GreenRoad helps Howick & Eastern work with drivers to make every trip safer and more comfortable.
GreenRoad is essential for helping us identify and correct worrisome driving habits.
Troy O’Dea, Operations Manager
Howick & Eastern was founded as Eastern Buses in 1939 in Eastern Beach, New Zealand. With the takeover of Howick Buses in 1962, the company grew to 21 buses and took on its current name. Today, with over 175 buses, Howick & Eastern provides public transport as well as charter and school bus services in Auckland, New Zealand. It is a subsidiary of Souter Holdings.
As part of its safety initiatives, Howick & Eastern was seeking a constructive approach to working with drivers to improve road safety, reduce speeding, and enhance customer comfort. They aimed to accomplish these goals by granting greater accountability to bus and coach drivers, rather than enforcing driving behaviors through top-down management oversight.
They had tried a system initially that was incident activated. “A camera would give you information around the time of an incident, it was ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff.”
Howick & Eastern wanted a solution that would help make every trip safer and more comfortable for both passengers and drivers. “Driver, passenger and road user safety, and passenger comfort were the key benefits we were looking for,” said Sheryll Otway, General Manager.“We wanted a system that was working in advance for us. We wanted more than a system that was feeding information that was basically too late to do anything constructive about.”
After a wide search, Howick & Eastern chose GreenRoad based on its “democratic” approach, which encourages driver ownership of their own on-road behavior. In particular, the combination of in-vehicle feedback, safety reporting, and monitoring for both drivers and managers serves as a powerful force for changing behavior to achieve results. They valued GreenRoad for its ability to clearly identify each driver’s on-road patterns, and to help the driver correct his driving behavior to prevent incidents before they happen.
“GreenRoad is active 24/7, gathering information and data on the drivers’ styles, their safety, what the vehicles are doing, and where there are areas the drivers can improve. We are able to look for patterns and to pick up issues such as a driver going too fast into or out of corners,” added Troy O’Dea.
When we first put the system in place, we looked at the safety score and realised that we were not as safe as we thought we were. We spent 12 months focusing just on safety and ensuring that our drivers reached targets. Then we started looking at the economic savings.
And how has the driver buy-in been? According to Troy there were initially three groups of drivers. “Some drivers will resist, some are 50/50 and there is a group of drivers who follow the system without fail. Now, our drivers have predominantly bought into the system. They love it. It’s almost annoying: every day they want to check on their GreenRoad stats.”
Howick & Eastern has seen a 20% reduction in accidents, an 81% drop in speeding infringements, significantly reduced wear and tear on tyres and brake pads, and a 4% savings on fuel.
In addition, the company achieved 100% driver buy-in within months. “Competition is fierce: I have about 40 drivers in the GreenRoad 1–6 area, meaning that they are some of the safest drivers in the world – but they are fighting to be top dog.”
Troy stresses they have worked hard to get that buy in. “As a manager, you can’t just push a button and expect to correct your drivers just like that. If you are going to use any telematics system, from a manager’s point of view you have to buy into the fact that there is a lot of work from your end.”