On meeting Graham Smith, Transdev Melbourne’s Head of Operations it quickly becomes apparent that building relationships and an inherent sense of curiosity drives him.
A former history graduate with a knack for problem solving, Graham built a successful career in the UK with bus operator Arriva before moving to Australia and joining Transdev Melbourne in 2019.
When Graham arrived at Transdev early running (which measures the percentage of services that are leaving stops earlier than the published timetable) was at 3%. Through the use of data and an engagement-based approach Graham and the operations team have managed to almost half this figure.
“We developed driver scorecards which provide our driver management team with data about individual drivers, and this has helped our Driver Managers have conversations with drivers about where they are performing well and what areas they may need to focus on,” says Graham.
The driver scorecard is used as a tool which records locations, times and dates of various performance measures for each individual driver. It is then used by the driver management team to inform drivers when an issue has occurred and to identify potential issues on the network. The data gained from the scorecard has also enabled Transdev to work with the Department of Transport to change timing points for some services to ensure they operate more efficiently.
Graham and his team also use the scorecard to recognise top performing drivers and acknowledge individual drivers for their contributions towards meeting some of the toughest punctuality and reliability targets in the bus industry.
“We would not be able to achieve the amazing results we have without our drivers. I believe saying thank you is really important. It’s a simple thing we can do to make our people feel valued and to recognise a job well done.”
Graham’s approach to building positive relationships also extends to key stakeholders including local councils, VicRoads and contractors.
These relationships have been more important than ever recently, with large scale infrastructure projects across Melbourne leading to unprecedented disruption to the bus network.
“By clearly communicating the impact of the disruptions to our customers’ journeys, we have been able to work collaboratively with contractors and ensure our customers are supported, by engaging customer service staff on the ground during disruptions and creating temporary bus lanes to reduce the impact to our services during construction projects.”
Curiosity is also driving a number of new initiatives for Graham and his team, who are currently looking for further opportunities to optimise schedules to deliver better outcomes and exploring ways to recognise and reward top performing drivers.
“We are always looking at new ways of working and how we can improve what we are doing. The goal is to identify ways we can free up time to focus on what is important - spending more time with our drivers who do an incredible job behind the wheel each day to keep our city moving.”