New technology is making taking public transport easier than ever

Posted: 16 August 2013 | Centro | No comments yet

Passengers using the West Midlands bus, train and tram network are benefitting from a raft of new technology…

Centro's Network West Midlands application

Passengers using the West Midlands bus, train and tram network are benefitting from a raft of new technology being introduced by transport authority Centro.

Centro's Network West Midlands application

Centro’s Network West Midlands application

Cutting edge online and mobile tools are being increasingly harnessed by Centro to make it easier than ever for passengers to plan their journeys, get up-to-the-minute information on services and to report anti-social-behaviour – all at the touch of a button.

A range of free smartphone applications can now be downloaded directly to passengers’ Android device or iPhone.

These include the NetNav app which allows users to plan their bus, train or tram journeys while the Network West Midlands app provides real time information and locates nearest public transport stops and stations using GPS technology.

Both apps provide updates on service delays and incidents to allow passengers to amend their journeys on the move.

The Safer Travel Partnership, which consists of Centro, West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and transport operators, has also launched the See Something, Say Something app which allows users to report anti-social-behaviour directly to officers.

Innovative ticketing options which allow cashless travel for bus passengers using the Swift smartcard will be rolled out over the coming year following a landmark £81million deal between Centro and operator National Express West Midlands.

Meanwhile passengers can keep up to date with latest travel information, report problems with infrastructure and get advice on ticket options at Centro’s passenger information Twitter account @Networkwm.

Centro Vice Chair, Cllr Kath Hartley, said: “The rise of technology means that more than ever we need to make sure the services we provide meet the demands of modern passengers.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure that we keep looking for ways to make it even easier for people to take public transport and the widespread use of real time information is just one example of this.

“Having up to the minute updates on services and digital help in planning your journeys is really important these days and it is great that people now have this kind of information at their fingertips.

“We will continue to listen to feedback and explore the latest technological opportunities to help us find ways to make transport even easier for our passengers in the future.”

More than 75 per cent of the region’s buses can now be tracked using real time information after National Express fitted their 1,687-strong fleet with GPS devices.

The services are monitored from a state-of-the-art £1.6 million control centre which opened earlier this year.

An overhaul of the transport information website means that information is now included for out-of-county areas like Redditch and Staffordshire, while information on the best value tickets and offers are also available.

The website also features an updated journey planner which allows users to plot their routes using public transport and those wanting to get some exercise as part of their trip can choose to build in a period of walking or cycling to their journey.

Residents planning to spend more time travelling on foot can make use of the ‘Network West Midlands WalkIt’ app which is available for both Android and iPhones.

The app uses GPS technology to map walking routes and allows users to choose between the fastest possible route, or to take a more scenic path.

Passengers using the See Something, Say Something app can report anti-social behaviour, like smoking on public transport, simply by opening the app and uploading details of what they have seen.

An officer will then contact the passenger for further details to help build up a picture or pattern of anti-social behaviour which can then be targeted.

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