I was up in Edinburgh for the last weekend of August and noticed that a goodly number of bus stops were supplied with display boards showing when the real number of minutes until the arrival of the next bus(es). The arrangement of the information seems to be by service number rather than time with there being two slots per service. There is some sense to this if you are after a particular service but, if you are of a more flexible mindset, it may seem a little strange at first. Another peculiarity is that the very useful offering only applies to Lothian Buses and not other operators in the city like First or Munros. In fact, Lothian’s services can be so regular that you wonder why satellite tracking is used for them at when it would make far more sense for longer distance services entering and leaving the city while plying their way to destinations like the Borders or Fife. The counterpoint to that is that it saves you having to inspect bus timetables attached to bus shelters and people standing or sitting right in front of them.
The relevance of all this to Cheshire is pertaining to its current piloting of bus tracking services 27 and 130. It is needed especially badly for the 130 with its propensity for getting delayed along its route, particularly at busy times. As if to remind me of the point, the one taking me to work this morning was the most of twenty minutes late. However, my impression is that you need to start up a computer to get the information, as useful as even that it. However, the last thing that you really need to being on going out the door in the morning is going through of starting a computer up to see when the next bus is due and then shutting it down afterwards. That sort of thing can cause you to leave it on all of the time, hardly an environmentally friendly practice. An obvious alternative to this is delivery via mobile phone (text messaging would be handy for those without web enabled handsets) or displaying the time until the next arrivals at well used bus stops like what is in place in Edinburgh. In reality, I can see this type of installation having to await the outcome of the current pilot but I still feel that it’s where things should be headed.