Guest Post: Dial 192 for Shuttle Bus Success

Andrew Cassy is the travel plan manager, and sustainability champion for BT’s largest site at Adastral Park, near Ipswich in the east of England. Adastral Park is headquarters for BT Innovate and Design working alongside other IT companies. A few weeks ago we were talking about BT’s various CSR initiatives and Andrew told me about his successful introduction of a commercially viable courtesy railway shuttle bus service ‘192’ to cover the 8 miles between the railway station and site, serving both the business traveler and public commuter needs.  I was struck by the component of employee engagement and also social entrepreneurship in Andrew’s initiative and asked him if he would contribute a guest post.

The innovation park, which is located on the edge of town, had limited public transportation options for either employees, or the many business travelers who visit the site daily.  Instead, each morning thousands of cars with a single employee would drive to the site, and each visitor would have to use a taxi service, costing £15 each way just to get to their meeting.   As an employee I was frustrated by this situation, so I suggested a fairly radical solution that would meet not only BT’s commitment to sustainability, but also reduce the costs placed on our visitors.

My plan, proposed under BT’s voluntary ‘GrassRoutes’ travel program  was to start a direct bus route that would service the site from the train station, and another BT office in Ipswich, to Adastral Park picking up not only BT’s visitors, but providing service to employees who live along the route.

The bus companies, while interested in the proposal, were looking to BT underwrite the scheme. From day one we exceeded the financial break-even threshold needed to reduce BT’s overall business travel costs. The fast and direct service was also appealing to employees living in Ipswich along the route whom we also encouraged to fill the empty seats.  And they filled them so quickly that the bus company soon provided us with a dedicated double decker bus, complete with free wifi, tables and electrical outlets.

So, what has been achieved over the three years since the service was introduced? The passenger numbers are sufficient that the bus company has  taken back the bus route as a financially viable service in its own right. Business travelers can continue to use the shuttle for free, at a cost to BT of just £1 per journey, a 93% reduction over the £15 taxi ride. I estimate that more than more than 63,000taxi fares have been avoided, taking around 1,000 business mile journeys a day off the local roads and associated emissions too, giving carbon reductions of 312T/Co2.

Our success has also encouraged Huawei, another large company based at Adastral Park, to follow our model and replace their private coach for their staff to become a new route ‘192H’enhancing our service further whilst reducing Huawei’s travel costs too.

I am really proud to have created a new bus route for the site which has achieved its ultimate objective and become a commercially viable and popular service for both business and commuter travel. This is a real world demonstration of the triple bottom line benefits of sustainable travel.

Now that you’ve read my story, I want you to ask yourself what you can do to inspire sustainable change at your company?



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