Of course we offer Runcutting services. However, we have a unique approach. We don't use software beyond Excel. Indeed, there are several software packages that are appropriate, even needed for larger Properties, or those with complex work rules. However, if you're under 100 buses, and don't have a complex Labor Agreement, can you meet all your goals with Excel? Perhaps so.
Our logic is discussed below. But, to respect your time, we have two options.
One is turnkey runcutting, which may be appropriate if I'm already familiar with your city and Property. Looking at my wall map, there's a good possibility I have been on your property sometime in the last few decades.
However, in the last few years, I've been discouraging that approach. Instead, my preference -- and recommendation, is to spend time with you, on your Property, working with your team. We do the runcut together. Why? In my experience, if you send me everything you have -- schedules, Labor Agreement, maps -- there will always be something missing. It's the thing "everyone knows" but isn't documented. Can't make relief there, too much gang activity (yes, that happened).
The advantage of the on-site runcut, with your staff, is that we do get the benefit of that institutional knowledge, a better product. Further, as options and opportunities arise, we can sit down with Senior Management, and the Union, and find the best way. That happened on a Saturday in upstate New York, where we found an opportunity, called the GM who came in wearing his hunting clothes, and the GM & Union made an agreement on the spot.
Most importantly, in my opinion, is that the Property staff gains the knowledge and insight that comes from my decades in the business. When I'm teaching, I often use the phrase "I've made mistakes you haven't even thought of yet."
The end result is that the Property gets a runcut that balances total costs -- we don't save Overtime by trying to hire non-existent drivers. We don't save Spread Time by making bad runs, that negatively affect morale (thus, absenteeism, customer service, safety, etc.)
The staff gets the training and experience, so the Property can be self-sufficient for the future. You don't need more outside help in a few months. We're all familiar with the "give a person a fish" versus "teach a person to fish" concept.
Let's address what Scheduling Software does. It runs through many calculations, quickly. It provides downstream needs, such as driver paddles and public timetable templates -- and maybe Operational and Dispatch data.
But, what it doesn't do, is "think" for you, examining the total cost. You program the software with the hard rules (Labor Agreement), and soft rules (your preferences), and it "runs the numbers." Thus, it's dependent on your programming the parameters to think like you do. It will give you the least-cost option, based on your parameters. However, we've all had experience with GPS systems, taking us in silly directions when, if we look at a map, we'd find a better way. I've had my GPS try to send me miles out of the way to save a few seconds -- when I refused to make the turn it wanted to a freeway on-ramp, and went straight, it agreed with me before I went under the highway. The difference was the setting (parameter), of shortest time, because there's no option for "smartest route."
An example pertaining to Scheduling Software is an approach that maximizes one preferred parameter (say, consecutive days off), but creates a mix of day types that will induce fatigue, increasing risk. Another is minimizing a cost you're focused on (let's say, Scheduled Overtime), but that then requires more drivers. That means more Fringe Benefit costs (OK, that's someone else's department), and the need to hire and train more operators (perhaps at $5,000 each). By the way, remember the national shortage of CDL drivers, and the news we keep seeing of service cuts due to lack of drivers.
Thus, our approach considers total costs to the property, looking for a "holistic" balance.