AN innovative system has been introduced to help passengers maintain social distancing on Keighley’s buses.
People can now check before boarding a bus how many passengers are already on it – and even whether a wheelchair bay is free.
The SpaceChecker initiative has been launched by Transdev, which runs Keighley Bus Company.
Customers aboard a bus feed information directly into the system themselves about how busy the vehicle is becoming, helping others to make a decision before travelling.
The information can be accessed through the company’s website and is also being made available via the Transdev Go mobile app.
Transdev worked with IT provider Passenger to get the system in operation as quickly as possible, ready for the introduction of more journeys and extra buses on the firm’s routes this Sunday (May 31).
Alex Hornby, Transdev’s chief executive officer, said: “We have been working really hard to ensure that all our customers can return to the bus with confidence.
“SpaceChecker is simple to use and builds on the success of our live tracking feature which already allows customers to trace the journey of their bus towards their stop.
“Having the room to spread out and observe social distancing is vital to helping customers feel safe and comfortable on board, complementing the range of other measures we have been introducing over the past few weeks. Using live information provided by our customers themselves, everyone with access to a mobile device will be able to see how busy their bus is.
“This means customers can choose to catch a later bus with more space available if the one they plan to use is nearly full – and combined with our introduction of many more buses and journeys, we think this new feature will be welcome news for everyone.”
Tom Quay, chief executive officer of Passenger, said the feature was based on ‘crowdsourcing’ information from customers.
He added: “Crowdsourcing relies on the power of the crowd to be effective – and if anyone knows how to get their crowd to help each other, Transdev does.
“The team is first-class when it comes to communicating with its customers, and we wanted to really put this new system through its paces as quickly as possible to keep all essential journeys safe.”
As part of the latest timetable revision – to increase services and capacity – frequency on some of the most popular routes is being upped. The Shuttle, between Keighley and Bradford, will run every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday and half-hourly on Sundays. And the Aireline service will operate every hour seven days a week between Keighley and Leeds.