First says sorry for bus stop screen faults

January 29 2019

BUS operator First has apologised after major glitches caused the real-time information at Bristol bus stops to show “fictitious” places and wrong details.

Councillors fear the system has “collapsed” and that the situation is now so bad that it is driving people back into cars, abandoning public transport.

RTI screens at bus stops, which are owned by the council, are supposed to show passengers accurate due times of buses serving each stop.

Bristol City Council manages the central system and has a contract with an RTI provider to display the relevant information, which comes from a regular feed from the ticket machine on each bus, giving its current location.

But transport campaigner David Redgewell told Bristol’s overview and scrutiny management board that the bus network’s RTI was “failing” passengers and displaying “phantom” locations.

“They have been showing the wrong information, no information or fictitious destinations where no buses go,” he said.

“It’s very confusing for everyone who doesn’t know the city and it needs some urgent scrutiny. We cannot carry on like this.”

A council spokeswoman said: “With over 600 buses running in Bristol, it is a challenging task to make sure each and every bus is correctly tracked and mapped against its timetable.

“Contractors managing both First’s ticket machines and the council’s real-time information system have been instructed to resolve the issues while we continue testing the way the two systems interact.”

First West of England commercial director Rob Pymm said: “We know how important the real-time information at bus stops is for our customers, and we are currently working with Bristol City Council to address an issue that is affecting the accuracy of the RTI for some buses.

“We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”