Funding from the government's Transforming Cities Fund will enable the installation of 190 Real Time Information units across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville.
Portsmouth City Council will begin installing over 150 Real Time Information (RTI) units to bus stops across the city, and in Havant and Waterlooville 40 bus stops will be upgraded.
Real Time Information units provide live bus arrival times, while RTI screens will be installed at key interchange locations (such as Commercial Road and Cosham interchange) and display the range of destinations available by bus from that stop, to assist people with onward journeys.
In addition to RTI, QR (quick response) codes have been added to approximately 600 bus stops in Portsmouth which means live bus timetable information will soon be available at every single bus stop in Portsmouth. When scanned by smart phone, QR codes show customers when their next bus is due at that particular stop, giving people more confidence when planning their journey.
Improving travel information is a priority to Portsmouth City Council's transport team and a core element of the Portsmouth city region's bid to the government's Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). Working in partnership with Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council and local bus operators, the Portsmouth city region bid proposes to improve public transport by introducing rapid transit to Portsmouth and surrounding areas.
Centred on a network of bus-priority routes, South East Hampshire Rapid Transit will make it easier, quicker and more convenient for people to travel in the area using public transport. Upgrading bus stops and improving the way people access bus timetable information, along with introducing new low-emission vehicles, direct routes and more frequent services is a key element of the proposal. Upgrades to bus stops in Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville have been made possible through Tranche 1 of TCF funding, which totalled £4m.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, Portsmouth's Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transport, said. "People have told us that having reliable, real time information on bus stop displays and via their smartphones makes them more likely to use buses. We are working with our bus operators to make travelling by bus more convenient and providing real time information is just one improvement we are making. It is a big step in the right direction."
RTI units display a countdown estimated time of arrival of bus services calling at that stop. It uses GPS data from detectors installed in each bus to calculate how far away the bus is from the stop and how long the bus will take to arrive.
QR codes (displayed on posters at the stop) can be scanned by smart phones to display real time bus information at that bus stop. This allows people to check live departure information on their personal smart phone. In December, the new QR codes in Portsmouth were scanned over 1,800 times.
All of the new RTI units include screen reader technology for people with visual impairments, which is enabled via a special key fob. Residents in Portsmouth will be contacted directly with information regarding the key fob, or they can contact Portsmouth City Council's Helpdesk on 023 9283 4092 (Portsmouth residents). Residents in Havant and Waterlooville should contact Hampshire County Council on 0300 555 1388.