iBus 2 (filling up 15 characters :-( )

Is it too early to say how this will affect the legacy Countdown API?

Thanks in advance,


P.S. Adding the Running Number / Block Number to the data feed would make so many of our users happy! :wink:

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That interesting press release includes this information which is not directly related to the thread:
Since March 2023, TfL has been installing a wave of new bus Countdown boards across every borough in the capital. More than 300 additional signs have been installed to date, boosting the overall number of boards to almost 3000 displays, more than any other UK authority.

The original boards were all hung from the front of the shelter roof where they can be seen even when there is a large queue. The larger and prettier new ones I have seen are all mounted flat on the side of the shelter. Given even a modest queue this makes it difficult to watch them continually and with a large queue they can be virtually obscured.

This raises the question of how well TfL consulted users before finalising that design. With more relevance to this thread, will they do better before implementing iBus2? I have only seen a few new boards so apologies in advance to TfL if those were not typical of all the planned additions.

Hi, not wishing to dodge the original question of this thread (which I’ll leave to colleagues more involved in it than I am to answer), but I wanted to address these specific concerns.

The large colour screens you’ll find at a small number of bus shelters are really just a trial. We wanted to see how people would react to them and whether they would find them useful. Crucially, we did not remove any dot-matrix screens as part of the trial (indeed, you’ll find bus stops with both a dot-matrix and a colour screen).

It didn’t take long for us to realise that the placement of the colour screens really aren’t ideal. Whether that’s because you can’t see the screen when people are sitting in front of it, or because of lighting conditions. We asked people waiting at the bus stops for their thoughts, and they said much the same thing. So we are very much aware of those issues.

As you suggested in your last paragraph, these colour screens are not our standard Countdown sign. So I believe the new Countdown signs mentioned in that press release would be the familiar dot-matrix displays.

iBus and Countdown are, although related, somewhat different systems, so the Countdown signs themselves aren’t directly part of iBus 2. There is a separate Countdown 3 project which does cover signs.

Thanks @LeonByford for your prompt and usual informative reply. Also for confirmation that the screens I have seen are not the model for future additions. For information, the screens I mentioned are all at stops without a conventional countdown board and as far as I remember all appeared when new shelters were installed.

Hi, what do those mean? Thank you!

It is the number allocated on the day to a particular vehicle, which then operates on a given programme, or block of journeys. In the olden days you would see these on the side of buses next to the garage code, so you might have seen WN31-40 allocated to the ten buses due to operate on a particular route. This was an important visual cue for roadside inspectors in assessing that buses were (or were not) where they should be.

You don’t see a lot of roadside inspectors these days and you may not see the running numbers on the buses any more but they are still used in the system. If you look at any bus working timetable you will see them there, alongside the duty number for the driver. Of course a bus can be driven by several drivers during the day and a driver will usually drive a different bus after their mid-shift break.

Hope that helps.

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