RTPI – Real Time Information - FAQs

What is Transport for Ireland?
What is Real Time Passenger Information?
How do I find my Bus Stop number?
Sources of Real Time Passenger Information
How to Search for Real Time Information
SMS
Smartphone Apps
API’s
Will other public transport operators be included in the Real Time Passenger Information service?
How does the bus arrival information system work?
How accurate is the information?
What are the factors that may affect the accuracy of Real Time Information?
Why does the waiting time increase or stay at the same time for a number of minutes sometimes?
How do blind people access the information?
Why were some bus stops selected for signs and not others?
Who is responsible for this service?
How much did the Real Time Bus Arrival System Cost?
Bilingual Real Time Passenger Service
A bilingual web service
The route 90 service is not showing on the signs

What is Transport for Ireland?
The National Transport Authority will develop the Transport for Ireland name as a “one stop shop” for public transport information. Alongside real time passenger information, the National Transport Authority is developing a National Intermodal Journey Planner and is delivering the Integrated Ticketing project. These services will make it easier for public transport users, including visitors to Ireland, to access information on all aspects of travel, such as timetables, real time information and journey planners. 

What is Real Time Passenger Information?
Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) will show you when your bus is due to arrive at your bus stop so you can plan your journey more accurately.
How can I get Real Time Passenger Information for any Dublin Bus stop?
You can access Real Time Passenger Information a number of different ways depending on where you are or what suits you, the easiest way to access Real Time Information is by entering your bus stop number on dublinbus.ie, TransportforIreland.ie, by texting on your phone or by using the Dublin Bus Apps.

How do I find my Bus Stop number?
You can find it on the top of the stop or shelter just below the Dublin Bus castle symbol.

 

Sources of Real Time Passenger Information

On-Street Signs
The plan is to locate approximately 500 signs in the Greater Dublin Area and 47 signs in Cork on a phased basis during 2011. It is also planned to expand the system to Waterford, Galway and Limerick in the future. The National Transport Authority, working with Dublin City Council and Dublin Bus are co-ordinating the monitoring of the live signs and invite public feedback. As part of the project, Dublin City Council has removed a large number of redundant poles so that the project does not add to street clutter.

On The Web - TransportforIreland.ie or dublinbus.ie/rtpi

Phase 1
The first phase of Real Time Passenger Information on the web is for all 5000 Dublin Bus stops. This information is taken from the Dublin Bus internal automatic vehicle location system, and it is the same information as available at dublinbus.ie/rtpi.
Phase 2 The Transport for Ireland website will continue to develop. Real Time Passenger Information for Bus Eireann will be available early next year and information for other bus and rail transport operators will follow. The multi-operator, multi-city Real Time Passenger Information service will show all real time information in the one place – it will look similar to that currently under test at www.rtpi.ie. This web service will refresh automatically and will have an associated API.

How to Search for Real Time Information

Search by Bus Stop Number: Go to the Real Time Information section within the site. Type your bus stop number into the Bus Stop Number search box and press ‘Go’. You’ll get a list of bus arrival times at that stop within the next hour. If you can’t find your bus stop number, you can search by using one of the alternative search options on any page within the Real Time Information section:

Search by Bus Route: If you want to search by Bus Route, simply enter the number of the route you want, say the number 14, and click ‘Go’. Then choose the direction of travel. You’ll get a list of stops to choose from. Pick a stop by selecting ‘view’ to see Real Time Passenger Information at that stop.

Search by Bus Stop Address: If you don’t know your bus stop number yet, you can search by entering a street address into the bar and clicking ‘Go’. Then pick a stop by selecting ‘View’ to see Real Time Information at that stop.

Search by Map: Finally, you can select this button to search for a bus stop by using the map. In order to locate a bus stop, zoom down to the smallest level where all bus stops are displayed. In order to move to a different area either pan around the map or zoom back out, and then zoom back in to display the bus stops. After selecting a bus stop from the map, a separate window opens for that bus stop listing the next departures. Due to the number of bus stops within our network it may take a little for all the  information to load on the map. For quickest search results if you do not know your stop number try searching by bus route or street address.  

When you select a bus stop – what happens then?
The results page shows you the bus routes using the stop as well as the destination of each bus, the predicted time of each bus and whether the bus is low-floor accessible. It may also show you that the bus may be delayed with an ‘!’ sign. At the top is the time that the information was sent by the system. You can press ‘Refresh’ to get more up to date results.

SMS
You can also get the time of the next 4 buses from any bus stop on the Dublin Bus network directly to your mobile phone. Just text your bus stop number to 53035 (e.g. text 1234 to 53035). You can refine your selection at busier stops by including your route number, so text ‘bus stop number’, space, followed by your ‘route number’ to 53035. Costs 30c per message received. Network operator charges may apply, service provided by Open Sky Data Systems.

Stop numbers are displayed on the top of all bus stops in the Dublin Bus network, you can also find your bus stop number online at dublinbus.ie

If the full RTPI service is for some reason not available, a free message will be returned e.g. “Content is unavailable, you have not been charged, normal operator charges may apply” To provide this service, the service provider Open Sky sends a “free” message to the subscriber; this message is paid for by National Transport Authority.

The same SMS number – 53035 – will also be used for Bus Eireann Services, and other public transport services when they join the RTPI system.

Smartphone Apps
At the moment the official Dublin Bus app is available FREE from the iTunes store. Android app available to download from end of November.

Smartphone Apps - Transport for Ireland apps
The National Transport Authority will have an official TransportforIreland iPhone and Android app when the multi-operator web service is available.

API’s
The National Transport Authority intends to make an API available when the multi-operator web service is launched.

Will other public transport operators be included in the Real Time Passenger Information service?
Real Time Passenger Information for Bus Eireann will be available on the system in the coming months. The Real Time Passenger Information system is designed to be able to take information from other licensed bus operators, once information for their fleet is available and tested. The National Transport Authority is in discussions with representatives of commercial bus operators and LUAS and Irish Rail in this regard.

How does the bus arrival information system work?
Buses must be equipped with an Automatic Vehicle Location transmitter, which can track the bus, using a Global Positioning System (GPS). On-board software predicts the arrival time at the next bus stop. This information is then sent to the sign through a central control system. The screen at the bus stop counts down the minutes until the bus arrives. Updates are usually received from the vehicle location system at 30 second intervals, so information on the signs is regularly updated.

How accurate is the information?
The National Transport Authority is committed to providing the most accurate service possible. We are monitoring the service and we would appreciate your feedback using the form on this website. The system will be fine-tuned in response to testing and feedback.

What are the factors that may affect the accuracy of Real Time Information?

Operational considerations:

  • The Dublin Bus Network carries, on an average week day, approximately 400,000 passengers, on a fleet of 1,000 buses, stopping at approximately 5,000 stops. Dublin Bus carries 70% of all bus commuters in Dublin during peak times. Unlike trains or trams, buses move in various directions, they stop more often and are subject to traffic congestion or disruptions. When the number of stops are compared to LUAS (49 stops) and DART (31 stops), the extent and complexity of Dublin’s Bus system can be seen. With such an extensive bus system, technical problems or operational disruptions can sometimes occur.
  • Unanticipated problems such as a road closure or a mechanical problem can sometimes affect bus services. Occasional incidents can occur where a street is closed e.g., on St Patrick's Day, for a march or a big sporting occasion. In such cases, Dublin Bus Inspectors sometimes need to make a short notice change to scheduled bus services and it may not always be possible to reflect this on individual signs.
  • The real time system was developed to respond as far as possible to service disruptions – e.g., if a bus is stuck in traffic the waiting time can increase – however some disruptions could still affect the accuracy of the prediction.

Software and communication considerations

  • Occasionally a fault may occur in communications between the central server and the on-bus equipment.
  • Automatic Vehicle Location equipment is a new technology on the Dublin Bus fleet and, as with any new software system, some fine-tuning may be required.
  • Occasionally software updates may be required – Dublin Bus is currently implementing the Network Direct project, which means that services and schedules are changing and information is being updated regularly.

Why does the waiting time increase or stay at the same time for a number of minutes sometimes?
Real time information predicts the expected time of arrival by knowing where the bus is currently located. Your bus could arrive right at the time shown, or, it could occasionally get stuck in traffic. Because of this the arrival time at the bus stop could sometimes change back and forward accordingly. This service aims to provide the most immediate and accurate information to the waiting passenger at any point in time.

How do blind people access the information?
The SMS text service was developed to work with text to speech programmes.

Why were some bus stops selected for signs and not others?
Here are maps of where RTPI signs are planned to be deployed – subject to ESB connections and other considerations. There will be some additional locations for Commercial Bus Operators

RTPI Locations for Dublin Bus (1.94MB PDF File)
RTPI Locations for Bus Eireann (1.63MB PDF File)

Sign locations are based on where they will provide information to the greatest number of bus passengers, and to include as many main routes as possible. Factors taken into account include:

  1. The number of bus services and the number of existing and potential passengers using the stops each day.
  2. Locations near to key services like shopping districts or key public buildings.
  3. Proximity to Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs).
  4. Proximity to major transport interchanges.
    Unfortunately, there can’t be an information sign at every stop, and even some qualifying bus stops will not have an associated on-street sign. This is because the cost of providing the signs at a particular location may be much greater than normal due to the nature of the actual site or the works which would be required. However, all 5,000 Dublin Bus stops will be included on the website and SMS phone services when launched.

Who is responsible for this service?
The Real Time Passenger Information service has been developed by Dublin City Council on behalf of the National Transport Authority. The service is delivered in co-operation with Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, which is responsible for the roll out of the automatic vehicle location system and the real time arrival predictions for its buses. The service will be launched in other cities across Ireland, and the National Transport Authority is working to ensure that Bus Eireann and other public transport operators are included in the future. Dublin City Council managed the procurement of the signs and software system, and it is also co-ordinating the installation of the signs in the Greater Dublin Area.

The National Transport Authority would like to acknowledge Dublin City Council, who have taken on this role as part of its commitment to existing and new public transport users. The National Transport Authority, established in 2009, has responsibility for contracting and securing the provision of public passenger transport services for the travelling public, including information services. You can visit our website at www.nationaltransport.ie

How much did the Real Time Bus Arrival System Cost?
The total cost for the system to be established for 5 cities is estimated to cost €6.5m. Annual costs will also apply for example, with communication systems and for software maintenance and updates. The signs are supplied by Data Displays from Co. Clare, the software supplier is ACIS.

Value for money – Dublin Bus carried 119 million passengers in 2010. Bus Eireann carries 37.2 million passengers on scheduled services per year, and more passengers are carried by other commercial licensed operators.

The investment by the National Transport Authority per bus passenger for the Real Time Passenger Information service amounts to approximately 4c per passenger.

In addition, the experience of real time bus arrival systems in other countries has shown that they can contribute to an increase in the number of people choosing to use the bus.

Bilingual Real Time Passenger Service
The Authority is working with Dublin City Council and the bus operators to prepare a bus stop database in Irish which can be displayed within the 19 characters available on the signs. This included all 5000 bus stops and all destinations, this work took some time to complete. The work is due to be complete by the end of October and will allow us to implement the change to bilingual on street signs in the coming weeks.

A bilingual web service
The multi-operator, multi-city web service will be bilingual. This is one of the requirements for developing stage 2 of the web service. This is due to be available at the start of 2012.

The route 90 service is not showing on the signs?
The route 90 bus is not appearing on the 2 RTPI signs it stops at because the route 90 services are operated by extra buses which are only allocated on the day.

  

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