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Major Updates

Journey Planner FAQs

Please find below a compilation of frequently asked questions about our Journey Planner. If you encounter a fault with the Journey Planner that is not identified below please use our Journey Planner feedback form to let us know straight away.

Live Arrivals

  • The Live Arrivals was showing me results in a minutes countdown format and 24 hour format. What does this mean?
    • When there is a minute countdown it means that the real time information system is correctly tracking the bus location via its activated GPS device.
    • When the system cannot find the GPS location of a bus scheduled to arrive it will automatically show the scheduled time as per timetable.
  • Why is the real time display, or website, showing incorrect arrival times?
    The real time information system retrieves information from the bus GPS unit. So in order for this to work accurately the bus has to have the GPS unit active, drivers turn this on at the start of their shift.
     
    If a bus gets delayed in traffic, or has to divert for some reason, it becomes harder for the system to give accurate predictions of how long it will take for the bus to arrive.
     
    Occasionally technical faults may arise within the real time information system which can lead to the real time information predictions not being available.
     
    There are also rare cases where a bus that is no longer in service still has the GPS unit on and the system will read it as Service X arriving at Bus Stop X. The bus might pass the stop with the "not in service" message, or take a different route and the system will still try to predict an arrival time at the bus stop.
     
    This is not a comprehensive list, and there may be other things that could interfere with an accurate prediction.
  • The real time information display, or the website, show a "cancelled" message - what does this mean?

    From time to time due to operational reasons, following a road traffic incident for example, operators may have to cancel journeys on a service in order to re-position vehicles so that they can start the next journey on time. At the request of both operators and service users the real time information system has been enhanced to indicate to passengers when a specific journey has been cancelled. The journey that has been cancelled will appear on the real time information/website as follows:

    • 26          To Centre            12:00

    Followed a few seconds later by:

    • 26           Cancelled            12:00

    The cancelled message will show the scheduled time of arrival for the specific journey based on the 24 hour clock instead of a predicted arrival time in minutes. This enables passengers to make informed travel choices so that they can complete their journey.

    Please note that the cancelled message does not appear automatically – it requires the operator of the service to cancel the journey(s) from the real time information system as only they can decide whether or not a journey will operate.

  • How do I report a bus that has not shown on the real time information display or website?

    If you notice that a bus that has arrived at your bus stop has not appeared on the real time information display or website  you should report it to the relevant bus operator. In order to enable the bus operator to identify the vehicle, please provide the following information:

    • Date;
    • Time the bus arrived at the bus stop;
    • Service number;
    • Bus stop name;
    • Bus registration/fleet number if possible.

    Once the operator has received the information they will investigate to ensure that the on-bus equipment (OBU/ETM/communications antenna) is working and check that the driver had logged on correctly. If the bus operator is unable to identify the fault the real time information contractor will be contacted in order to identify/repair the fault.

  • Which bus services are included on the real time information system and website?

    A list of the bus services included on the real time information system can be found on the Travelwest website under the bus real time information section. Currently there are over 130 local bus services serving the West of England region on the real time information system (May 2014) provided by Abus, Bath Bus Company, CT Plus, First, Somerbus and The Kings Ferry.

  • Why do some buses not appear on the real time information system or website?

    There are a number of factors that result in a bus journey not being shown on the real time information system, or website. The most common reasons for a journey not showing are:

    • A bus not equipped with a GPS unit being allocated to a service promoted as having real time information;
    • There is a fault with the OBU and/or the ETM that communicates with the central real time information system;
    • The bus driver has logged on to the ETM incorrectly, preventing the journey operated being ‘matched’ by the central real time information system;
    • Incorrect timetable and/or schedule data has been loaded on to the central real time information system, preventing information received from buses being ‘matched’ with information contained on the central real time information system;
    • There is a fault with the central real time information system, preventing journey matching and/or predictions from being calculated;
    • There is a fault with the communication systems for example, radio base stations, on-vehicle communications antenna etc, preventing information from flowing between buses and central real time information system to at-stop displays, website, etc.

  • How does the real time information system work?

    Each bus used on a route that is included on the RTI system is equipped with automatic vehicle location (AVL) equipment that enables the bus to be tracked by global positioning satellites (GPS). The location of the bus is then transmitted to the central RTI system. In addition to the buses location, specific service information is also sent to the central RTI system either through a separate piece of equipment fitted to the bus, referred to as an on-bus unit (OBU), or the electronic ticket machine (ETM).

    The specific journey information received from the bus is then compared to timetable and service schedule data stored on the central RTI system. The data is then ‘matched’ and using system algorithms, journey arrival/departure times are predicted and communicated to on-street displays, web sites, Traveline (nextbuses service and SMS) etc.

Routes and Timetables

  • A timetable PDF/web version is not loading, how do I report this?

    The links to bus services PDF/web version timetables open a new tab on the Traveline Southwest website. This can sometimes take a few seconds, but if the timetable never loads or you receive an error message please let us know straight away so we can investigate and contact Traveline Southwest if necessary.

    Please use our Journey Planner Feedback form to inform us of this fault giving as many details as possible.

  • Where can I find a timetable and/or route that is going to change/start in the future?

    If this timetable and/or route have already been made available to the public, you'll be able to find it by following these steps:

    • Visit Routes and Timetables
    • Select the area the bus service is operating on
    • Above the list of service numbers, click on Current Timetable and change this to Upcoming Timetable
    • You'll be able to see any available upcoming timetables and select the one you were looking for

    Below is a screenshot of what the Upcoming Timetable option looks like:

    Upcoming Timetables screen in Travelwest Journey Planner

Journey Planner

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