Here’ is about 8,000 kilometers away from our European branch, in British Columbia, Canada. As a seasoned Group Business Applications Coordinator & Scheduling Expert for Corporate IT he is very experienced in creating and optimizing schedules and (driver) duties, and a specialist in the software that goes with it.
Born in Volendam, the Netherlands, he has been a familiar face for many within the company. Not only in the Dutch and Canadian organizations, but also in many of the other countries where the Transdev Group is active. « I travel around 180 days a year, although that’s a little different now, » he says, referring to the measures relating to the coronavirus. Sitting outside in beautiful surroundings and with a time difference of nine hours, he talks about the many facets of his work via a video connection.
By now I have been with Transdev and all its legal predecessors for 31 years. I started as a bus driver in Waterland and later Alkmaar. Unfortunately, I fell ill in 1998, which meant I could no longer work behind the wheel. Around the same time, the new scheduling software Hastus was launched. I then became a scheduler and fully dedicated myself to mastering that program. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a Hastus specialist now.
This knowledge built up in the last decades has brought him where he is now.
There are several countries under the Transdev umbrella that use Hastus. There are also other, but similar, software packages that I am well versed in by now. In fact, the basis is the same: creating efficient schedules and duties for our drivers.My main task in the company is now to provide international assistance and coordination for the users of the various applications. We also make sure that we learn from each other. Exchanging knowledge and information is essential and certainly something we excel at in our company.
We can’t just carelessly copy the schedules and duties from one country to another. One of the reasons for this is the fact that collective agreements vary greatly from one city to another. The fact that drivers in the Netherlands have paid breaks is quite exceptional. In fact, I have experienced that drivers in Phoenix, United States, explicitly didn’t want breaks in their shifts. That way, they’ll be back home sooner.
I like to highlight these kinds of global differences. Everyone tends to stay in their own little world, while we can look for solutions together. I love this aspect of my work. Basically, I bring about ten, eleven countries together.
Bert is of the opinion that schedulers are not only of enormous importance to the drivers, but perhaps even more so to the company itself.
We really are a distinct professional group. I sometimes proclaim as a kind of gospel: schedulers control a lot of money. We can make a big difference. One duty more or less can just make a difference of tens of thousands of euros or dollars. Electric buses are a relatively new addition to the puzzle. The biggest challenge is the efficient scheduling of charging times. We now have a large electric fleet in the Netherlands and also in Sweden, for example, where we have gained a great deal of experience in this area. I am happy to share this experience with Transdev colleagues in other countries. And even though he visits so many places within our organization, it feels familiar to him every time:Transdev feels like home wherever I go. The people, the atmosphere… It really gives me a family feeling.