Bus stop blues? There's an app for that
COMMUTERS will be able to avoid standing around in the cold waiting for a bus by using a new internet, smartphone and text message service.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has promised Dublin Bus users up-to-the-minute information on when their bus will arrive at any one of 5,000 stops across the city, avoiding the need to wait at bus stops. But there were teething problems with the new 'real time passenger information' (RTPI) service yesterday, with the text service proving less than reliable. The Irish Independent tested the service on O'Connell Street, but buses were consistently later than advertised -- up to nine minutes in some cases.
The NTA said that information sent was accurate at the time it was sent, but that there was "uncertainty" if texts were sent way in advance of expected boarding times.
"If someone is planning a trip, for example, they should text closer to their planned time of departure," a spokeswoman said.
"If there's a half-an-hour gap between when you send the text and when you need to get the bus, chances are that because of traffic considerations there will be changes."
The system works by using satellite technology to track the progress of buses through the city.
Every stop has been given a unique number and passengers can check when the next four buses are due to arrive by checking online at www.dublinbus.ie/rtpi, downloading the app or texting the bus stop and route number to 53035. Texts cost 30c and all revenue will be used to operate the service, the NTA said. The smartphone app is available now for the iPhone, while Android users must wait until the end of November
"We have to embrace technology to make public transport more attractive. This is a major step forward for public transport in Ireland," Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly said. The NTA said the service would be extended to Bus Eireann, Iarnrod Eireann and the Luas by early next year.