North of England bus operator Transdev has launched a new mobile app and website to boost customer confidence as they return to travel as lockdown restrictions on travel ease.
The bus company has been working in partnership with IT provider Passenger, to add the new feature to websites and mobile app.
Customers planning to make a journey on Transdev’s buses across Yorkshire and Lancashire will be able to check on their local bus operator’s website – and also very soon on its ‘Transdev Go’ mobile app – to see how many people are already on board the bus they plan to use.
The technology is powered by customers themselves as passengers will be able to add information on whether their bus is becoming busy directly onto the new system, helping others to make informed choices before they travel.
Customers on the bus can also use the feature to indicate whether a wheelchair bay on a bus is free, with this information carrying through to the live bus tracking on the app.
The company hopes that this will mean passengers needing the wheelchair bay will be able to see if the bay is free of occupied on the bus approaching their stop.
Transdev chief executive Alex Hornby said: “We have been working really hard to ensure that all our customers can return to the bus with confidence. SpaceChecker is simple to use and builds on the success of our live tracking feature, which already allows customers to trace the journey of their bus towards their stop.
“Having the room to spread out and observe social distancing is vital to helping customers feel safe and comfortable on board, complementing the range of other measures we have been introducing over the past few weeks. Using live information provided by our customers themselves, everyone with access to a mobile device will be able to see how busy their bus is.
“This means customers can choose to catch a later bus with more space available if the one they plan to use is nearly full – and combined with our plans to introduce many more buses and journeys from this Sunday, we think this new feature will be welcome news for everyone.”
The feature has been developed at pace by Passenger, which has been working with Transdev’s six local bus companies to get it up and running in time for the introduction of more journeys and extra buses across most of its routes from Sunday 31 May.
Passenger is working with Transdev and other bus industry colleagues to access and use additional data from hardware on buses, including ticket machines. As this becomes available, the new system will blend it with anonymous data supplied by customers to make monitoring of available space on buses even more effective.
Passenger chief executive Tom Quay says the new feature is based on crowdsourcing information from customers to make travel easier. He said: “Crowdsourcing relies on the power of the crowd to be effective – and if anyone knows how to get their crowd to help each other, Transdev do. The Transdev team are first class when it comes to communicating with their customers, and we wanted to really put this new system through its paces as quickly as possible to keep all essential journeys safe.”
The use of technology to deliver more information to customers is being backed by the Government. On 9 May, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is crucial that we take advantage of the UK’s digital expertise. With the right mobile apps, people can find out which parts of the transport network are overcrowded.”
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