TfL bus time estimations at bus stops vers apps

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infobleep

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I'm at stop A in New Malden, London.

At the bus stop it says the next four buses are due in:
5 mins
5 mins
12 mins
17 mins

On my phone app, Bus Countdown Pro, though it says:
5 mins
5 mins
14 mins
17 mins

Do they have a different way of estimating the times at the bus stops to the apps?

At one stage I think all the times didn't match.

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PeterC

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I thought that the source was the same. I suspect that there is a slight lag in getting the data to the phone
 

Deerfold

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The Countdown sign will not count up, but most apps will.

The prediction at 14 minutes will have been 12 at one point and then increased.
 

BestWestern

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This stuff always strikes me as completely pointless. A bus could '5 minutes' away for half an hour if it stops moving for whatever reason.
 

PeterC

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This stuff always strikes me as completely pointless. A bus could '5 minutes' away for half an hour if it stops moving for whatever reason.
Agree, a broken down bus just round the caller will always be a few minutes away as long as the GPS kit is working. I have the traveline app and the enhancement that I would like would be to have the bus's actual location shown on the map as well.

At least in London the kit is standard on the buses. Where I live in the Home Counties it is pot luck on Arriva and Carousel and you just get the scheduled departure time for the independents which normally operate more complex routes with higher probabiliy of delays.
 

Be3G

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I've witnessed something similar to infobleep too. There is one bus stop I know of with a countdown screen where the times consistently don't match what apps show, even though the bus stops before and after do match their respective app-based bus times. I've never got to the bottom of why that is, but my best guess is that the times shown on the screen at the stop are times for a different location – i.e. further up or down the road – than where the stop is actually located. (So perhaps the screen has been given the wrong location coordinates or something like that.)
 

Deerfold

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I've witnessed something similar to infobleep too. There is one bus stop I know of with a countdown screen where the times consistently don't match what apps show, even though the bus stops before and after do match their respective app-based bus times. I've never got to the bottom of why that is, but my best guess is that the times shown on the screen at the stop are times for a different location – i.e. further up or down the road – than where the stop is actually located. (So perhaps the screen has been given the wrong location coordinates or something like that.)


That's possible and very easy for TfLto check.
Have you reported it?
 

Cundy66

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Agree, a broken down bus just round the caller will always be a few minutes away as long as the GPS kit is working. I have the traveline app and the enhancement that I would like would be to have the bus's actual location shown on the map as well.

At least in London the kit is standard on the buses. Where I live in the Home Counties it is pot luck on Arriva and Carousel and you just get the scheduled departure time for the independents which normally operate more complex routes with higher probabiliy of delays.

Not always the case with broken down buses, here in Bedford, I was told by the council that it averages the time the previous three busses took to get to the stop. Hence when a bus had broken down and Stagecoach didn't notify passengers at the bus station, I was waiting for a bus showing 5,4,3,2,Due and it had broken down hours earlier and no replacement was put on to cover it.

Maybe it's just in Bedford this system of unorganised chaos.
 

infobleep

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I thought that the source was the same. I suspect that there is a slight lag in getting the data to the phone
I find how this works fascinating.

What I find with Countdown Pro is that when the bus it gets to the actually being at the stop, it says the bus is 59 minutes away and if you click on it, to see the route, it asks you for the direction you wish to travel. Upon selecting that it shows the whole route and no bus times.

I'll admit I didn't report this to them but I'm sure they are aware. I assumed it was due to how they process the data feed they get or how the data feed they get works. It's not a major issue for me.

I did read earlier this year that TfL wanted to include how delayed a bus is, in future. That would be interesting and useful. If you see loads of buses showing with delays, but no reason given for the delays, you can decide if it's quicker to walk or there's an alternative route.

Of course not every bus stop has countdown screens. There are some bus stops where this would be useful and it doesn't exist. I assume there is an infrastructure reason why they can't be plummed in.

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ChrisPJ

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This stuff always strikes me as completely pointless. A bus could '5 minutes' away for half an hour if it stops moving for whatever reason.

There should be some algorithm that changes the predicted output to "DELAY" if it detects that the vehicle in question is making less than a certain amount of progress.

That said these things can only ever be viewed as a prediction not a guarantee.
 

Busaholic

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The minutes quoted for each individual bus should be treated as an 'aspiration', and we all know that not all aspirations are realised.
 

infobleep

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The minutes quoted for each individual bus should be treated as an 'aspiration', and we all know that not all aspirations are realised.
But which should passengers aspire to, the bus app or the bus countdown display? Lol

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jon0844

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Not always the case with broken down buses, here in Bedford, I was told by the council that it averages the time the previous three busses took to get to the stop. Hence when a bus had broken down and Stagecoach didn't notify passengers at the bus station, I was waiting for a bus showing 5,4,3,2,Due and it had broken down hours earlier and no replacement was put on to cover it.

Maybe it's just in Bedford this system of unorganised chaos.
Hertfordshire is just as bad. No way to show a delay or cancellation, and only today I was on a bus that was 3 minutes away on the screen at the stop.

And to top it off, HCC doesn't provide open data for apps, including some of its own. It has many ways to display timetable data and some URLs just default to the timetable 90% of the time. The official m-ticket app doesn't show real time data at all now (it did before, many months ago).

What's amazing is that it doesn't get fixed. Nobody seems to care.

Londoners don't realise just how good they've got it.
 

Deerfold

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I find how this works fascinating.

What I find with Countdown Pro is that when the bus it gets to the actually being at the stop, it says the bus is 59 minutes away and if you click on it, to see the route, it asks you for the direction you wish to travel. Upon selecting that it shows the whole route and no bus times.

That looks like a bug with that app.

The data steam used does not contain predictions for buses which are more than 30 minutes away.
 

infobleep

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That looks like a bug with that app.

The data steam used does not contain predictions for buses which are more than 30 minutes away.
Um sure your right. The bus itself of course is at the bus stop.

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infobleep

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Hertfordshire is just as bad. No way to show a delay or cancellation, and only today I was on a bus that was 3 minutes away on the screen at the stop.

And to top it off, HCC doesn't provide open data for apps, including some of its own. It has many ways to display timetable data and some URLs just default to the timetable 90% of the time. The official m-ticket app doesn't show real time data at all now (it did before, many months ago).

What's amazing is that it doesn't get fixed. Nobody seems to care.

Londoners don't realise just how good they've got it.
Surrey is a bit like that. One wonders why put in digital displays if it just uses timetable.

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Stompehh

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There should be some algorithm that changes the predicted output to "DELAY" if it detects that the vehicle in question is making less than a certain amount of progress.
The system used in Bristol does exactly this already
 

Andyh82

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It's possible to add cancellations in the system used in West Yorks but it isn't universally used, usually it just defaults to the timetabled time and then drops off without appearing.

Most of the general public doesn't understand the difference between the timetable time and the real times and also doesn't or won't understand why a bus 2 mins away in gridlocked traffic doesn't actually appear in 2 mins.
 
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