Management console

The management console is for organisations who run one or more transport systems. It’s where you go to create and manage locations that your organisation runs.

Just a heads up that this page is longer than some and might appear more complex in places. This is partly because the process of managing a transport location is somewhat more complex than booking a journey in one, and there are a variety of different settings you can apply to your transport operation.

We recommend that you create an organisation account now, by entering your email address below. Once you’ve created the organisation account you’ll be forwarded to the management console and can follow along as you read.

But haven’t I just created an account?

A common point of confusion is the difference between normal accounts and an organisation account. To clarify, normal accounts are for passengers, drivers and local administrators. All normal accounts are linked to a specific location.

By contrast, organisation accounts are used only to log into the management console. An organisation should only have one organisation account, and can use this to create and manage locations.

If you’ve followed these instructions thus far you will already have created an account on the passenger app. This normal account will have been set to use the demonstration location of Tenerife, which Simply Connect provides for demonstration and experimentation.

You can use the same email address to create an organisation account as you used with the normal account you created previously (in fact, we recommend you do use the same email address as it makes things slightly simpler later). However, if you didn’t create a normal account on the previous page, that’s also fine – just go ahead and create the new organisation account now.

Simply Connect’s passenger app is fully mobile-optimised. However, the management console is designed to be used on a larger screen, and so we strongly recommend that you create your organisation account from a laptop or desktop computer.

Enter your email address and click “Get started” below.

Setting up your account

After submitting the form, you should be redirected to the Management Console.

We’ll send an email with a security code in it to the address you give in the registration form, so make sure you use an email address that you have access to just now.

When the management console opens, you won’t have any locations yet, so the new location wizard will open to guide you through creating a new location.

Each step is fairly self-explanatory, but we briefly cover the steps here.

Step 1

In step 1, you choose a name (and a shorthand name as well, if you want) for your new location, as well as the country your new location is in.

Step 2

In step 2, you set the geographical position of your depot or office. If you don’t have a depot or office, search for and select another central point. It’s important that the position you select here is accessible by road. Note that, to set this central location, first search in the search box provided and select a suggested option. You will then see a map marker appear, which you can drag to the exact position on the map of your depot/office/other central position.

It’s important that the central position you select here lies within the geographical area that you want to serve. If you have a depot or office that lies outside your geographical operational area, pick another central and accessible position within the geographical area (for example a car park).

Step 3

In step 3, you draw the boundary around the geographical area you want to serve. All vehicles and passenger journeys will be restricted to the area you set here. You can change the area later from the settings if you need to, so don’t worry too much if it’s not quite right.

When this page opens, there will already be a thick red line drawn on the map. This line indicates the boundary of the country or administrative area that the central position you chose in the previous step lies within. The geographical boundary you will draw is different to the administrative area boundary.

To draw the geographical boundary, click on the map to add a point somewhere. You will see a yellow dot appear. Move the mouse along the boundary you want to draw and click again to add a corner or bend in the boundary. Continue in this manner until you have drawn a boundary around the area you want to serve. On the final point you want to add, double click to finish drawing. You can click the “show me how” link on the management console page to view a short video demonstrating drawing the boundary.

Please keep the geographical boundary you draw within the administrative boundary demarcated by the thick red line. If your transport location needs to cross the red line, please contact us at info@simply-connect.com for assistance.

In
In this example, the red line indicates the country boundary (Belgium), whilst the user is drawing a service area boundary around Antwerp.

Don’t add more than 300 points in the area definition or you will get an error!

Once you have finished drawing the geographical boundary, click Next to continue.

Step 4

Step 4 is simple but very important. We will try to determine the correct time zone for your new location based on the geographical information you’ve given us in the previous steps. Make sure that the time zone we have identified is correct! This step is important because some geographical areas can cross time zone borders and/or can have multiple possible time zones – so it is possible our systems could identify an incorrect time zone for your new location.

Note that various parts of the different component applications rely on accurate time zone information to correctly display pick-up and drop-off times and dates to passengers, drivers and administrators.

The time zone page shows both a time zone identifier and the current time in that time zone. The current time is only intended as a guide and you should check that the time zone identifier looks right too.

For example, if you were to create a location based around Glasgow, Scotland, the current time would be the same as the time in the example location of Tenerife. However the time zone identifier of the former would be Europe/London, whilst that of the latter would be Atlantic/Canary. Even though the time is currently the same in both places, the distinction is important because the identifier sets the rules on if and when regular changes to the time (such as Daylight Saving Time changes) take place. Furthermore, ensuring the correct time zone identifier is set will ensure that any future changes to the time zone rules are correctly accounted for.

Step 5

This step is self-explanatory. You will be asked to set several basic location preferences, including the minimum age of users for passengers.

Simply Connect does not set any limit on the minimum age you may enter here. However, you or your organisation are responsible for ensuring you hold any necessary permits to carry younger passengers.

You will also be asked on this page to select default settings for new users (such as unit type and language). These settings only control the defaults that are applied to new users signing up to use your new location.

Once a new user has created their account with the default settings applied, they are free to change these settings as they wish. For example, if you are creating a location within the United States, you might wish to set the default unit type to Imperial (ie, to show measurements in miles, feet, etc). A user who later registers an account to travel in your new location will initially see all measurements in imperial format, but can if they wish change this to show metric units instead.

Step 6

Simply Connect requires that you provide your passengers and drivers with a means to contact you or a local administrator. In this step, you choose whether you would like us to contact you to discuss Simply Connect providing you with a phone-answering service for your passengers and drivers, or whether you prefer to provide your own support phone number.

If you choose to provide your own support phone, we will ask you to provide a phone number, which will be shown to passengers and drivers. To ensure that all transport operators who work with us (and who do not use our phone-answering service) provide a valid phone number, we might need to call the phone number you provide to validate it. If we need to do this, we will make an automated call to the number you provide after you click Next.

If you have any difficulties validating your phone number, contact us.

Step 7

If this final step, we ask you to make a single but important decision: whether to start out with your new location in manual or automatic mode.

In manual mode, when a passenger books a journey, the request is stored and passed to service administrators who must allocate the passenger to a vehicle and set a pick-up and drop-off time. The admin application helps service administrators to do this in a manner that respects all of your passengers’ schedules and requirements, but ultimately the decision on when, and to which vehicle, to allocate each journey lies with the service administrator.

Manual mode might be a better option for you if you’re just starting out with Simply Connect and want to reduce the learning curve, or if you have a small operation and prefer to handle journey requests manually. You can always change to automatic mode later.

In automatic mode, Simply Connect manages the vehicle allocation and scheduling of pick-ups and drop-offs for you. Automatic mode employs advanced algorithms to optimise passenger to vehicle allocation as well as the order and timing of pick-ups and drop-offs. In automatic mode, delays on the road are also handled automatically, rescheduling passengers and rerouting vehicles as necessary to keep all passengers as on-time as possible.

Automatic mode will help you reduce the amount your drivers need to drive whilst automatically respecting passengers’ time constraints and other requirements. Use this mode when you are confident using the other elements of the system and want to experience the benefits that Simply Connect’s automation can bring to your operation.

If you’re just starting out with Simply Connect, we recommend you start with manual mode. Manual mode will help you get to know the system with a smaller learning curve, and you can change to automatic mode whenever you wish.

Completing Setup

After completing step 7, we will set up your new location using the information you’ve provided to us. This is an automated process but can take a few minutes. You can keep the tab open and see the progress, or close the browser and come back later. If you close the browser, we’ll send you an automated email to let you know when the new location has been set up.

Your New Location

Once the set-up has completed, you’ll have a nice new shiny location that passengers will be able to select when they register (this is only after you’ve made the location public).

You will see three tabs: Passenger app, Admin app and Driver app. The passenger app tab will give you details of how passengers should register for your new location.

This is a bit complex: There is only one passenger app (there is not one app per location). However, when passengers register, they must choose what location they wish their account to be associated with (ie, in what location they wish to book journeys). If you’ve followed along with the instructions you probably created an account on the passenger app for the demonstration location of Tenerife. If you did this, your normal user account will currently be associated with the demonstration location (which is managed by Simply Connect).

What you see on the passenger tab of the management console now depends on whether you previously created an account with the passenger app for Tenerife. If you created a normal account for the demonstration location (or if you have an account for any other location), then in the passenger tab you will see an option to transfer the account you originally created to the new location. Clicking this button will allow you to use the normal account you previously created to book journeys in your newly created location.

If you did not create an account with the demonstration location (and you do not have a normal account for any other location) we will create a new normal account for you, using the same email address as you provided for the organisation account. In this situation, under the passenger app tab you will see an automatically generated temporary password and a link to copy it to the clipboard. You will also see a button directing you to the passenger app. You should copy the temporary password and click the button to open the passenger app (opens in a new tab). Log into the passenger app with your email address and temporary password. At this point, the passenger app will prompt you to change the temporary password to a password of your choice.

Once you have changed the password, we recommend that you return to the management console for the time being, since you will not be able to book any journeys until you have either downloaded and installed the driver app on at least one device, or created a simulated driver in the simulator.

Testing with Other Users

We’re not quite done with the passenger app tab yet. You should see a section titled “How other users register” (you might need to click the heading to expand it).

Since your new location has been created as a private location, it is not listed in the list of available locations for passengers to choose from when they first create an account. Therefore, if you want to allow others to register to use your new location, you should give them the secret link shown in this section. Alternatively, scan the QR code shown in this section to directly open the secret registration link on a mobile device.

If you want your location to become immediately publicly accessible, you can request this from the settings (as will be covered later).

Installing the Admin App

To install the admin app on a Windows computer, switch to the Admin app tab on the “Get started” page (this is the final page of the location set-up wizard).

Click “Download admin app”. You will need to review and accept the admin app licence if you have not already done so. Once you have accepted the licence, you can click “Start download” and save the admin app installer somewhere on your Windows computer.

We will return to the admin app on a subsequent page – but note that you will need the licence key shown on this page when you install the admin app. The licence key is always shown here.

Installing the Driver App

The driver app is not in the Play Store and should be downloaded from the Management Console directly.. The resulting file will be a .apk file that you can install on your Android device.

Similar to the admin app, to download the driver app you must first agree to the driver app’s End User Licence Agreement. Once you have done so and clicked “Start download”, you will have the option to choose between various methods of getting the .apk file onto your tablet.

If you have the tablet in the same room as your computer and the tablet has a QR code reader app installed, we recommend using the “Use a QR code” option. This option will give you a QR code containing a link to download the app, so you can just point the camera of the device at your computer screen and tap the resulting link to download the app.

If you do not have the tablet in the same room as your computer, you might prefer to have a temporary link emailed to an address that you can open from the tablet. The link will expire after 10 minutes, so don’t delay.

Finally, you might prefer to directly download the .apk file to your computer and manually transfer it to the device. You can achieve this with the third option.

To install the driver app, you will need an Android tablet (it must have a minimum resolution of 1280 x 800, so a mobile phone is unlikely to work). iPads are not supported.

If you don’t have such a tablet you can skip this section for now. Alternatively, if you want to try the driver app anyway, you can use an Android emulator on your computer to try out the driver app. Note also that Windows 11 is able to run Android apps, though you will need to sideload the app, which is not officially supported by Microsoft and is a rather involved procedure. See here for details. Note that the driver app has not been tested on emulated versions of Android and the results could vary.

Over to You

Time to create an organisation account and try out the management console! If you haven’t already done so, enter your email address below and click “Get started” to register a new organisation and create a new location in the management console.


What’s next?

We recommend you try out the management console, by entering your email address above, before you continue. On the next page, we’ll look at the simulator: the tool that helps you experiment with the system without needing drivers in vehicles.