ViriCiti’s platform helps RET monitor a mix of electric, diesel, and hybrid buses plus depot and on-route chargers in one single platform.
RET (Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram), one of the largest local operators in the Netherlands, is now monitoring 198 buses and 45 chargers using ViriCiti’s telematics system. The public transport operator chose ViriCiti as the preferred monitoring solution for the reliability of its data, its data integration capabilities, and the real-time fleet overview that it offers.
Since its integration in January 2020, ViriCiti proved to be a trusted tool to help manage the challenges of fleet electrification, and advance RET’s progress on the road to zero-emission transport.
“There were still a lot of unknowns with managing electric buses. ViriCiti enables us to gather data for analysis to improve processes in the future. Real-time bus monitoring is another important featurefor us. It gives us great visibility, it’s like our eyes.”
– Eric Lensink, Program and Project Manager, RET
Ambitious electrification plan of RET
The Randstad, the densest urban region in the Netherlands, is known for a relatively high level of air pollution. RET has been taking responsible action in addressing this issue through their gradual transition to sustainable transport. The Rotterdam-based public transport operator (PTO) has recently introduced 55 electric buses and 103 hybrid ones in the region. And their efforts won’t stop here — by slowly adopting new clean, quiet buses, RET plans to provide completely emission-free transport by 2030, helping to increase the quality of life in the region. 1
The core of RET’s efficient management of its mixed fleet relies on a data-driven approach, according to Remco Sliedrecht, Chief Functional Management Operations at RET: “Data is vital to us, to make sure the planning aligns well with operations”. And this data-driven approach is already showing fantastic results. The PTO revealed that due to an optimized charging infrastructure and effective planning, its electric buses can drive as much as their diesel ones (400-500 km/day).
While the first e-buses didn’t come without some initial concerns — like wondering if the vehicles are able to finish their routes — these were soon put to rest according to Heleen van Setten, Operations Coordinator at RET: “It all goes perfectly well, the e-buses do their job and never miss their charging or end points”. As a result, the old diesel buses from the fleet are planned to be replaced with e-buses in the near future.
Accelerating the transition to Zero-Emissions transport through data
RET understands that data is vital for an efficient management of a mixed fleet, and for a swift transition to a zero-emission transport system. The reliability of the data provided by ViriCiti, along with the reporting capabilities, list high among the reasons why RET chose for this telematics solution:
“If there is an issue with e-buses, you now have to look at a laptop, not under the hood of the bus. The technical side of e-buses is very different from diesel. But ViriCiti helps us with data access.We need data for managing electric buses. Without the system of ViriCiti, the conditioned-based maintenance of the electric vehicles would not be possible. ViriCiti is the perfect tool for our data needs.”
– Rene van Oostenbrugge, Maintenance Engineer & E-Mobility Specialist
The real-time data allows RET to have an overview of their fleet in one blink, says Heleen van Setten. RET pulls this data into their own traffic control system, in order to have a centralized operation and to see where the buses are, if they are charging, or if any issues are encountered. “Without the data provided by ViriCiti, this would be much more difficult.” When necessary, charger resets are performed via the ViriCiti platform to fix charger connectivity issues remotely.
Besides using ViriCiti for reporting on bus exploitation and maintenance, RET integrates historical and real-time data from the ViriCiti dashboard into their own SAP database, in order to run in-depth customer analysis and achieve more efficient route and charging planning. The data is also used by RET in their efforts to bring down the consumption of their e-buses.
Nevertheless, the PTO is not only using ViriCiti for managing their zero-emission fleet. ViriCiti is also helping the Dutch operator save time, costs, and get more reliable insight for its diesel buses.
For example, with the idling indicator, the maintenance team can see which buses are idling the most and when, and therefore improve efficiency and reduce fuel costs in the long run.
Additionally, with the automatic Kilometers Driven overview, which proved to be a lot more reliable than the system previously used, the maintenance team is now able to get an instant understanding of which buses need to be scheduled for maintenance, and which vehicles have priority.
“We are proud that RET chose us to equip such a large part of their fleet with our system, and happy to see that our platform & data helps operators accelerate their move towards sustainable transport, and use their zero-emission buses as efficiently as possible”
– Freek Dielissen, Co-founder and CEO ViriCiti