Summer routes sanity

It’s that time of year again where transport teams are busy working on summer routes and reallocations. Understandably, this time of year can be frantic and stressful for many councils and transport teams who are getting ready for the new school year and September 4th in particular.

Despite these pressures, two of our latest London Borough partners will be experiencing far less anxiety than what they may have done in previous years…

The London Borough of Merton

Just over 2 years ago, The London Borough of Merton were using a traditional framework to commission passenger transport services. Due to the nature of the framework, many providers (especially SMEs) were not able to work with the council to support rising demand and people’s needs. This resulted in the council’s costs increasing by 10%, worth £250,000 in the commissioning of Passenger Transport Services.

Fast forward to today, 8 months after transforming their approach to commissioning using dynamic supply specifically through Category Management Technology and Merton are now:

  • Evidencing value through meeting desired savings objectives on completed routes
  • Ensuring choice and competition by averaging more than 4 offers per requirement
  • Enabling process optimisation and fulfilment where the time it now takes for a requirement to be distributed to the service start date being just over one week
  • Evidencing quality on each requirement commissioned

Since transforming their approach to commissioning, they have also been recognised for helping smaller businesses provide transport services to the council. Merton won the best small business friendly procurement to support local trade award from the London Region of The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Summer routes is the next challenge facing Merton and in July they’re already:

  • Seeing 212 offers on 29 requirements
  • Averaging 6 offers per route
  • Have 29 listed providers, 17 of which are supplying and 13 have submitted bids so far

It’s a similar story for Lewisham Borough Council.

Before working with us the borough had 9 providers supplying transport services, their costs were increasing as demand was rising and they lacked the type of control over the market that they desperately needed to support the service user.

Today, Lewisham have increased provider capacity to 28 providers supplying transport services to the borough. Providers can join at any time meaning the borough is able to constantly refresh the market. The transport team commissioning routes have more time to focus on safeguarding and building relationships with providers because they’ve streamlined the invoicing process too. As a number of these invoices are now automated, it means they don’t have to manually check them against other systems giving back more officer time which is sorely needed.

Lewisham are also able to be flexible with variations in people’s needs when putting requirements together and making further changes, meaning they’re better equipped to deliver personalisation.

Overall, the borough is in a good place to manage summer routes with more oversight of what’s happening, when it’s happening, what’s gone out, and what’s come back. Meaning they’re more informed about what the market is doing and how it is reacting to the boroughs needs.

The result? In July alone Lewisham have seen:

  • 14 different providers placing bids
  • 752 offers on 109 requirements, which averages out to 5 offers per route
  • Have allocated these routes to 11 different providers so far

It’ll be the first-time Merton and Lewisham have used dynamic supply through Category Management technology to manage, plan and commission summer routes. Throughout this busy period, we’ll be sharing their progress and results.

You can find out more about Merton and their procurement award here. You’ll also find the overview of three interviews we conducted with Lewisham about how they have transformed their approach to transport commissioning, here.

For more information about Transport Commissioning, click here.