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Author Topic: Electronic Departure Indicators - bus stops - Wiltshire  (Read 1038 times)
grahame
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« on: June 08, 2017, 06:38:47 AM »

Electronic Departure Indicators - bus stops - Wiltshire

In answer to a Facebook question - rather long to answer there!

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How about electronic route indications (think 265 in Trowbridge) at key stops, I know this may not be achievable but maybe buy-in from FareSaver / First Group / Stagecoach might gain traction.

Present in Wiltshire in some towns - for example the County Town of Trowbridge, Westbury and Bradford-on-Avon.  At even quite minor stops in some of those towns.  Absent across much / most of the county, even from town centre stops in places like Melksham which is the 4th largest urban mass in the county.

Current systems installed as described above have been there for quite a while, and have not been as reliable and low cost to look after as was envisaged. They are also dependent on the buses serving the stops being equipped with compatible trackers, and with no obligation on the bus operators to use the system.  It's significant that the stops I mention above are on the First bus / 265 route.

On line apps now track buses somewhat more, and sugegstions are that people use their phones.  Yeah, right - you need a phone, charged, access, etc ... and not everyone has one.  And there's still a data quality issue there.   Open data is supposed to be available on buses through the Bus Services Act that was rushed through in the final days of the last parliament, but when I asked about this last week, eyes were rolled and no-one seems to know exactly what / when - it's a part of the bill which (at least in BaNES and Wiltshire) isn't on the radar.

An online app with display screens at key locations would seem to make some sense. With common bus schedules and trackig, this will give data to all.  It would be very hard to justify a lot more installations of the system that's already in - mature to the extent of needing to be phased out, unreliable, patchy and expensive to run.
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 09:13:35 AM »

In Swindon there are real time indicators at a number of stops around the town but again they use ageing technology.

They currently only show Thamesdown Services (although Stagecoach do show real time running for their buses on their website).

When the recent timetable change took place it was a fortnight before the screens started reflecting the correct information.  Some had none at all, others showed predicted times for both the old and new timetables.

The app Bus Checker shows real times for most Thamesdown Services and predicted times for Stagecoach and other operators in the town.

The bus stop system is run by a firm called ViX Technology - who also operate the service in the Greater Bristol area.

That said there is a whole issue in Swindon over bus stops since the council sold off Thamesdown.  Each company has covered over the others publicity material in some cases and there are no longer combined timetables at stops used by both companies.  Some now sport two timetable cases - one for each operator.  At a stop near me a Stagecoach service calls there every 10 minutes but you wouldn't know - there is no information about it on the shelter at all.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 09:35:48 AM »

Cornwall council installed real time displays all over Cornwall about 5 years ago.

None of the local buses had compatible trackers, so they don't work, just say refer to timetable. No point getting real time displays if the buses current systems aren't compatible.

However First are installing new ticket machines that accept contactless card payments imminently, which apparently are compatible.
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trainer
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 10:38:10 AM »

My recent experience of 'real time' electronic displays in Oxford, Bristol and North Somerset is that they are still highly unreliable.  The time they use seems to be akin to something out of one of the more complex Dr Who stories i.e. my linear time and their disappearing/appearing, non-appearing services are a wonder and frustration.

Recently in Bristol the next service on a 20 min frequency timetable was shown variously as 40mins, 59mins and 49mins.  The bus arrived within 15 minutes 5 mins down.  Similar tales could be told no doubt.  I know the reasons for the unreliability - poor signals, vehicles without trackers etc.  I am a public transport fan...I understand these things.  As always I think about the potential passenger who has either no option and suffers unnecessary stress or those like me who have a car might look at the display and go home because it would allegedly be quicker to drive - they actually believe what they see.

Before spending money on this, I would strongly advise waiting for an improvement in the technology and the agreement of all companies to use it (voluntarily or otherwise).
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wiltshirebloke
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 11:47:14 PM »

The boards - and quality of information - on the Bath - Salisbury Route (X4/5/265) is quite poor, and frankly was a white elephant from the start.

If I recall correctly these boards, both the flag stops and larger boards where shelters existed were installed when the route was still shared between W&D and First, and stretched pretty much from Winsley to Salisbury - however shortly after roll-out is when W&D withdrew from the route, and then the subsequent curtailment to Warminster of the service, with Hatts taking on the Warminster to Salisbury section. Most of the stop signs then disappeared between South Newton & Westbury.

Visiting most stops now, you'll find - especially in Trowbridge, that shelter displays are broken with only half the display working , or showing "No Data / Refer to Timetable", and as you state even the main stops in Trowbridge Town Centre don't have these displays. Logging these issues with 'Clarence' gets the response that they will be fixed in a couple of weeks, but this never happens.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 05:33:43 AM »

Overall a very sad story ... even at flagship locations such as Bath Bus Station which only opened 8 years ago (June 2009) information is mediocre to say the least. 

The scale of getting information to people is massive; the NaPTAN database lists 128 public transport access points in Melksham and Bowerhill alone (425,000+ across the country) "all" of which "need" proper information.  Looking at our 128, 1 is a railway station, some are bus stops no longer served, but I guestimate that about 100 are current.
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