#phantombuses: How real are the Real Time Information screen announcements at bus stops?

While public transport authority Centro have said there are over 600 bus stops in Birmingham with Real Time Information (RTI) screens, information is not available on how many of them are functioning.

To find out more about the state of maintenance of these screens, recently Brum Transport tried out #phantombuses  – a crowd sourced experiment at gathering real time data on bus stops in the city.

We liveblogged our observations from these four different locations in the city:

These included:

  • Arrival times announced on the RTI screens

 

  • Mysterious disappearances of the bus numbers from the screens

 

  • Time when buses actually turned up at the stops

 

  • Faulty RTI screens at bus stops:

While some of these bus stops had the RTI screens, other bus users relied on the Network West Midlands phone app, some others had only the paper timetable at the bus stops to refer to.

The data on the number of bus stops was revealed through a freedom of information (FOI) request filed earlier by Brum Transport.

(The FOI figures here referring to ‘Birmingham’ include the city centre and the wider Birmingham area.)

Another round of #phantombuses due to traffic gridlock

A large number of commuters were left staring at bus stop Real Time Information screens and mobile phone apps as the traffic came to a grinding halt this afternoon.

About an hour later it was confirmed by the National Express twitter updates that there has been a gridlock in the city with the emergency landing of an air ambulance near the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

 

 

Despite repeated attempts, there were no comments or confirmation available from the West Midlands Ambulance Service press office on this. Here is what commuters said on twitter:  

Most of the tweets and pictures today afternoon were sent by Lois Stanley, a commuter who has been a part of the crowd sources #phantombuses initiative for two weeks now.

Every five minutes? But timetabled every 10 minutes!

 

every five minutes Photo by Kate Gordon for the #phantombuses  – crowd sourced data gathering experiment started by Brum Transport on 25 July.

Liveblog for crowd sourced experiment on bus stops

We’re trying out #phantombuses – a crowd sourced data gathering experiment today.

Those who have volunteered for it are going out and monitor the buses and the time displays on the Real Time Information screens at bus stops and the Network West Midlands phone app.

The first round in the morning from 8-10am with @paulbradshaw, @nebolland, @Feltip1982 and me (@pupulchatterjee):