New systems give smoother bus journeys
Friday, 15 March 2013
One of people's biggest fears when using the bus is missing their stop and not getting off in time or at the right place. A new audio visual system fitted to Velvet buses will now allow passengers in the Eastleigh and Southampton area to know when their stop is coming up.
Velvet, which operates 17 bus routes in South Hampshire, is due to complete a project in April to fit an audio visual system to all their buses so that passengers will be able to see and hear which bus stop is next. The Next Stop Audio Visual system has already been fitted to Velvet buses on the A, S2, E8, C routes in the Southampton and Eastleigh area and will shortly be rolled out to the Winchester to Petersfield 67 route.
The system works by satellite tracking of buses in real time and linking this to the GPS coordinates of the bus stops. Further improvements planned include a study to understand which voices are easiest for passengers to understand and providing real time information on disruptions.
A successful joint bid from bus operators and local authorities secured funding from the Department for Transport's Better Bus Area Fund, and a range of initiatives are being put in place to improve bus travel in South Hampshire, making bus travel a more viable option to car travel.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council and Chairman for Transport for South Hampshire & Isle of Wight said:
"We know that one of the aspects of bus travel most likely to put people off trying the bus is not knowing when their stop is coming up. This can be disconcerting for many people, especially those with a visual or hearing disability. I am delighted that the Transport for South Hampshire and Isle of Wight Better Bus Area Fund project has funded the installation of this new audio visual system and I hope that this will break down some of the barriers that may dissuade people from using our excellent bus network. By making bus travel more comfortable, attractive and reliable, more people may consider travelling this way for some of their journeys, therefore contributing to reduced congestion on the roads."
Phil Stockley, managing director of Velvet said:
"We are always looking for new and innovative ways to make bus travel more attractive for potential users. This new system fits the bill perfectly, and we are delighted to have the support of the Department for Transport and Transport for South Hampshire and Isle of Wight to bring it to fruition. Customers are already telling us that they feel less anxious about missing their stop and will use the bus more often as a result, and that has to be good for everyone."
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