The National Transport Authority’s real-time passenger information service has launched, installing electronic bus-stop signs telling passengers when the next bus is due.
Ten new signs are now being live-tested on an introductory basis in Dublin. Some 450 signs will be placed at many of the busiest bus stops across the Greater Dublin Area throughout 2011.
The signs will give bus users updated information on when the next bus is due at that stop, counting down the minutes until the bus arrives. The signs will also carry other information related to the bus services.
The service uses vehicle location systems on buses and a computerised system to track them.
Buses will be equipped with an automatic vehicle location transmitter. GPS will track the buses and the central control system will feed its location information to the signs.
The live-testing phase is designed to check accuracy of the information for these first 10 signs. Public feedback is encouraged to help improve the service.
A web and text service is also being developed, informing customers on bus arrival information for all Dublin Bus stops, which will arrive later in 2011 once the new signs are fully established and operational.
The signage technology will ensure easy readability to comply with disability guidelines. Options are also being identified to assist people with visual impairments to use the bus network more easily by using telephone and text services together, with braille identification of individual bus stops.
The service has been developed by Dublin City Council on behalf of the National Transport Authority in co-operation with Dublin Bus.
Dublin Bus will be responsible for the automatic vehicle location system and the real-time arrival predictions for its buses.
The scheme is said to also be able to take information from Bus Eireann and other licensed transport operators.
In Cork, work has begun to launch this service with Bus Eireann. It will arrive at the end of 2011. The service will also be established in Galway, Limerick and Waterford next year.
“The real time passenger information service will bring bus transport in Dublin into line with other European capitals,” said Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen at the launch.
“The results from the initial testing phase are good and the technology is working well. I am confident bus passengers will like this new service and will use buses more often.”