On Monday 17th October we launch to the public the full real time information service for bus users. This has been under test for several weeks and the test site address has already spread.
But from Monday it will work from http://www.tfl.gov.uk/buses. Much more usefully smartphone users will be taken directly to the new mobile site which is configured for easy reading on such devices.
The new service provides real time information for all 19,000 bus stops on the network. It's like have Countdown in your hand. You can access it on-line, on your phone, and by text by sending the bus stop code to 87287. The SMS text service costs 12p per call - all the on-line information is free.
Already clever people are developing Applications which provide the information and at least one of them is already in the Top Ten of paid-for Applications. This demonstrates how popular the information will be. I am sure there will be many more.
It is better than a Countdown sign which you can only see at the stop. In future you will be able to stay at home, work, or other venue until it is time to walk to your stop. For some people this will bring added security as they will not be waiting at the bus stop for too long. In other cases I foresee, for example, parents being able to predict the arrival times of their children at stops and being able to meet them off the bus.
And we would never have been able to fit Countdown signs at all the stops. We are adding another signs at 500 locations and renewing the entire network of signs. But the cost of doing so in many areas was prohibitive, yet to some, information where the frequencies are lower is actually more important. At a stroke this overcomes the problem of providing information in such places.
I predict that this development which make a big change to the way in which people plan their journeys and use the bus network. Certainly those who have been trying it out already have already indicated just how valuable it is.