September 13, 2021

Minimize the Impact of Operator Shortages with Swiftly

Jonny Simkin
September 13, 2021

Minimize the Impact of Operator Shortages with Swiftly

Jonny Simkin
Jonny Simkin

As transit agencies seek to bring riders back post pandemic, service reliability is top of mind. However, agencies across the country are suffering from operator shortages which threaten service reliability.  Agencies do not have enough operators to drive all the trips on their schedules, and it’s wreaking havoc on reliability.  Many agencies are not only struggling to adjust service on the fly, but also to keep passengers informed of changes and cancellations. 

To help solve this issue, Swiftly has developed a suite of tools to enable agency staff to rapidly make and communicate adjustments to service, ensuring that riders are always informed as changes are made. Additionally, Swiftly’s lightweight operator tools help train and manage new operators to ensure that temporary or new staff can deliver  reliable, efficient, and safe service.

How Swiftly helps with operator shortages

Swiftly helps you manage operator shortages in four important ways. 

1. Provide accurate real-time information to riders.

Swiftly Rider Alerts is a simple way for agencies to create and send service alerts to common trip planners like Transit, Google Maps, Twitter, and more. If an operator doesn’t show up to work, you can take action in under a minute to let riders know that service is canceled.  

2. Adjust schedules on the fly.

Swiftly Service Adjustments goes a step beyond public alerts by adjusting schedules in real-time. As riders use trip planners, they’ll see updated ETAs and trip cancelations based on the actual service being delivered. Operations staff can make ad hoc service changes in under a minute — like canceling service if an operator doesn't show up last minute — right in the Swiftly Dashboard and the information will seamlessly be released to passengers via apps and dynamic bus signage so riders aren't left in the dark.

3. Rapidly onboard and train new operators.

Swiftly Onboard App is a simple tool that helps operators navigate new routes with an intuitive map interface. Onboard App also gives operators simple and immediate feedback about on-time performance and headway spacing to ensure that they operate on schedule. It’s designed to boost morale, simplify training, and to help operators do their jobs with fewer distractions. Onboard App also requires no custom hardware and can be used on any tablet.

4. Leverage big data to boost service reliability.

Swiftly Operator Reports helps operations teams better manage and coach operators to improve overall performance and reliability. In addition, Swiftly Run-Times leverages big data to optimize your schedules based on real-world traffic patterns and conditions, resulting in as much as a 5% increase in on-time performance. 

Over 100 agencies already use Swiftly to manage operator shortages

“Swiftly has been a huge help for us as we make changes to service. It's easy for us to go into Swiftly and take care of changes. Prior to Service Adjustments, we would have had no way of canceling those trips and letting our riders know. Service Adjustments is a way to make sure that anyone relying on your feed has an understanding of what’s actually going to happen when they ride public transit.” —Damon Blythe, Chief Operations Officer, NCTD
“We want to convey information to passengers as quickly as possible. Swiftly’s Service Adjustments has been really nice in facilitating that communication with our passengers, and it works with Swiftly Rider Alerts seamlessly. It’s saved us a lot of time.” —Tara Styer, Operations Manager, TTD
“Rider Alerts is a really, really powerful tool to have at the dispatcher’s disposal... You can take every action you’d need to take in under a minute, and all on the Swiftly platform, which everyone here already uses." —Cole McCarren, Planning and Special Projects Manager, RTA Maryland
“A quarter of all of our complaints during COVID-19 has been that operators are leaving early. Leaving early is something we can’t abide. There’s less traffic and fewer passengers because of the pandemic. Operators had been racing to the end of the trip, but that’s been significantly reduced with Onboard App.” —Wayne Jeff, CEO, CDC

Successfully navigate operator shortages with Swiftly

Operator staffing issues aren’t going away any time soon, and agencies must find a way to provide the best service they can with the operators they have available. By reacting quickly and strategically when they find themselves short staffed, they can rebuild trust with riders and improve overall service reliability and efficiency. And with Swiftly, they can also rapidly train and manage new operators, and ensure that they can retain operators that they do have by keeping them happy and thriving in their roles. 

Want to see how Swiftly can help your agency minimize the impact of operator shortages? You can deploy Swiftly within a matter of weeks to start seeing results fast. Request a demo to see how we can help you manage operator shortages to keep riders happy. 

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