A Depot Location Problem
for Red Bus Limited
Brendon Smith and Kingsley Tang
About the Problem
project involves an investigation into the efficiencies of potential satellite depots
for Red Bus Limited. Operating a fleet of over 200 buses from its single
current depot, Red Bus Limited is
About the Solution
“Deadheading” time, where wages of the drivers are paid but no revenue is collected, is one of the major costs faced by Red Bus. Our investigation on different depot options aims to minimise costs associated with this deadheading time.
After analysing the current operations and taking future growth into account, we have identified a number of potential satellite depot locations. We then built a model using Microsoft Excel and VBA to assign bus blocks to their nearest depot, according to the rectilinear distance approximations between bus blocks and potential depot locations. A tie-breaking process involving straight-line distance approximations was also implemented. Minor adjustments were made to ensure these estimates reflect actual distances accurately.
The model allows the user to specify minimum and maximum capacity limits for both the current and satellite depots. On the one hand, it may be uneconomical to have a depot only serving a few blocks, but on the other hand, it may not be feasible to build a depot that is too large. A heuristic has been designed to adjust the initial block allocations, so that blocks are reallocated to different depots in order to satisfy all the capacity restrictions. The block assignments and savings in costs related to deadheading time are available to the model user to aid in their decision-making process. Furthermore, the users are able to modify aspects of the model such as the different fixed and variable operations costs, as well as construction costs.
A cost-benefit analysis and an evaluation on changes in parameters and scenarios complement the recommendation to our clients.
Figure 1. The user interface of our model, DepotPro v1.1.
About the Authors
project has been undertaken by Brendon
Smith and Kingsley
Tang, as part of the Management Science honours programme at the
Brendon and Kingsley would like to thank our clients at Red Bus Limited, for providing us with an interesting and challenging problem. They have also kindly supported us with answers to our many questions during the year, and data to apply in our model.
We would also like to thank our project supervisors, Dr Don McNickle and Dr John Giffin, who provided invaluable advice and guidance over the duration of the project.
A special thanks goes to Xijing Li, who shared the initial part of this journey with us. We wish you well in your recovery.