Driven to succeed with public transport

Kolumbus AS

Training bus drivers to provide a better passenger experience

In autumn 2018, the city of Stavanger, Norway, implemented a new road toll, leading to an increased number of passengers using public transport. In preparation, Kolumbus, the company that operates public transport services throughout the city with Norgesbuss, set out to strengthen its culture via better employee cooperation and training. The goal: to ensure a positive passenger experience. EGGS helped the bus drivers deal with the increased demand for a high-quality service.

Kolumbus won the DOGA Award for Design and Architecture together with EGGS and Kulturkompaniet in January 2020. (In Norwegian)

The importance of culture

Early on, during the insight phase of the project, we realized what mattered most – in more ways than one – was culture. Because two different organizations (Kolumbus and Norgesbuss) provide Stavanger’s transport services, everybody needed to share a unified awareness of what constituted an outstanding service. And, as many of the bus drivers are foreign nationals, they had to be confident in how best to handle conflicts or other challenging situations on their buses.

Train the trainer. Kolumbus Culture Squad consisted of Kolumbus employees and was created to ensure continuity of the KULtur-program. Here they are briefed to get ready to facilitate alongside EGGS in KULtur 1.
The project has been highly successful. Many customers are praising the positive changes.
Odd Aksland, Director, Kolumbus

Culture-building boot camp

To address the lack of a common culture, together with Kolumbus, we created a culture-building boot camp, which comprised KULtur 1 and KULtur 2. In KULtur 1, Kolumbus gave out information to the bus drivers and showed instructive films. Simultaneously, EGGS developed exercises and group activities to build a collective sense of supervision over passenger experiences, regardless of drivers organizational, linguistic or cultural belonging.

One of the interaction tasks In KULtur 1 was to combine and share knowledge about routes, geography, and ethnography in the Stavanger area. Where do the different routes go, what people tend to go on and off at the different stops, which situations tend to occur at certain places, and what do you typically do to solve challenges along the route.

Acting it out

In KULtur 2, we focused on practical training to increase the bus drivers confidence when communicating and dealing with passengers face to face. Here they had the opportunity to practise various situations through role-play with actors to test vocalization, body language, facial expressions and general response, and then identify the outcome. According to the latest passenger satisfaction poll, between 2017 and 2018, the drivers’ service mindedness improved from 3,9 to 4,5 on a scale of 1-5.

All we used to get was negative feedback. Now passengers call us several times a week to enthuse about their positive experiences.
Customer service employee, Kolumbus
To facilitate the drivers' work and make it more enjoyable, the two organizations made a list of internal improvements. This included breakfast meetings, Facebook groups and the refurbishment of common areas, for example.

Boosting driver morale

As part of establishing a mutual understanding of culture and values between Kolumbus and Norgesbuss, we recognized numerous opportunities to refine things for the drivers. So to make their daily routine easier and more enjoyable, and to encourage their ambitions for a revamped service, the two organizations issued a list of internal improvements. Aspects such as breakfast meetings, Facebook groups and the refurbishment of common areas, for example. All of which greatly helped inspire overall culture and driver relations.

Now it feels like we all have identical goals and interests.
Bus driver, Norgesbuss


Sounds interesting?

Karete Kristoffersen

Get in touch with Director of EGGS Stavanger
Karete Kristoffersen
+47 976 57 723

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