The council is bidding for funding to improve passenger information. Image: Bridie Adams.

Cardiff Bus passengers say real-time information screens are ‘nonsense’ despite costing millions

But better screens are soon to be rolled out across the city, says Cardiff Bus

CARDIFF Council is planning to improve the accuracy of live information on screens at bus stops across Cardiff, but passengers have said that this won’t help the reliability of the service.

The council told The Cardiffian that it is currently bidding for funding to replace the digital passenger information screens across the city. The project will cost millions of pounds.

At January’s full council meeting, Calum Davies, a Welsh Conservative councillor, asked about how the council will increase bus passenger numbers.

The council said that it is currently working on schemes designed to improve the bus service and the take-up of bus travel in the city. It added: “The provision of improved real-time information bus shelter displays will soon be rolled out across the city, which will enable passengers to be better informed about bus services.”

Hanna, a doctoral student who works as a tutor, said: “I think that saying they’ll update signs is nonsense. I’ve had up to three buses in a row simply not show up. This happens regularly. They simply don’t care. Basically, it’s just completely buggered my ability to even go into work.”

Luke, a bus user from Canton, said: “The buses are a disappointment really. Changing buses is awful. I try to avoid driving my car as much as I can, but current public transport infrastructure stops me from doing that sometimes. Transport needs to improve and link other parts of the city if it really wants to grow.”

Luke had previously tweeted Cardiff Bus complaining about a bus that left him behind when it departed five minutes before it was scheduled to.

The Cardiff Bus app has a feature that allows users to view live information on a real-time map to see where exactly buses are and when they will arrive at each stop. Luke said he uses the app more than the display screens but explained that not all the buses are tracked and some of them don’t show up at all.

However, he said he would be more likely to rely on the screens if the real-time information were to improve.

“The more information the better to be accurate and hold the service to account,” he added.

Caisel, a bus user from north-east Cardiff, also said that he prefers to use the app. He said: “To be honest, I very rarely use the screens. The app tends to be better when the buses are sharing their location and, along with the screens, will have buses ‘disappear’.”

Hanna agreed that the app is more reliable but said that it still “barely functions”.

Caisel chooses to use the bus as he finds it cheaper than driving but said that “it adds so much time to my day I often don’t have a choice”.

Another passenger told The Cardiffian that “the times on the screen are wrong and buses do not come so it is not a good experience”.

Cardiff Bus told The Cardiffian: “Bus service reliability is critical in ensuring customers have confidence when travelling by bus. We endeavour to make services as reliable as possible. We share the general highway, and we will simply all sit in the same queue. Real time bus stop displays play an important part in the wider bus service and infrastructure.”

The council will release more information about its scheme when it is available and said that it is also “actively investigating opportunities for reduced fare offers to bus passengers within Cardiff”.