TfL’s new real-time information Countdown boards to make bus travel easier

Posted: 2 March 2023 | | No comments yet

With over 300 new bus Countdown boards to be installed across London, TfL will offer bus travellers with real-time information for greater journey control, providing them with a reliable and easy way to use public transport.

TfL's new real-time Countdown boards to make bus travel easier

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it will begin installing a wave of new bus Countdown boards across every borough in the capital. More than 300 additional signs will be in place by the end of 2023, boosting the overall number of boards by 12%.

The signs are a simple and reliable way of helping Londoners get from A to B by bus. Knowing exactly when the next bus is coming helps to make public transport an easier and more attractive option.

The Countdown signs are well established in the capital and are valued by customers for the certainty they give, while also improving accessibility for those without smart phones. The information points will be installed in outer London boroughs such as Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Hillingdon and Barking & Dagenham as part of the Mayor’s wider package of improvements to the bus network, including a million extra bus kilometres.

In addition, TfL is also trialling a number of new innovative screens on the route 63 between King’s Cross and Honor Oak. This trial reflects the growing demand for a wider range of real-time information, giving customers greater control over their journeys. New digital colour displays within bus shelters will give customers the same live bus arrival information that is offered on Countdown signs, alongside a variety of other live mapping and travel information including any disruptions and diversions.

Customers are given up-to-the-second information on bus delays and updates on the rest of the TfL network. Before boarding the bus, passengers can also view every stop that they’ll be taken to on their chosen route. In the future, these displays will be able to show the live location of all buses as they move along the route and even inform how busy it is on-board.

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TfL is also trialling new information displays which are attached onto the bus stop pole itself. The device is battery-powered and in greyscale, saving energy. It allows customers to view live bus arrival times, digital timetables and route maps, and the displays are mounted at a suitable height for wheelchair users. Live bus arrival information can also be activated as an audio announcement at the push of a button, improving the travelling experience for all customers, including those with visual impairments.

TfL has set out its long-term vision for buses in its Bus Action Plan, which aims to increase the number of customers choosing to travel by bus across London and make the network zero carbon by 2030. This will involve creating a service that supports independent and spontaneous travel with improved customer information. Those using the bus will see faster journeys with bus speeds improved by 10% and an additional 25km of new bus lanes. 

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: “As part of his decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide, the Mayor is committed to improving and expanding London’s bus network to help build a better, fairer city for all Londoners.”

Louise Cheeseman, TfL’s Director of Buses, said: “We know that customers highly value real-time information on when their next bus in coming. It helps them get where they need to be in the quickest time possible or lets them know they have time to nip into the shops. We are pleased to be able to install these new Countdown boards across the capital, as they have long proven to be popular with the millions of passengers that catch the bus each day.”