We are on the platform of RM1152 just a few days earlier despatched from BusWorks at Blackpool after an expert restoration. It formed the centrepiece of the Omnibus Systems stand and was, yes, the most fuel efficient, lightest and cheapest bus at the show.
So what about Omnibus Systems? Well, yes, years ago schedulers toiled away at a specially-designed desk and with special graph paper, to manually prepare bus schedules. I was especially lucky during the 1980s to enlist Paul Dipper from Southend Transport whose extraordinary scheduling skills were the key to our successful tender bids in London. Across at CentreWest, Michael Steward was doing similarly. Their eye for opportunity, efficiency, and fair play gave us schedules which were economic to operate and reasonably able to be delivered.
They may be amongst the last of their generation - during the 1990s we were persuaded that computer software could deliver us the most efficient schedules and optimise them taking into account our labour agreements and desire for economies. Not only could we create one compliant schedule, we could deliver several and review their resilience. Our top team spent less time creating and more time reviewing. Across the whole of the UK we gained the capacity to review numerous schedules and benchmark them.
The team at Omnibus Systems delivered us a friendly but streamlined package. It was rolled out across UK Bus after a brief review of its value. Moir Lockhead only had one complaint - if it was so good why had we taken so long?
There are several systems available - we like the Omnibus Systems product because it is cost-effective and because the people there understand our issues and work to accommodate them.
As I said at the opening of their stand, for the last 20 years they have made it possible for passengers to have lower fares because they have helped us deliver the service more efficiently.
And it gave us an edge. When you are in business, it's good to deal with decent, honest and friendly people!
(Go take a look at http://www.omnibus-systems.co.uk/index.html)
Photo - thanks to Mel Holley at RouteONE