Michael de Ruiter is Chief Performance Officer of Transdev in the Netherlands. He is co-responsible for no less than 500,000 trips per day. In the Netherlands, Transdev does this with strong brands such as Connexxion, Hermes and Witte Kruis.
Safety is our number one priority in everything
As a mobility company we have a special responsibility to all our passengers, patients and our own teams. We have a lot to show for that. The best equipment, the best staff, the best training and facilitation tools, figured out schedules, our own instructors and our own teaching buses.
We have our own academy in which we constantly teach our people the latest tricks of the trade. And that’s certainly not optional: for example, we monitor all incidents and go back to the source. Drivers who cause too much damage are assigned a mentor who actively drives with them. You can see that we can keep the number of incidents very manageable because we act highly reactive’.
State of the art technology and training
Our newest buses are equipped with camera mirrors. This increases safety for the driver and fellow road users. The driver can estimate the length of the bus considerably better; visibility is better in the dark and in bad weather, and it is also practical: the mirrors no longer protrude from the bus. Those mirrors would sometimes break and then the bus could no longer continue.
But we are also investing heavily in, for example, a ‘driver guide program’. We use driving simulators to train our drivers in optimal braking or acceleration maneuvers. The not unimportant benefit is better comfort for our passengers. But also, lower fuel costs and less damage.
Strict selection from the start
You don’t just become a driver with us. It’s a tough selection process. The fact that we have such long service records is an indicator of our attractiveness as an employer.
Importance of good planning
Driver stress can be prevented by realistic planning. Schedules and driving times that have been worked out in such a way that they actually match reality. Because it doesn’t help us if a driver is stressed behind the wheel. One thing we know for sure is that it’s not good for road safety!
If we were to have this discussion again in three years’ time, I’m sure we would have taken a huge step forward in terms of technology. With more safety features like cameras or sensors. But also, quieter buses and autonomous driving, as we are now doing on the closed roads at Rivium in Capelle aan de IJssel. I am sure that these kinds of applications will benefit road safety. Because these systems – especially when it comes to proven technology – are much more alert than we humans can be.