At the last full meeting of Bury Council my colleague Councillor Tim Pickstone asked a question of Bury’s representatives to Transport for Greater Manchester about their plans for ‘Real-Time’ bus information at bus stops.
People might be familiar with the signs that we now have on Metrolink Platorms which show (after many years of them being unused) show what time the next trams are coming. People might also have seen the same thing at bus stops in other towns in this country, and also abroad.
The answer seems to be that Greater Manchester has NO plans for real-time bus information displays at bus stops. It does have plans for a ‘smart phone’ app which would enable people to look on their phone when the next buses were coming to their stop. This is great, but obviously no use at all for people who do not have smart phones, which is probably includes quite a few people who use buses.
What people have found in other places is that bus stop information increases people’s confidence in the bus system, and is one of the ways that people can be encouraged to use public transport more.
So why not Greater Manchester? We invested the computer here, surely we can manage some automated signs on key bus stops (I don’t think anyone is suggesting every single bus stop, but at important/busy stops this could be very useful.)
The answer we were given is: “I take your point but we’ve got many thousands of bus stops in Greater Manchester so for example we might be able to have them in somewhere like Bournemouth but Greater Manchester is just too big.”
We asked friends from around the country and here are just some of the places – big and small – that already have real-time bus information at their bus stops.
London (all over, not just central London)
Greater Manchester needs to do better!