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National Express

Practical information

Service Delivery

Service Delivery is one of the key business areas within the Coach division and is led by Ed Rickard, Service Delivery Director. There are seven departments working closely together to ensure the smooth and safe running of our Network.

Here are some main departments within the Service Delivery and their key priorities:

Coach Stations

Led by: Keith Trail (Head of Coach Stations)

Our Coach Stations comprise 27 locations across the network, consisting of a combination of Coach Stations, ticketing travel outlets and roadside operations. These strategically selected locations enable us to manage a punctual and safe day to day operation, whilst delivering a high level of customer service and on the day ticket sales.

Within this portfolio NEL operates 7 direct managed standalone Coach Stations - Birmingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Plymouth, Southampton and Leeds.

Here the responsibility for site maintenance and safety lies with the Coach Station Manager. We also occupy operational space for ticketing outlets at 17 sites nationwide, with the remainder being roadside operations within the London area. In the South East regions, we have strong contracted relationships with Airport operators at Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick airports. The remaining operations are roadside at Liverpool Street, Stratford and King's Cross.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Contact Centre Communication between Coach Stations and Contact Centre where customer issues may need to be resolved.
Finance Submission of annual budget and monthly P&L reviews. Also to manage the revenue received on sites from both the ticket desk and ticket vending machine sales. Financial audits take place to assess if the Financial Control Procedures are being adhered to.
Marketing Provide clear and accessible marketing materials for customers to promote our services and products within the brand guidelines.
Customer To provide excellent levels of customer service in a fast and efficient by implementing our Customer Services ‘Golden Rules’ and the ‘NX Way’.
Safety Reporting of all incidents at Coach Stations. Safety Tours are carried out by the Exec team and we also have annual Safety Audits which may result in Safety Improvement Action Plans.
Learning & Development (L&D) Work with the L&D team to identify training needs – use the web-based iLearn system enabling staff to ‘self-service’ on some training courses.

 

Key Department Priorities:

  • Safety is our priority and we will ensure customers and colleagues travel/work in an environment underpinned by our Driving Out Harm Golden Rules.
  • Achieve or exceed our financial targets for the year.

 

Safety & Environment

Led by: Chris Cotterill (Safety Team Leader)

The Safety and Environment team are responsible for managing the Health, Safety and Environment management systems within National Express. The management system supports the National Express Driving Out Harm and Target Zero initiatives that aim to reduce harm in our business and operational activities.

The Safety and Environment support partner operators through engagement with operators regarding accidents and incidents on the network, involving employees, passengers, members of the public and vehicles.

The Safety and Environment team also completes annual audits with partner operators against UK Coach Safety and Environment Standard 8.4 Competence Management – Coach Drivers to ensure that driver management arrangements are in place and any gaps identified can be rectified. 8.4 Safety Audit results are used to help support and improve Partner Operators performance.

The team also supports accident/incident investigations in co-operation with partner coach operators. This includes significant vehicle accidents, assaults and anti-social behaviour.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Service Delivery 8.4 Safety Audit results are used to help support and improve Partner Operators performance. The team also supports accident/incident investigations in co-operation with partner coach operators. The team reports on health, safety and environment performance for the UK Coach Division.
Contracts The Safety and Environment Team audit programmes to meet the Customer, Brand and Safety department’s requirements for operating a safe and environmentally sustainable service.
Marketing Provide clear and accessible marketing materials for customers to promote our services and products within the brand guidelines.To provide excellent levels of customer service in a fast and efficient by implementing our Customer Services ‘Golden Rules’ and the ‘NX Way’.Reporting of all incidents at Coach Stations. Safety Tours are carried out by the Exec team and we also have annual Safety Audits which may result in Safety Improvement Action Plans.
Customer
Safety
Learning & Development (L&D) Updates are provided to the L&D to ensure training is updated as appropriate.

 

Key Department Priorities

  • Conduct annual safety audits against UK Coach SMS Safety Standard 8.4 Competence Management – Coach Drivers.
  • Publish the outcome of audits to operators.
  • Analyse all audit data to flag issues or concerns and implement actions to address root cause issues.
  • Support accident/incident investigation

 

Network Planning

Led by: Neil Collins (Head of Planning)

Network planning are responsible for the following core functions namely the design, creation, management and optimisation of NX scheduled services across the UK. Network Planning delivers Punctuality Reviews and timetables to achieve the NX Group Right Time Every Time (RTET) objectives.

Legal Compliance: Network Planning team are responsible for the registration of NX services with the Traffic Commissioners and Transport for London (TfL).

Short Notice Planning: We manage the operator communication bulletins of the large number of planned road and location closures affecting the NX network each day. These are circulated as either Operator Bulletins where roadworks and diversions are required and Network Bulletins where a stop location is affected and maybe closed, moved to a temporary location and are issued directly to all operators.

System management of NetPlan which is the sole core source of data for all the sales channels across NX. Location Maintenance: Each location (stop) sold by NX has associated data, which feeds NetPlan and uTrack to enable vehicle tracking.

Stakeholder Engagement: Significant interaction with TfL, VCS, local authorities, all the major UK airports, in addition to NX partner operators.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Contracts All suggested new or amended network services are passed to Contracts for timely feedback from the operator and final agreement before implementation. Punctuality reviews are also passed over to Contracts for discussion with the relevant operator to ensure all parties are happy with the operational amendments to the service.

 

Key Department Priorities:

  • Produce when required all Operator and Network Bulletins that are issued to all partner operators and internal NX departments and staff as necessary.
  • Designing and maintaining the network (timetables, routes, connections) and responding to changes in customer demand, changes to traffic and highway changes.

 

Service Delivery

Led by: Sarah East (Head of Operations)

The Service Delivery team comprises 5 Service Delivery Managers who monitor the performance of circa 30+ Partner Operators who deliver National Express Services based on Key Performance Indicators. Monthly Evaluation Tables are published.

The size of Partner Operators vary from two vehicles to 100+, some family-owned businesses, some part of larger transport organisations. Our partners are supplemented by ‘owned operations’.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Safety Team manages safe working practises, reports on accidents and injuries as well as auditing operators on their compliance to the National Express standard.
Compliance Ensures that operators and drivers are running in accordance with the law and National Express policies and procedures.
Contracts Manage the contractual relationship between partner operators and National Express, encompassing penalties and vehicle purchasing.
Coach Stations Teams of Managers and Customer Service Advisors support drivers at key locations around the network. Provide ticketing and travel information to the general public, liaise with operators and the Network Control Centre regarding daily operations.
Network Control Centre Monitor the operation of National Express services, providing on the day support to drivers on the UK road network. Report incidents and assist with diversion information.
Service Quality Audit vehicles and drivers to pursue a standard and consistent level of service.
Contact Centre Manage customer bookings and amendments. Deal with displaced customers and complaints.
Engineering Provide technical and mechanical support to operators and hold key partnerships with Volvo/Scania and Caetano.

 

Key Department Priorities:

  • Ensure operators remain compliant to National Express 8.4 Competence. Ensure Approved Driver List is populated and data is kept up to date (e.g. licence checks, medicals, defensive driving assessments etc).
  • Liaise with the safety team and support with providing guidance on policies and briefings. Promote a safe working culture amongst operators. Assist with accident investigations and reporting.
  • Discuss KPIs with operators, holding regular performance meetings with Key stakeholders. Monitor driver speed data via Tourmaline and driving performance via Drivecam and coaching effectiveness of designated persons within the operator.
  • Liaise with Engineering on mechanical and technical matters and support operators.

 

Contracts

Led by: Alastair Coxon (Head of Contracts)

The Contracts Department are responsible for setting the cost and contractual framework that supports the National Express network. The team negotiates the cost of operation with each Partner Operator based on the expected standards of all National Express specialist functions which are embedded into the National Express Operators Agreement (the contract).

The team also gives support to National Express specialist functions (Engineering, Service Delivery, Service Quality, Safety, Learning & Development, Network Planning and Finance for example) where contractual standards are not being met by utilising performance clauses in the Operators Agreement to facilitate improvement in performance.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Service Delivery Communication between Coach Stations and Contact Centre where customer issues may need to be resolved.
Service Quality Submission of annual budget and monthly P&L reviews. Also to manage the revenue received on sites from both the ticket desk and ticket vending machine sales. Financial audits take place to assess if the Financial Control Procedures are being adhered to.
Safety Provide clear and accessible marketing materials for customers to promote our services and products within the brand guidelines.
Route Profitability To provide excellent levels of customer service in a fast and efficient by implementing our Customer Services ‘Golden Rules’ and the ‘NX Way’.
Customer (PJS) Reporting of all incidents at Coach Stations. Safety Tours are carried out by the Exec team and we also have annual Safety Audits which may result in Safety Improvement Action Plans.
Learning & Development (L&D) Work with the L&D team to identify training needs – use the web-based iLearn system enabling staff to ‘self-service’ on some training courses.

 

Key Department Priorities:

  • Management of cost of Scheduled Coach Hire
  • Support Specialist functions to ensure the performance of Partner Operators

 

Other key departments

Marketing

Led by: Sean Bailey (Marketing Director)

The Marketing departments are responsible for vehicle brand/livery, marketing adverts and customer facing information.

  • Brand/livery standards are set to ensure all vehicles are instantly recognisable as being National Express.
  • Vehicle adverts are one of our best free assets (excluding install costs) for advertising to new and existing customers.
  • Customer-facing information standards are set to ensure all information customers consume whilst onboard our vehicles meet legal and brand guidelines.
  • We work with the vehicle manufacturers, partner operators and graphic fitting agencies to implement and maintain on-demand business requirements.
Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Service Delivery Communications link between marketing and operators.
Service Quality Audits flag any issues that need addressing and ensure operators are proactive.
Safety Ensure safety information meets necessary legal requirements.
Engineering Ensure relevant information meets necessary legal requirements.
Business Development Ensure sold vehicle wraps are active within deal terms.
Commercial Ensure owned vehicle wraps display accurate information.

 

Key Department Priorities:

  • Ensure marketing materials in all customer touch points is valid, in good condition and compliant with business requirements
  • Action any occurrences of non-compliance via 3rd party suppliers
  • Install vehicle wraps in accordance with business priorities

 

 

Service Quality

Led by: Jon Western (Service Quality Manager)

The Service Quality Department is responsible for setting the expected Customer Standards linked to the National Express fleet of vehicles and drivers. The team conducts audits to check compliance of those standards as well as a range of other standards linked to the areas of National Express Brand, Safety and Compliance requirements.

The Service Quality Department also conducts specific audits and surveys to provide further insight into specific areas of interest or concern to help identify the root cause of issues and to surface information to the right areas of the business to help drive improvements. Examples of such are Overt Driver Accessibility audits, Covid-19 specific audits and CCTV focus checks.

Audits typically take place at either the starting point or turnaround point and driver audits are conducted both overtly and covertly from any point across the network. The Service Quality Department is the point of contact for any audit appeal. To make an appeal contact the Service Quality Manager.

Completed audits and management of resulting actions are through AuditForm.

Key National Express Departmental Relationships
Service Delivery Customer, Brand and Safety, Vehicle and Driver Audit results are used to help support and improve Partner Operators performance.
Contracts Audit data is used by the contracts department for contractual management purposes.
Safety The Service Quality Team develops the audit programmes to meet the Customer, Brand and Safety departments.
Marketing
Customer
Learning & Development (L&D) Updates are provided to the L&D ensures training is updated as appropriate.

Key Department Priorities:

  • Conduct Monthly audits against vehicle / driver criterion: *Other audits / Surveys are conducted on an ad hoc basis as required.
  • Publish the outcome of audits to operators.
  • Analyse all audit data to flag issues or concerns and implement actions to address root cause issues.
  • Issue overdue actions reports to Operators highlighting items for priority attention.
  • AuditForm is the name of the National Express audit system. It is used by the Service Quality Team to capture the audit information and used by the operators to monitor the outcome of the audits and update actions taken to resolve any areas of non-compliance.

 

Accessibility & Inclusion

Led by: Jodie Williams (Accessibility & Inclusion Manager)

Accessibility and Inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. As a business we want to ensure that customers have equal access across the network, promoting accessible travel. Our Accessibility and Inclusion Manager wants to ensure that we offer a welcoming, inclusive and non-discriminatory service to all our customers. This function provides strategic guidance and support to colleagues and partners so they are legally compliant and can deliver good practice in relation to equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights legislation. Overlooking your disability, accessibility and equality obligations could mean that you or your drivers are breaking the law. Please use our Accessibility & Inclusion resource to support you in this very important area.

Our Accessibility & Inclusion Manager will also support our Learning and Development team to provide the right resources to train your people. Furthermore, they will translate equality legislation into practice to support you in ensuring yours and our organisation meets statutory requirements as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and Passenger Rights 2013.

We want to see a reduction in accessibility and inclusion complaints from customers, this includes any complaints regarding discrimination, victimisation or harassment as identified in the Equality Act 2010. We also want to increase the number of disabled passengers travelling with us and start to measure customer satisfaction from disabled customers. In support of this, we identify new processes, procedures and practices that will help improve accessibility and inclusion to our services.

Relevant areas of focus for your operations are:

  • Maintenance and reliability of passenger lift
  • LOLER certificate compliance
  • Maintenance and reliability of removable seat for wheelchair users
  • Effective Disability Awareness training for all your employees
  • Mandatory and regular Driver training for use of passenger lift
  • Mandatory and regular Driver training for safe and competent configuration of removable seat for wheelchair users
  • Acknowledgment of assisted travel bookings (including customers who use wheelchairs)
  • Delivery of assisted travel bookings
  • Drivers trained and aware of what to do when a ‘turn-up-and-go’ wheelchair user travels, safe operation of vehicle lift and wheelchair fitment onboard.

Key Department Priorities:

  • Operator compliance to all legal obligations (Equality Act, Passenger Rights, PSVAR 2000 etc)
  • Welcoming and confident drivers who deliver a safe and consistent service to all our customers.
  • Ensure minimal customer complaints and other forms of discrimination and working towards an increase in bookings and positive engagement from disabled customers.
  • Safe and reliable use of all specified equipment (passenger lift, magic seat) on every vehicle by every driver

 

Glossary of terms, acronyms & business jargon

A glossary of commonly used terms relating to National Express business. The terms are used frequently across the business so we can be clear when communicating with other teams.

Glossary of terms

Term Definition Area of use
Passenger A single person Coach
Journey The locations typed into the From and To fields in the journey planner.
- From (I am located in)
- To (I need to get to)
A single ticket comprises of one journey
A return ticket comprises of two journeys
Coach
Leg If a journey requires a change of coach then this journey is made up of more than one leg.
A single journey with no changes comprises of one leg.
A single journey with one change comprises of two legs.
Coach
PAX A passenger on a leg Coach
Ticket A single ticket can include several passengers travelling on one journey.
A return ticket can include several passengers travelling on two journeys.
Any ticket may be broken down into legs.
Coach
Journey
Direction
Inbound/Outbound Coach
Stage A stopping point on a journey.
For example, Stage A, Stage B, Stage C
Coach
Flow All possible combinations of Stage-Stage on a journey.
For example:
Flow 1 - Stage A to Stage B
Flow 2 - Stage A to Stage C
Flow 3 - Stage B to Stage C
Coach
Route    
Departure Stage/location from which a coach leaves.
Synonym: Location from/Origin
Coach
Arrival Stage/location from which a coach arrives.
Synonym: Location to/Destination
Coach

Business jargon & acronyms

  • Service Coach: Scheduled Coach
  • Dupe Coach: Duplication Coach
  • NX Livery: National Express branding on the Coach
  • Non NX Livery: Non-National Express branding on the coach
  • Stand by Customer:Customer who doesn't have ticket for the specific coach
  • U-Track: Coach tracking system
  • Traffilog:
  • Tacho Card:
  • Tacho-break: Legal break required for driver after driving for certain hours
  • Mileage: Distance in Miles
  • Depot: Garage where coaches are based
  • Shunter Driver: Driver responsible for safe movement of Coach from one place to another
  • Owned Operation: Depots/Operation directly owned by National Express
  • Third Party Operation: Depots/Operation sub contracted to third party
  • Connection: Customer connecting with more than 1 coaches when travelling from one place to another
  • Mis-connection: Customer who have missed the connecting coach when travelling from one place to another
  • MA: Mobility Assistance
  • NCC: Network Control Center
  • NEL:National Express Limited
  • NEAT: National Express Accessible transport
  • NETS:National Express Transport Solution
  • VCS: Victoria Coach Station
  • BCS: Birmingham Coach Station
  • TFL: Transport for London
  • MAG: Manchester Airport Group
  • DFT: Department for Transport
  • OCS: Operational Control System (System for coach operation)
  • SMART/Travel CAT: System for ticket sales
  • TVM: Ticket Vending Machine
  • OBT: On Board Ticketing
  • RTA: Road Traffic Accident
  • ETA: Estimated time of Arrival
  • ETD: Estimated time of Departure
  • SHE: Safety, Health and Environment (Reporting system)
  • PPE: Personal Protective Equipment
  • DOH: Driving Out Harm
  • PGI:Planned General Inspection
  • GDPR: General Data Protection Rules
  • RMS: Revenue Management System
  • PDR: Personal Development Review
  • I-Learn: E-learning system to complete online courses
  • CSAT: Customer Satisfaction
  • SIP:Safety Improvement Plan
  • QI: Quick issue ticket

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