Ten Years On; uTrack Going From Strength To Strength!

In a galaxy far , far, away there was once a group of five young Jedis, (well 4 young ones and 1 older Yoda type ie me) who shared a dream and a vision. The dream was to change bus and coach travel in a positive way by using technology, the vision was to create a strong and vibrant Company. Interestingly almost ten years on from joining the uTrack family it is amazing to take a little bit of time to stop, reflect, and ponder, one of my favourite words, given to me by my dear old dad. To reflect on what has been achieved from humble beginnings to where we are today.

So from the comfort of a sofa late on a Thursday night I decided to look back. The first pitch that I was ever involved with was with the legend that is Scott Dunn. Scott back in 2008 was the gifted buccaneering MD of the Diamond Bus Company where I was employed as the Commercial Manager. Scott kindly agreed to let uTrack track 4 bespoke vehicles that had operating on a route from Redditch to Birmingham the Worcestershire County Council subsidised 192. What I saw for the first time in my bus career allowed me to actually see minute bu minute exactly what these buses and even more importantly, just what the drivers were doing/

It seems hard to imagine today in 2019 that once a bus left the depot basically that was it, you had no idea where it was and what it was doing. Todays young Managers take this monitoring and technology for granted and rightly so. For me however this was a Damascus moment and it had a profound effect on me, I felt that this amazingly clever witchcraft built by Eamonn and Conor was the future of the Bus and Coach industry. Long story short I left Diamond and joined the team, back then it was the three of us along with a young genius graphic designer from Venezuela and a brilliant techie from Lithuania. Table for 5 please.

Our first proper break came care of Alex Perry then the Operations Directpr for National Express Coach Company. The very day after I left Diamond July 9th 2009 Alex and I met in a pub in my village called the Fountain and I told him all about uTrack. He was interested and that was the start, as they say from little acorns mighty oak trees grow. Alex agreed to a trial on a particularly challenging route from Liverpool to Manchester and Leeds, serving the airports. Such was its unreliability that each month thousands would be spent on spending money for taxis after passengers complained the coach was late or early or never turned up. As flights were involved they could not afford to take chances. Post the trial any complaints could be investigated immediately at the touch of a historic replay button, and a map in real time sent to the person complaining. Overnight the complaints stopped as some people realised the gravy train was no longer available.

And that was just the start, Alex had vision and patience, as he realised just how profound this technology was and now ten years on we are engaged with National Express Coach having enjoyed ten years as a supplier and partner. Today uTrack work with First UK Bus, Greyhound Coach across the vast continent of North America, along with First Student who carry over 6 and half million students across the USA every school day. Go Ahead Dublin, Hinckley Point power station, are also customers. And there are more coming on board all the time.

Obviously today uTrack has a few more than the Famous Five and this week hosted a super family fun day at a lovely castle just outside of Dublin. Due to illness sadly for me I was unable to attend but I just watched a super video done by the good Doctor where some 50 plus people attended employees, partners and their children. It was great success and the team played, ate, drank and laughed together. It is great to think to consider what has happened in this journey, and trust me there is more to come. As for myself in the 11 months that I have been off work battling cancer I watched with pride as the family had grown and prospered. I fully intend to return once able too, there is much to do and achieve, and we will do just that. May the Force be with you,

Written by Austin Birks

May 3, 2019

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