Video: New Bus Technology Spots Available Seats Upstairs

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 29 months ago
Video: New Bus Technology Spots Available Seats Upstairs

Ever wanted to know if there are seats available upstairs on a bus, without making that slightly awkward exploratory climb? Well, TfL is currently testing out a new piece of technology which allows passengers on the lower deck to see exactly how many seats there are upstairs — and where they are.

The scheme uses the existing CCTV technology and merges it with software that ‘sees’ how many seats are available, projecting the results onto video screens around the bus (two on the bottom deck and one on the top). If successful, it may be extended across the capital on a variety of busy bus routes.

We hopped on the guinea pig 141 bus to find out more.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Last Updated 18 December 2015


Awesome! very clever


It definitely should have some green LEDs as he mentioned towards the end of the video. I wouldn't expect people to stop and gawk at a screen, holding up everyone else, to find out if a seat is available ;)

Francesca Fenn

I can see some fun games with friends could ensue... I'm in!


Of course, part of the problem on some routes (e.g. my local 87 / 77) is that there are plenty of seats upstairs, but seemingly choose to stay downstairs and stand for simple reasons such as

- They have bags / lots of shopping
- They are only going a few stops, so don't think it's 'worth it'
- They are less mobile and don't want to use the stairs

Would be very interesting to do a few trials and see if this system does actually lead to bevaioural changes. I worry it won't have as big of an impact as people think it might...


Nothing new in this world or the Bus industry, we had a similar system in 1968 on our buses in Oldham.
There was a display in the driver's cab, and on the staircase so passengers could see if there were seats available.
Only taken 45 years to catch on in the Capital.

tapesh majumdar

Excellent news for rush hour bus commuters like me . It does avoid the climb to the packed upper deck and then sheepishly walk down !!


I guess it uses XOR calculation to identify the persons from the background, isn't it?