Prospective   First Bus 5

First Bus partners with to deploy automated fleet scheduling across UK operations

  • First Bus and have been working in partnership since 2019 to develop and test cutting edge automated timetabling and fleet scheduling software.
  • Prospective’s AI platform has led to improvements in service punctuality and reliability in West Yorkshire during a pilot aimed at improving local service delivery.
  • The Prospective system is now being rolled out across some of First Bus’ largest UK operating companies (OpCos).
  • The new system will support dozens of network planners, schedulers and operations teams managing 4,000 vehicles across the UK.

First Bus and have signed a significant partnership agreement to deploy Prospective’s cutting edge AI platform, rolling out automated, data driven timetabling and scheduling software across its largest UK operating companies (OpCos).

The deployment in Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, the West of England, Essex and West Yorkshire will improve service punctuality for over half-a-million daily passengers and will enable local scheduling teams to make subtle changes to schedules throughout the year to maintain service quality.

Use of Prospective’s automated scheduling system (FlowOS) has led to improvements in service punctuality and reliability in First Bus’ West Yorkshire operations as well as saving fleet resources and staff time that can be invested back into improving local service delivery.

By using the Prospective platform, First Bus Schedulers are now able to create or adjust full timetables and vehicle schedules for individual services in minutes, a process that can typically take days. This empowers local teams to make more frequent, subtler changes to service that ensure that timetables will remain accurate throughout the year.

Thanks to Prospective, First Bus now has the capability to leverage three years’ worth of real-time operational fleet data on passenger and vehicle flows and can identify:

  • How bus travel times fluctuate by hour of the day, day of the week and by season and how to accommodate this variability as efficiently as possible.
  • How passengers flow through its services and what this means for boarding times and vehicle occupancy at different times of the day.
  • When and where to add or remove time in timetables to ensure enough time for services to remain punctual without slowing overall journey times. 

First Bus Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Pearson, said:

“We are excited to roll out the Prospective’s  network planning and scheduling software to a number of our major operating companies, helping us to deliver smoother, more punctual services to our passengers across the country.

“By combining automated timetabling and vehicle scheduling from Prospective, along with our recent investment in Optibus driver rostering software, it means that our scheduling team can now deliver speed, accuracy and flexibility across the full spectrum of network planning decision making.

“This deployment will further improve the customer experience and unlock more time for our local teams to explore service design improvements using the best available data. We look forward to working in partnership with the team at Prospective, to explore new opportunities for improving our bus services in the future.”

Prospective CEO, Pete Ferguson, said:

“We are delighted to be rolling out FlowOS with FirstBus, helping the company deliver more reliable and convenient public transport services up and down the country and to help grow public transport ridership in the UK.

"First Bus have been central to our development of custom AI software for the UK public transport market and have supported us throughout the development, testing and refinement of a number of our products.

"We are grateful for their support, creativity and commitment to improving public transport across the UK and we are proud of our strengthening partnership with the company”


Notes to editors

First Bus

First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators. Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks.

We work proactively with our local authority partners, making a positive impact on air quality, tackling congestion and improving customer experience. We are focused on First Bus becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and are committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035; we have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland. First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.

For more information on First Bus: First Bus UK News