Bus Éireann rolls real-time information for web and mobile

6 Apr 2010

Bus Éireann has launched a new website – www.whensmybus.ie – to promote its real-time information system, which enables customers to know exactly when buses will arrive and depart at stops across the country via the web or text.

The new site allows customers to get up-to-the-second information on arrival and departure times of services across the country through an online display board.

They can also use the site to get the individual codes for bus stops throughout the country. Each stop has a unique code associated with it, which can be found on the website.

Text for bus services

This code can then be texted to a number – 087 990 3410 – to get up-to-the-second times of the next services to arrive at that stop.

The introduction of www.whensmybus.ie means that customers can get the most up-to-date arrival and departure times for their buses by PC or mobile before they go to their stop or while they are at it.

“Knowing exactly when your bus will arrive at your stop will make using the bus even more convenient for customers,” Andrew McLindon, PR manager at Bus Éireann, explained.

“It should also remove a barrier for people who don’t usually use the bus who might be concerned about having to wait at a stop,” McLindon added.

Real-time information tells customers exactly when the next bus is due to arrive, as distinct from the scheduled time of arrival, which can be distorted due to congestion, road works, diversions and adverse weather conditions.

Bus arrivals according to AVL and GPS

The system uses Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which is underpinned by Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, to track the movements of individual buses and then calculates how far the vehicle is from its next destination.

Bus Éireann is also currently working with Dublin City Council and Cork City Council on the introduction of real-time passenger information displays at appropriate bus stops/shelters in Cork City and in the GDA. In the near future, the system will be linked to traffic light management systems so as to give priority to buses through traffic lights.

The system was funded under the National Development Plan and Transport21, and from Bus Éireann’s own resources.

Bus Éireann has begun rolling-out an information campaign on the service across its network of bus shelters and bus stops.

The launch of www.whensmybus.ie is the latest in a series of digital media initiatives by the company.

This has included the introduction of Facebook and Twitter pages, special €2 fares on inter-city routes being available through Twitter only, and a recent online seat sale across many inter-city services. The company’s Facebook page has nearly 4,500 fans and its Twitter page has more than 2,000 followers.

In addition, Bus Éireann has recently redesigned its website to make it even easier to purchase its tickets online. Bus Éireann was the first coach company in Europe to introduce online ticket sales for immediate use.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Bus Éireann has launched a new website, www.whensmybus.ie, as well as having redesigned its current site

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years