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Old January 21st 09, 07:53 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

There's a been a fair amount of discussion here on the new improved bus
information systems, but while the buses are chatting merrily away to us,
the 'countdown' system is decaying rapidly, with frequent breakdowns,
invisible buses, ghost buses and - lately - a spate of displays being
removed rather than repaired.

I know that some of the problems are are due to depots / drivers not setting
up their equipment properly (Firstbus is a major contender for an award),
but I thought the new system was going to include updated 'countdown'?

Let's face it, for most of us, the on-bus stuff is a minor inconvenience, or
a minor boon - it's while you wait for the bus that you are most likely to
need info.

Does anyone have any useful info / links?
--
Andrew


If you stand up and be counted,
From time to time you may get yourself knocked down.
But remember this:
A man flattened by an opponent can get up again.
A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.
- Thomas J. Watson Jr.



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Old January 21st 09, 10:53 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?


On 21 Jan, 08:53, "Andrew Heenan" wrote:
There's a been a fair amount of discussion here on the new improved bus
information systems, but while the buses are chatting merrily away to us,
the 'countdown' system is decaying rapidly, with frequent breakdowns,
invisible buses, ghost buses and - lately - a spate of displays being
removed rather than repaired.

I know that some of the problems are are due to depots / drivers not setting
up their equipment properly (Firstbus is a major contender for an award),
but I thought the new system was going to include updated 'countdown'?

Let's face it, for most of us, the on-bus stuff is a minor inconvenience, or
a minor boon - it's while you wait for the bus that you are most likely to
need info.

Does anyone have any useful info / links?


I thought at first you were talking about the plan for a new iconic
bus shelter design for London that Boris dropped on getting elected -
but no, 'tis about Countdown.

I too was under the impression that the iBus project was going to mean
that the information provided to Countdown displays at bus stops was
going to be more accurate. When it works it's great - but it is, as
you imply, rather frustrating when it doesn't.
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Old January 21st 09, 11:53 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

On Jan 21, 11:53*am, Mizter T wrote:
I thought at first you were talking about the plan for a new iconic
bus shelter design for London that Boris dropped on getting elected -


Pity he can't drop his stupid obsession with getting rid of bendy
buses too.

B2003


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Old January 21st 09, 12:32 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

On Jan 21, 8:53*am, "Andrew Heenan" wrote:
There's a been a fair amount of discussion here on the new improved bus
information systems, but while the buses are chatting merrily away to us,
the 'countdown' system is decaying rapidly, with frequent breakdowns,
invisible buses, ghost buses and - lately - *a spate of displays being
removed rather than repaired.


I agree it's not working terribly well - at least based on the
examples I see.

I know that some of the problems are are due to depots / drivers not setting
up their equipment properly (Firstbus is a major contender for an award),
but I thought the new system was going to include updated 'countdown'?


We need to keep in mind that Countdown is a system in its own right
with its own equipment. I-Bus is a separate system and has, from my
experience, some issues of its own about reliability. Barely 50% of
trips I make have a fully functioning system (in terms of output to
passengers) but I do use a lot of vehicles from Tottenham Garage
(which was the pilot installation and therefore may be more "buggy" as
a result).

I'm really not sure whether the interface to Countdown displays is
part of the I-Bus contract or not although the info on the TfL website
implies that bus stop displays are linked in to I-Bus. Certainly an
expansion of stop displays (an extra 2000) is a separate and second
phase and I don't know if it is still in the TfL Business Plan - a
check of that document on the TfL website might help. I also don't
know whether existing Countdown displays are still working off the
original vehicle mounted equipment and beacons or whether they are
linked into the overall I-Bus central system. If it the former of
these two options then I can understand why performance may be poor as
the system is effectively obsolete.

It's interesting that you cite quite clear reasons for problems with
FirstBus's I-Bus performance - how do you know it is garage or driver
set up that is the cause of the problems? I've recently experienced
buses not knowing where they are (* on the display) and then springing
in to life further on. Drivers can't use the equipment if the bus is
moving and the change in the display happened while we were moving.
Perhaps a signal to and from the bus was magically restored?

Let's face it, for most of us, the on-bus stuff is a minor inconvenience, or
a minor boon - it's while you wait for the bus that you are most likely to
need info.


Actually the one thing I want to see happen is the (manifesto) promise
to give people access to real time stop depature info via the
Internet. This would be a real benefit and given the spread of wi-fi
and portable data access I can see it being a real winner for people -
I would certainly use it. However I have not seen one word about it in
TfL minutes or any other report or in Mayor questions. I hope it has
not died a quiet death.

Paul Corfield
via Google.
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Old January 21st 09, 12:45 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

I look forward to the day when all buses have GPS transponder on
board. I can look at the google maps and see where every bus is on
the route. I can them time leaving the pub / home / work confident
that a bus will be along shortly.

Technically possible now. That would be progress


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Old January 21st 09, 12:52 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

"Paul Corfield" wrote :
It's interesting that you cite quite clear reasons for problems
with FirstBus's I-Bus performance - how do you know it is
garage or driver set up that is the cause of the problems?
I've recently experienced buses not knowing where they are
(* on the display) and then springing in to life further on.
Drivers can't use the equipment if the bus is moving and the
change in the display happened while we were moving.
Perhaps a signal to and from the bus was magically restored?


Not i-bus problems - Countdown problems. I don't think the two are linked
(yet), and I've read somewhere that much of the countdown system is
obsolete, which is why I'm wonderuing about how / when renewal will happen.

All services are prone to the occasional 'lost on route' (*), this is a
feature(!) of countdown (and i-bus to some degree) and large lorries / other
buses.

But it's a personal experience thing - I take a number of bus routes
regularly, mostly East London, Arriva (N), Metroline and First (E). Buses
appearing from nowhere is a rare occurrence on other routes - but fairly
frequent on First. Buses counting down for ten minutes then disappearing
forever (ghost buses) appears to me to be more frequent on F services, too.
And this is routes where the incoming 1+ mile is shared with other services
that have no problems.

I've no way of knowing if it's driver or bus that's 'wrong' - but it sure
ain't 'the system'!

And while we're naming names - I've found any Countdown issues with Arriva
and East London to be as rare as Hen's Teeth, though I've seen them here and
there with most other companies from time to time.

Spend half an hour waiting at the Angel on bitterly cold evenings, and you
notice these things!
--

Andrew



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Old January 21st 09, 01:30 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?


On 21 Jan, 12:53, wrote:

On Jan 21, 11:53*am, Mizter T wrote:

I thought at first you were talking about the plan for a new iconic
bus shelter design for London that Boris dropped on getting elected -


Pity he can't drop his stupid obsession with getting rid of bendy
buses too.


Hallelujah to that ...

.... but now I'm waiting for something to happen as a result of me
agreeing with Boltar ... like the fabric of the universe tearing
apart! ;-)

(But no, I'm not up for rehearsing the pro-and-anti bendy arguments
again, at least not now, in case anyone takes the above as an
invitation to do start doing so!).
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Old January 21st 09, 01:42 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?


On 21 Jan, 13:52, "Andrew Heenan" wrote:

"Paul Corfield" wrote :

It's interesting that you cite quite clear reasons for problems
with FirstBus's I-Bus performance - how do you know it is
garage or driver set up that is the cause of the problems?
I've recently experienced buses not knowing where they are
(* on the display) and then springing in to life further on.
Drivers can't use the equipment if the bus is moving and the
change in the display happened while we were moving.
Perhaps a signal to and from the bus was magically restored?


Not i-bus problems - Countdown problems. I don't think the two are linked
(yet), and I've read somewhere that much of the countdown system is
obsolete, which is why I'm wonderuing about how / when renewal will happen.

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Old January 21st 09, 01:54 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?


On 21 Jan, 13:32, Paul Corfield wrote:

On Jan 21, 8:53*am, "Andrew Heenan" wrote:

There's a been a fair amount of discussion here on the new improved bus
information systems, but while the buses are chatting merrily away to us,
the 'countdown' system is decaying rapidly, with frequent breakdowns,
invisible buses, ghost buses and - lately - *a spate of displays being
removed rather than repaired.


I agree it's not working terribly well - at least based on the
examples I see.

I know that some of the problems are are due to depots / drivers not setting
up their equipment properly (Firstbus is a major contender for an award),
but I thought the new system was going to include updated 'countdown'?


We need to keep in mind that Countdown is a system in its own right
with its own equipment. I-Bus is a separate system and has, from my
experience, some issues of its own about reliability. Barely 50% of
trips I make have a fully functioning system (in terms of output to
passengers) but I do use a lot of vehicles from Tottenham Garage
(which was the pilot installation and therefore may be more "buggy" as
a result).

I'm really not sure whether the interface to Countdown displays is
part of the I-Bus contract or not although the info on the TfL website
implies that bus stop displays are linked in to I-Bus. Certainly an
expansion of stop displays (an extra 2000) is a separate and second
phase and I don't know if it is still in the TfL Business Plan - a
check of that document on the TfL website might help. *I also don't
know whether existing Countdown displays are still working off the
original vehicle mounted equipment and beacons or whether they are
linked into the overall I-Bus central system. *If it the former of
these two options then I can understand why performance may be poor as
the system is effectively obsolete.


I take it to mean that data from the bus beacon system is now only
used for Countdown, if indeed that?


It's interesting that you cite quite clear reasons for problems with
FirstBus's I-Bus performance - how do you know it is garage or driver
set up that is the cause of the problems? *I've recently experienced
buses not knowing where they are (* on the display) and then springing
in to life further on. Drivers can't use the equipment if the bus is
moving and the change in the display happened while we were moving.
Perhaps a signal to and from the bus was magically restored?

Let's face it, for most of us, the on-bus stuff is a minor inconvenience, or
a minor boon - it's while you wait for the bus that you are most likely to
need info.


Actually the one thing I want to see happen is the (manifesto) promise
to give people access to real time stop depature info via the
Internet. *This would be a real benefit and given the spread of wi-fi
and portable data access I can see it being a real winner for people -
I would certainly use it. However I have not seen one word about it in
TfL minutes or any other report or in Mayor questions. I hope it has
not died a quiet death.


Only any good and worth doing if the information provided were to be
really pretty reliable - if it wasn't, then the early adopter 'geeks'
who would rapidly test it to destruction would quickly pass a poor
verdict on it, which in turn would likely filter down to the populus
at large. Of course it could be released initially as a 'beta'
version, but still it would need to work (much) more often than not.

If the Countdown system is not yet linked to the i-Bus data stream
then that definitely needs to be sorted first. Then there's issues
about whether i-Bus is yet working properly and reliably enough - you
know all this, it's some the cheek of me to even mention it really!

I wonder if there might also be potential issues about the IT system
architecture needed to make this happen - in other words enough
servers and data capacity to meet what could be quite a significant
demand.
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Old January 21st 09, 10:42 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Oi! Boris! Wot abaht the bus shelters?

On Wed, 21 Jan 2009 05:45:52 -0800 (PST),
wrote:

Technically possible now. That would be progress


I've seen that done, though I forget where it was.

Neil

--
Neil Williams
Put my first name before the at to reply.


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