Smartphone ‘app’ provides real time information boost

Passengers can keep track of hundreds more buses at the touch of a button following a major boost to real time information on a free smartphone application.

More than 75 per cent of the region’s buses are now providing live updates to transport authority Centro’s, Network West Midlands ‘app’.

The application, which has been downloaded by more than 20,000 West Midlands passengers, now displays real time information updates for all 1,687 of the region’s National Express buses.

Each of the fleet has been fitted with tracking devices which use GPS technology to pinpoint their location at any given time.

The information will feed the application, as well as information screens at bus stops and stations, to give passengers up to the minute updates on when their bus will arrive.

Centro vice chair Cllr Kath Hartley said: “We have worked closely with National Express to ensure that our app provides as much up to date information as possible and helps to meet the demands of the modern commuter.

“Knowing when your bus will arrive and being up to date on any delays can help you plan your journeys much more effectively and we are working with other operators to try and provide even more real time information in the future.”

Earlier this year National Express, which operates 77 per cent of the region’s buses, unveiled a £1.6 million AVL centre from which all services are monitored to help identify problems and cut response times.

Centro has contributed £500,000 to the scheme as part of its Smart Network, Smarter Choices project.

Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: "Customers tell us that knowing in real time when their bus is due to arrive at the stop is one of the best improvements we have made.

“This improvement is now coming to smartphones and customers will know when to leave the office, home or pub to get to their bus."

The app also uses to GPS technology to help users find their nearest bus, train or tram stop.

Those who regularly make the same journey can save favourite stops and stations to make it even easier to find out when the next services will arrive.

For more information visit the Network West Midlands website.

Published 3rd May 2013