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How to Get Better ROI from Your HASTUS Implementation

Chances are, if you’re in the public transit field and you’ve dealt with service scheduling, you’ve encountered a tool called HASTUS. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a software product created by a Montreal-based company called GIRO.

HASTUS started out as a scheduling software. In the public transit world, scheduling is a complex art and for the longest time it was all done by hand. Software for scheduling makes that task much simpler, so for many transit agencies HASTUS has been a silver bullet.

Over the years, GIRO has added tons of functionality to the HASTUS platform including service planning modules that allow transit agencies to take in data from other sources like passenger counter systems and vehicle location systems. From that data, HASTUS supports forecasting so agencies can create new service or forecast new service for the future.

I’ve been most involved with implementing two HASTUS modules at transit agencies: the work selection capabilities for operators and the daily operations management functionality.

Those two modules are probably the most complex to implement at an agency because when it comes to quarterly (this cadence can vary from agency to agency) work selection by union members, all of the rules agreed upon in collective bargaining agreements need to be implemented in the software. Often, negotiation can be contentious and there’s a huge need for change management to get the union leadership on board with the new software and believing that it does contractually what it’s supposed to do without screwing anyone.

The biggest tenet of any public transit agency work selection process is seniority. The operators who have been there the longest time should always get access to the choicest pieces of work. In the software, seniority needs to be adhered to. It’s super important that the union trusts the software is doing what has been collectively bargained.

Think of it from a technology point of view: if you just have technologists come in to implement the software and don’t have folks who can talk to the union, you can end up with disjointed, uncomfortable conversations, lack of adoption, and the potential for litigation. So for fuck’s sake: make sure you have a technologist who can speak to the unions and support change management. That’s where StarSpring comes in.

The second piece, daily operations management, allows staff to manage the work. Transit work can be thought of as a three-step process: you schedule the work (vehicle and crew scheduling), pick the scheduled work (with the work selection process to link operators to the schedules), then you do the work. The “you do the work” step is daily operations management, and that’s where everything can get f-ed up.

You can make the best schedule in the world, but life happens. People call out sick, people get in accidents, buses break down and aren’t available. A lot of things can happen. How the schedule actually ends up on any given day can change a lot, so you need software that can allow you to cut service on a route, put a different driver on a bus, and send that different bus and driver to pick up service.

The daily operations management piece is super complicated to configure since it has lots of integrations with other systems in the transit tech ecosystem. For example, it needs to integrate with payroll so what actually happened that day gets accurately sent to payroll. Like work selection, daily operations management has to follow what was collectively bargained. It requires a lot of negotiation and explanation to the operators and their supervisors on how to use the software and how the software looks at things so they can do their jobs and the best possible outcome can happen on any given day.

So, why would you want to call a group like us that has change management skills, skills to communicate with unions, and the ability to integrate software with other systems?

You get a lot better ROI.

HASTUS isn’t cheap. It can do a lot, but if the requirements for that agency aren’t taken down and planned accordingly so the software can truly transform the organization through integration with other systems in the agency ecosystem, you’re doing yourself a disservice by buying HASTUS. It helps to have a trusted tech partner like StarSpring to talk to the union and think about the parts of the ecosystem that aren’t HASTUS to get the best bang for your buck out of the software.

For years, we’ve successfully implemented those critical pieces of HASTUS at agencies that help them get the best results and greatest ROI. There aren’t a lot of companies outside of GIRO that offer this assistance to a transit agency, so if you need that sort of help that’s where we come in. Call us today at 781-214-1932 or send us a message and let’s talk!

Curious about what our clients at transit agencies have to say about working with us? Read their words below!

“The T needed software rolled out through a period of time at different phases to allow operators to electronically select their work. It was a drawn out process and there were lots of systems that had to talk to one another to make sure it would work properly.

Tim was in charge of working through that process, getting the union on board, and helping people understand the process that may not understand the whole system. He has an ability to break technical ideas down to make them easier to understand for not-so-technical people like myself and other union members.

Tim always had an understanding of how things would affect operators and how to mitigate those effects and smooth things over with the union. He’s a great communicator who goes out of his way to resolve issues while others within the T weren’t willing to resolve them.

He has a great team who was really understanding and helpful with the whole process. Tim has a great relationship with his team and was able to help them really understand our issues so they could solve them.

He has an ability to connect with people and work together to deliver on short-term goals while working towards the larger end-goal. I look forward to working together again in the future!” – Pat, Senior Delegate, Division 3, Boston Carmen’s Union (ATU Local 589)

“Tim brings a unique personality and set of skills to everything he does, and his approach is marked by a logical, methodical viewpoint that always leads to exceptional solutions paired with effective communication skills.

We engaged Tim to lead the internal side of a huge transition in scheduling software (from paper to digital) within the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

The initiative carried with it very high stakes, serving 150 communities and involving numerous parties, none of whom wanted to see the system break or slow down for any reason.

Tim rose to the challenge and managed to stay about 100 steps ahead of problems at all times, weighing cost/benefits quickly and presenting a solution before issues sprang up.

He consistently communicated complex technological concepts in accessible terms to the everyday executive and rapidly gained my deepest trust with his commitment to being candid and clear at all times.

I was more than comfortable letting him take the reins even in environments where I was unfamiliar, and always trusted that Tim would let me have the bad news without sugarcoating, which is invaluable to me as an executive.

Last but not least, Tim is a born leader. His teams trust him implicitly and are incredibly loyal. Above all else, that alone told me what I needed to know about Tims ability to lead and inspire.”

Jessica Vonashek, Former Chief Officer of Operations Policy and Oversight, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

“I had the good fortune of working with Tim when he was brought onboard to help facilitate, coordinate and streamline changes of multiple company paper based outdated processes or programs. Tim held or co-chaired frequent coordination meetings with internal departments and conducted routine outreach to the assigned vendor. He and his team worked closely with management, labor relations and end users to determine company requirements, work rules, bargained agreements and potential options. Tim gathered information from his team, the company and vendor and incorporated feedback to make the best decisions for all involved, while keeping in line with deadlines.

In my experience, Tim is a leader that has demonstrated a willingness to look at the big picture, incorporate feedback while remaining task-oriented and laser-focused to meet project goals.” – Norman Michaud, Former Assistant General Manager of Rail Operations, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Read more of what our clients are saying here.