Awards scheme turns scepticism into competition

Mobile technology within public transport is usually accepted and frequently applauded by passengers, as it increases their sense of safety. However, this is not necessarily a feeling that is replicated amongst the drivers when new technology designed to monitor driving styles to improve efficiency is fitted – often these can be met with suspicion.

This was the case when Preston Bus (part of the Rotala Group) selected EcoManager for their bus fleet. This web-based system aims to change drivers’ behaviour by monitoring their driving and giving immediate feedback via a dashboard display.  Drivers initially felt they had another spy in the cab; and the challenge became to turn negative assumptions into positive solutions.

Preston Bus introduced "EcoWinners" – a scheme based on quarterly driver performance reviews, recognising those drivers with the highest average scores. Fiona Whalley, Marketing Manager of Preston Bus, explains: “Our goal was to introduce an awards scheme, both to increase driver engagement and to encourage a sense of pride and achievement in good driving”.

Every three months there is a presentation, acknowledging the drivers' achievements. In addition there are awards presented for "Top Movers", showing that not only experienced drivers can make progress but also starters.

Since the introduction of the scheme, nearly two years ago, the drivers’ attitude to the new mobile device has completely changed. There is now even a sense of friendly competition between the drivers, with many tracking their own performance online.

21st Century Technology is proud to have delivered EcoManager to Preston Bus and has assisted setting up the "EcoCoaches" training program to aid constant improvement from their drivers.

An understanding of human behaviour, and adoption of new technologies, is crucial to the success of new mobile technology in public transport. However, smart integration of technology requires more than installing hardware, it needs solutions.