Date Published: 03/11/2020 Reading time: 2 min read Author: adam transport team
The first UK wide Lockdown commenced in March with everything from gyms, pubs, non-essential shops to schools closing. This left many parents having to home school their children and therefore eliminated the school run for most children except for those whose parents are essential workers.
On 31st October, the government announced the second UK wide lockdown, with authorities publishing guidance that means all non-essential venues and retail will close. However, the major difference in the second lockdown, is that schools and universities will remain open. This lockdown is currently due to end on the 2nd December.
The full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
This presents a major challenge for those local authorities that provide home to school transport. With many council offices closed, local authorities will still have to provide home to school transport while working from home. Even with new collaboration tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, managing the many processes to commission and deliver home to school transport can be difficult.
In light of the current situation they may need to re-examine their systems and make sure that their processes from onboarding, tendering, contracting, and payment are aligned and robust enough to cope with the pressures of remote working. Many local authorities are already undergoing a process of digital transformation and the current situation provides a catalyst to help move things forward. They now need to look at better ways of working, streamline processes and allowing local authority employees to work smarter.
Rising costs from having to provide safe Covid bubbles means less children per vehicle, resulting in higher fees. Transport providers have no choice but to pass the price increases on to councils sometimes with little or no notice.
One opportunity that is arising from the current lockdown situation is the abundance of transport not currently in service, transport companies who have buses and taxis normally used for other services which are no longer being used. These could be recommissioned for home to school transport. This creates a surplus supply in the market and pushes back down prices.
How can Local authorities capitalise on this apparent glut of capacity? Firstly, increasing the number of suppliers in the supply chain which will give local authorities a better chance of finding those transport providers that are willing to offer cost effective transport. Tendering jobs to an increased number of small and medium companies can also help stimulate the local economy and support local business during these tough economic times. One way to achieve this is through diligent supplier onboarding, researching the local transport market and finding quality accredited suppliers.
If you would like to find additional ways your local authority can improve service levels for stake holders, give back time to employees and reduce costs click here for a free consultation and report.