worked hard to get that buy in. “As a manager if you were to install this system you can’t just push a button and expect to correct your drivers just like that. If you are going to use any telematics system, from a manager’s point of view you have to buy into the fact that there is a lot of work from your end to get your drivers to accept it and use it.”
ANDY COZENS, GREENROAD GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF SALES EXPLAINS THE TELEMATICS SYSTEM
Specific driving behaviours and manoeuvres cost your company dearly in fuel consumption, collisions, insurance premiums, wear and tear on vehicles, and importantly, reputation. Idling and personal use of company vehicles and fuel can also take a sizeable bite out of your bottom line.
Most importantly, with up to 90% of accidents caused by drivers, improving driving behaviour can save the lives and limbs of your drivers, passengers and others with whom they share the road. Safe driving is socially and environmentally responsible as well as fuel efficient. By reducing risky behaviours such as sharp breaking, rapid acceleration and high speed driving, your company can establish real environmental bona fides by decreasing emissions by up to 33%, lengthening vehicle lives, and reducing fuel use.
To be successful, changing driver behaviour must be a structured process that has buy-in from your drivers and is based on reliable data and insights that both they and their managers can act on. GreenRoad Driver Behaviour System was purpose-built to facilitate deep, lasting change, incorporating real-time in-vehicle feedback, advanced fleet analytics and reporting. Effective educational tools help drivers internalise safer, more efficient driving behaviours.
A non-intrusive, 2-inch LED dashboard display alerts drivers in real-time if they are driving safely (green light), taking a slight risk (amber) or performing a dangerous maneuver (red). The online GreenRoad Central portal offers each driver full transparency into data collected about his on-road behaviour. A single clear Safety Score summarises overall performance for fast benchmarking. Easy-to-use dashboards and in-depth reports help him identify problematic areas that he needs
to work on and provide tangible evidence that reinforces improvement. Fleet and operation managers must balance a huge number of factors to make sure that passengers are safely transported to their destinations comfortably, on time, and on budget. Customisable GreenRoad alerts for safety issues, excessive idling and out-of-range vehicles enable management by exception, without adding additional report-checking to managers’ to-do lists.
Significantly lowering fuel costs for your fleet is simpler than you think, and does not require costly capital investment. In fact, the key is sitting right in the driver seat of your busses and coaches! Empowering your drivers to develop safe, environmentally sound and cost-saving driving behaviours is a win-win proposition that benefits your company, its drivers, passengers and the community at large.