The London iBus System Turns 10 - Can You Remember Life Without It?

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 61 months ago

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Last Updated 30 April 2019

The London iBus System Turns 10 - Can You Remember Life Without It?

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Photo: Transport for London

iBus. Sounds a bit like an iPhone parody doesn't it?

However, it's nothing of the sort. It's the system on board buses that provides the audiovisual announcements — the ones that announce which stop the bus is about to arrive at — and it's been on TfL services for 10 years.

The service is a boon to anyone with visual or hearing impairments, alerting them to the bus' location. It also provides open data to third party navigation apps, such as Citymapper, to let them know how far away the next bus is. It also allows service controllers at bus garages to see the real-time progress of buses, and can manage the whole route more effectively.

Photo: Transport for London

The system very briefly earned the ire of most Londoners in early 2018, when a new announcement was introduced: "Please hold on, the bus is about to move." Apart from that one misstep, we think the system is universally well regarded by people — unless you hate it, in which case explain why in the comments below.

We're regularly reminded of how useful the system is when we travel abroad. Plenty of countries that don't have a comparable system have us nervously checking our smartphone's GPS throughout a journey. It's so much simpler on a London bus.

Transport for All Chair, Alan Benson said:

Since its introduction the iBus system has become fundamental to travelling in London. It's ubiquitous. It's embedded in the daily travel experience of millions of passengers. We don't realise how important it is, how much we all rely on it, until we leave London and use a bus that doesn't have it. This system intended to aid disabled people makes London buses easier and more accessible for everyone. iBus is the perfect example of the benefits of inclusivity.