Yesterday i met with the minister for regional development to discuss talking busses.
In 2011, there was a pilot of audio visual information on one of the metro busses. It seemed to be very successful. However the minister never made contact himself and didn’t want a meeting until yesterday. We were very skepticle and hoped the minister wouldn’t just say what we wanted to hear so we’d leave.
Well it went so so. He was saying about how it is a priority but that there is a new systim coming in next year. It’s called “bus track” and it’s about reviewing how the information about busses is displayed. They were talking about this app for an iphone that would let you know when a bus was there. I pointed out that’s fab but what about people who don’t have iphones? Or what if you lost reception or you forgot your phone?
Apparently it would cost 1 million pounds to put the audio visual equipment on busses, and it would be harder to put it on the ulster busses. I said that could they not put a microphone on the dashboard of the bus and have the driver announce each stop? But the minister said that that had been tried but it would put too much pressure on the drivers. Our campaignes manager suggested that they could apply to a fund called the Better bus area fund which was alocated to bus companies to help get the equipment installed.
The minister has arranged a meeting again in three months, so i’m not too sure what that means. If wifi is available on busses, why not audio visual information? Apparently it’s the law for it to be on trains, but not busses. I said it had to be a priority and the minister was like “oh you aren’t going to let it slip ar eyou?”.
It would be a real shame if we didn’t get it. Whilst i’ve had good experiences, i know others haven’t. We’re a bit behind the times since a lot of england has it! Also in 3 months a new minister might be elected so it might not be considdered.
Anyway we’ll see what the next while brings.