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PCV Driving Insight – How to Manage Delays & Minimise Disruption

If you’re a passenger transport operator or a driver, operational delays represent an inevitable everyday challenge. Whether caused by bad weather, breakdowns or unforeseen circumstances, these delays can majorly affect the experience that passengers get and put your customer satisfaction rating through the floor.

While delays are hard to completely eradicate, they can be greatly reduced when you put the right strategies into place. In this article, we look at the ways you can communicate effectively and manage events well to minimise damage caused by delays.

Managing Delays Strategically

The first part of managing delays, when they occur, is anticipating the fact they will still happen, no matter how diligent you are. That said, you can do your best to spot potential disruptions before they happen, which involves constantly monitoring factors that might affect the service that you provide to your passengers.

As such, you need to keep a close eye on:

  • Weather forecasts
  • Traffic updates
  • System forecasts 

When you’re armed with this insight, both transport managers and PCV drivers can adapt how they do things in advance. By adjusting routes and altering schedules, it’s possible to maintain service levels in spite of events.

Investing in Technology

While there’s an up-front investment required to adopt leading technologies, leveraging their benefits can offer real long-term advantages. In terms of predicting and managing delays, these technologies can be game-changing, tracking events in real-time and employing predictive analytics to circumvent problems and improve operational awareness.

When combined with mobile communication technologies, this software allows for the swift identification of issues and gives you the power to implement contingency plans rapidly.

Other Contingency Planning Measures

Having a well-defined set of contingency plans in place for each potential scenario better prepares you for whatever the future holds. As a transport operator, it allows you to react quickly when delays happen, and the following measures should be considered.

  • Staff Training and Support – drivers and other transport company employees need to be given the training and resources to properly manage delays. This involves not only operational training but also instruction on how to recover from disruptions while keeping passengers happy.
    This training can be provided in person or via online learning platforms that allow employees to engage at a time that suits them and that doesn’t disrupt their work. 
  • Transparency & Timeliness – if and when delays occur, it’s vital that you keep the information you give to your customers flowing. Passengers understand that things happen, and they tend to appreciate being kept in the loop. As such, providing updates with regard to the nature of the delay and its expected duration can really help keep people calm.
    Again, this kind of company ethos can be instilled in employees by using training, and it should cover clear, empathetic messaging techniques.
  • Multi-Channel Communication – passenger transport companies need to have front-line staff that are able to communicate clearly and concisely via all of the available channels. Whether talking about the vehicle’s PA system, digital information boards or social media platforms, employees should be able to provide updates as necessary.
    In addition to regular training, you could recognise and reward employees when a member of staff exercises effective communication practices. It’s a surefire way to spread these best practices company-wide.

Delays Are Unavoidable, But They Are Controllable

While delays are often beyond the control of transportation providers, their impact on passengers and operations can be significantly mitigated through effective management and clear communication strategies.

You can also do much to anticipate and manage disruptions by leveraging technology and having coherent contingency plans. Delays are an unavoidable paradigm of running a passenger transport company – that’s a given – but they are certainly controllable.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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