Have You Tried TfL's Live Online Bus Departure Info?

Lindsey
By Lindsey Last edited 79 months ago
Have You Tried TfL's Live Online Bus Departure Info?

If you get frustrated hanging around at bus stops with no Countdown display, mentally doing the walk/wait gamble and trying to make journey planning decisions with little more information to hand than a contestant on Deal or no Deal then you should be interested to try out TfL's Live Bus Departure website.

The site is only in Beta testing at present but given it was spotted over the weekend and widely tweeted, it'll be getting a proper workout this week. It looks good, simple and effective, locating our local stop from the road name and listing the next expected bus services. A mobile version works equally well for us on iPhone and we'd expect TfL to release the data for app developers once they've properly launched the site.

Top tweets proclaimed the tool "brilliant", "bizarrely addictive" and "awesome" but will it really make a difference to how we approach bus journeys?

Diamond Geezer's calling it a "game changer for public transport access in London" with the potential to "make a genuine difference to [his] quality of life". Being able to plan journeys with more precision is certainly welcome for those who live outside Central London and rely on one bus route. Getting to the bus stop as your double decker pulls up can mean valuable time saved and much less getting cross.

But some of us still don't bother checking before we travel - despite all the emails and posters from TfL. Having this information available sounds ace, but we wonder how many passengers will use it. Even if we know the 232 is coming in the next 7 and 24 minutes, will we manage to leave the house and walk to the bus stop timed to the minute? And won't the traffic on the North Circular will probably balls up the expected time by the time we get to the end of the road anyway?

What do you think — have you tried it? Give it a go this week and let us know what you think.

Last Updated 05 September 2011

Gavin Baxter

Used it twice yesterday, seemed to work well. Even coped with buses around Tower Hill being utterly buggered by the Sky Ride thing. As an aside, with the roads shut to everything but bikes why do some bicyclists still find the need to ride on the pavement? 

Rachel

It's all very well if you have a smart phone but if you don't, then it's not that helpful. TfL have removed the countdown from my nearest bus-stop "in order to roll out the new system" but it doesn't help people stood there wondering when the next 106 is coming.

stopsatgreen

Used it yesterday, worked a treat. Though would be *much* more useful if they rolled out screens to all bus stops, instead of just the handful that have them already.

Kev

I used it at the weekend a couple of times, it's great so far, was travelling from Leyton to Hackney Wick, a journey I'd usually do by train and it saved me waiting 18 minutes for a 276 by helpfully informing me that a 488 would be along in 2 minutes if I stayed on my W15 for one stop further. 
It still wasn't any faster than getting the train in the first place but was useful to try the site out and I'll definitely use it more often now, particularly living somewhere where buses that seem somewhat disconnected from their printed timetables...

Vinnie

I found that there were too many screens to get to your desired stop's page. Perhaps TfL should consider displaying QR codes at their stops that'll direct passengers to the correct page straight away.

Johnny English

I tried it today on the street, on my iPhone and it worked like a dream. It saved me a few minutes on my journey where I have a choice of routes to follow. In future I can see it saving me a lot more trouble when I am considering going on a route that only runs every 20 minutes. The web page does seem a bit clunky at first, but you can avoid having to go through too many screens on subsequent uses by saving your favourite stops. This is also a first stab by TfL. Just like the journey planner service it pioneered, I don't think it will be long before some clever app developers come up with much better ways of presenting the information and sell it as an app to smartphone users.

Public Strategist

It may well always be a minority sport, but it will save time and frustration for people who do use it - and if usage does hit a critical mass, it could even improve the regularity of the service, as I blogged on Friday.  If we all stop crowding onto late running overcrowded buses when we know there's another one just behind, likely to be emptier (and quite possibly overtaking the more crowded one somewhere along the way), it will help even out the lumpiness that's otherwise very hard to avoid. Leave it long enough, and we will forget why we ever used to think that buses came in threes.

RebeccaW

Used it to time when I left the gym on Saturday as the 31 has been a mess from Camden.
Worked brilliantly as I literally walked out of the gym and straight onto a bus which saved me from standing on Camden High Street cursing every double decker that passed which was not mine.
Big fan, and can't wait for the app which should be a little more user friendly.

Lone female

Standing in the dark at a London bus stop with no houses nearby I text the Live bus arrival SMS service to see when the next bus was due as the timetable wasn't being kept......it did not work, did not receive a reply.

Nick Chadwick

If you have an iPhone or iPad, and prefer to use a native app rather than a website, check out BusMate London. See nearest stops, set favourites, view live bus times for every bus stop in London, set reminders to tell you when your bus is nearly at your stop. It's only 69p. Check it out at http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app...

Cath Bennett

The app for Android is brilliant and is accurate to the minute.  It means that I can decide whether to run for the bus that I can see coming, or wait becaause I know there is another one 3 minutes behind.  On a cold night, I can wait inside the tube station then rush to the bus stop at the last minute.

I've been reccommending this to other people but I can't remember where I got the app from and now I can't find it on the tfl website or on Android market, any advice?