[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Text messaging keeps buses on time
A London bus
The system reduced waiting times by 70%
A new system using text messaging technology hopes to bring passengers' frustration at waiting an age for a bus only for three to come along to an end.

It is hoped that the initiative by Metroline, which has 1,089 buses in its London fleet, will make services run to the timetable and in turn increase the use of public transport.

Using mobile phone operator Orange's GPRS network, the control room can locate the position of a bus along any route and work out the time and distance between buses.

If they are off the timetabled schedule, the control centre sends the driver a text message which flashes up on the dashboard, telling them to maintain the correct intervals so they arrive on time at stops.

Improving the reliability of bus services, and getting them to turn up on time, will help overcome one of the key frustrations for those using public transport across Greater London
Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member
The technology may in the future also be used to send passengers text messages giving them up-to-date bus arrival information on their mobile phones.

Sean O'Shea, commercial director of Metroline, said that in a trial involving 28 buses "excess waiting times" for passengers was reduced by 70%.

"We have a commitment to provide the best possible service to our customers and that means continually looking to improve our transport service and this system will enable us to do exactly that," he said.

Reducing congestion

The trial was also monitored by Transport for London.

"Reducing congestion by getting more people onto public transport is a key objective for Transport for London," said Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member.

"Improving the reliability of bus services, and getting them to turn up on time, will help overcome one of the key frustrations for those using public transport across Greater London."

The system will now be deployed across the whole Metroline fleet over the next two years.




SEE ALSO:
London's buses become cash free
23 Aug 03  |  London
Hydrogen Economy
21 Aug 02  |  Archive
Ray of light for bus travel
11 Oct 01  |  England
Hydrogen fuel challenges petrol
16 Jun 98  |  Science/Nature


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific