Transforming bus service operators' grants with tech

The DfT's BSOG Discovery project aims to use technology to transform the way that the bus service operators' grant (BSOG) is claimed for and paid. That's a message that went down very well with operators and the bus industry during our two one-day workshops.

The two workshops formed another part of our user research process. We'd previously done a series (12) of face to face interviews (30-60 mins) with a range of stakeholders across the bus industry involved with BSOG today.

On 25th and 26thJuly, we jointly hosted two open workshops as part of the DfT's Discovery project Wednesday 25th July in Deloitte offices in London, whilst on Thursday 26th we were in Manchester again in Deloitte offices.

We are working in collaboration with Deloitte on this project, as we have done before on the DfT's 'All Aboard the Databus' series in late 2017.

The two workshops were identical, with some very similar themes emerging, but also some different ones too.

The Agenda

We started with an ice-breaker not always everyone's favourite - but a good way to get people talking to others and actually thinking about why they attended. (Clue: its not just for the free lunch!)

We did two facilitated exercises with the groups split into smaller numbers of 5-8 per group.

1. "Stop, Start, Continue"

Using the insight and input we'd gathered from our 1-2-1 interviews we talked through our understanding of the BSOG process as it works today.

Using the 5 high level steps of the process flow we asked attendees to think about the relative good and bad points of the current process, by asking them to tell us things that should start, stop and continue. There were three types of post-it used:

  • Green Start Ideas suggestions or initiatives that could be considered to improve the process
  • Red Stop Things that cause pain or create problems within the existing process that should stop
  • Amber Continue things that work in the existing process that should continue to work in future

You can see the key themes from all of the groups below. Lots of good ideas and lots of Green!

2. "Challenge the themes"

It's clear there's a lot of frustration on the part of operators and DfT alike with the extent of paper forms and manual processing required in the existing BSOG process. But how can that change? What exactly would make it better for operators?

Like above, using the insight and input we'd previously gathered, there were five key themes that emerged from the operator input. In summary, they told us in our initial research that 5 main things could be improved. The five key themes are here:

The five were: 1) Ask me once; 2) Understand how we work; 3) Allow us to choose digital; 4) Make it clearer; 5) Cater to our differing needs.
Credit: ODI Leeds

We split into small table groups and talked through each of the themes.

The outputs from these workshops will feed into the final outputs of the BSOG discovery project, which will be published once completed!

Keep an eye out for the updates!