ETS saves $27 million in capital costs with HASTUS-MinBus
“The MinBus module enables HASTUS to look at the whole city as a single unit, increasing the blocking efficiency, in Edmonton’s case, by 7%.”
Ray LaBrie, Scheduler, Edmonton Transit System
With the implementation of MinBus, Edmonton Transit System (ETS) was able to revise its resource allocation, helping to fulfil its commitment to improve peak service to suburban growth areas and alleviate critical overload situations on specific routes – without additional capital expenditure.
ETS delivers public transportation services in and around Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, in Canada. Its mission is to provide customer-focused, safe, reliable and affordable public transit services that link people, jobs and communities. With four garages spread throughout the city, in addition to a light rail system, the agency operates nearly 700 regular and articulated buses and services 200 regular routes and 200 special/school routes. ETS also provides connections to suburban transit services operated by the city of St. Albert and Strathcona County. ETS has been using GIRO’s HASTUS software since 1997.
ETS was using a vehicle-scheduling method based on historical data. Vehicle assignments at ETS were typically done separately by garage, based on historical allocations of routes to each garage. Since they did not view the city as a whole network, the interlining possibilities were limited.
ETS’ goal was to have an all-inclusive perspective that would allow it to optimize service hours and bus requirements. The resulting savings would be applied to meet future transit demands. The agency focused on reducing total vehicle hours and the number of vehicles required at peak time, while maintaining a defined level of service in terms of the number of in-service trips.
MinBus is a HASTUS module that complements the standard “Create Blocks” algorithm of HASTUS-Vehicle with advanced optimization for vehicle scheduling. MinBus is most useful in operating contexts with multiple-garage operations.
With MinBus, ETS is now able to efficiently control the use of garages and vehicle groups, balance trips and vehicles among its four garages, and minimize the required number of vehicles.
ETS has also reviewed its deadhead matrix over its entire network to ensure that it explores all vehicle-blocking opportunities. This process has now generated additional interlining possibilities for increased savings. By combining independent routes into one operational vehicle block, interlining eliminates extended periods where buses are parked and out of service, and reduces non-revenue time spent for pull-in/pull-out at garages.
- 2013: Test and evaluation of MinBus in the context of ETS’ operations
- 2014: Implementation of the MinBus module in ETS’ HASTUS software suite
- 2015: Use of MinBus to generate transit vehicle schedules; evaluation of the efficiency gains
With the help of MinBus, ETS saved the need for up to 49 buses, representing 7% of its entire fleet, for a total value of approximately $27 million. Savings resulted from the module’s automated vehicle-scheduling processes. By considering the whole network as a single unit, MinBus significantly increased blocking efficiency.
ETS has a better service-curve balance between its garages, which creates a more equitable work environment. Operator duties are more similar among garages and an increased number of straight duties is possible.
The efficiency gains resulting from the use of MinBus allowed the redeployment of capital assets to bring about service improvements without adding to the capital budget.