Scots bus drivers get new alarm call  30 | 08 | 2010

    HOW MANY TIMES have you heard the old line about "it's just like the buses; wait long enough and they all come along together?" Well now, in a bid to ensure the timetabled buses stick to their allotted times, Lothian Buses has installed a warning buzzer into every one of its vehicles.

    I know, the obvious thing to suggest is this is a serious piece of overkill, but their is a serious aspect to it. In July the company received a £10,500 penalty from the Traffic Commissioner after an investigation found one in seven of its services was running ahead of schedule.

    And while its pacy drivers cost the firm the fine, the early arrivals and — by dint of their over-efficiency — early departures from the bus stops left passengers infuriated at having missed their bus through no fault of their own.

    Now though buses — at least in Lothian — should arrive punctually at the bus stops as the drivers respond to the alarm fitted next to them which displays a message: "Slow down, you're early" as well as sounding a warning buzzer. The automated system — developed in conjunction with INEO, the French real-time passenger information specialist company — has been well received by drivers and union officials.

    "They both think the installation is a great tool to enable them to provide the highest level of service punctuality and reliability for our passengers in Edinburgh and the Lothians," Alan Black, Lothian Buses' operational control manager explained.

    So far the system has been working very well." Such is the efficiency of the system that if it detects the drivers is running more than a minute early, the alert is triggered. If the driver ignores the first warning, a second alert sounds with the message: "Wait your time, you're early" is triggered.


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