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Multiple bus RTPI systems?

  • 04-08-2022 1:57pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,222 ✭✭✭

    I’m standing at a bus stop in Dublin waiting for a Dublin Bus. The display at the stop says 1 minute. The TFI Real Time Ireland app on my phone says 3 minutes. The popular Dublin Bus Live iPhone app, which I’ve used for years and used to be very accurate, says 13 minutes. I didn’t check the Dublin Bus app. The bus came after 1 minute.

    Can somebody more knowledgeable please explain to me why this is happening? It’s a recurrent issue and happens on multiple routes at multiple stops. I can only assume they’re all pulling the info from different feeds. It makes it very difficult to plan a journey.

    I’m sorry, I’m sure this has been answered in one of the other bus threads, but I find those tend to be enthusiasts and public transport workers talking to each other, and a lot of it goes over my head. I just want to know which app to look at to know when the bus is coming. Apparently none of them, since on this occasion the display at the stop was correct, and the apps were wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 922 ✭✭✭p_haugh

    With the current delays and cancellations due to covid and driver shortages etc., the TFI Realtime Ireland app is the most accurate, especially because it shows which services are curtailed or cancelled, and it has the ability to show the location of buses.

    The rtpi displays at the bus stop itself currently don't show if a service is cancelled.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,745 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    I’d second that.

    Also, being able to go back along a bus route and click on the bus symbols to see the live position of Dublin Bus or Go Ahead vehicles on the map is very useful, especially if the connection between the GPS live position of the bus and the predictive times is broken for whatever reason.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,145 ✭✭✭bikeman1

    I have been having the exact same problem for the last month.

    Everything (including the DB app) was showing a different time to that at the stop, which was the most accurate. I was nearly running for a bus based on the TFI app and ended up having 7 minutes extra to wait. Presumably there is some "stepping up" of services with a shortage of drivers and everything is running all over the place?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,222 ✭✭✭Breezer

    Thanks @Vic_08. That’s a helpful explanation. But I agree with @Charles Babbage . Surely TFI should be making one set of data, incorporating all of the above, available to all app developers? As it is, the data displayed in TFI’s own app doesn’t match the data displayed on TFI’s on-street displays. It was a small discrepancy in this example, but it’s been a lot bigger at other times.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,745 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    The NTA are looking to replace the different company systems with one system going forward. But it’s going to take time to implement I suspect.

    Why the on street displays and the TFI app wouldn’t agree on the times I can’t answer - that’s bizarre.

    One thing I will say is that I figured out that there will always be a difference between the countdown minutes on the DB app and the TFI app. The DB one uses “due” to denote now, while the TFI one uses “due” to denote 60 seconds or less away.

    As I’ve said already the live positions on the map on the TFI app are pretty accurate most of the time (apart from in the city centre), and if in doubt I find checking back along the route to see where the bus is a handy option. That app does show the curtailments and cancellations too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,222 ✭✭✭Breezer

    I got the 155 today. The on-street displays said “Bray”, but the bus said “O’Connell St.” This caused great fun at several stops, particularly on O’Connell St, where a large number of people were waiting to get on, but the bus was going nowhere.

    I don’t know what the TFI app said, since the bus didn’t appear there at all (it was pulling into the stop just as I arrived at the stop, so I suspect it was showing as already gone).

    It’s absolutely crazy that a destination isn’t updated on the on-street displays. Surely it can be, since the last buses of the day tend to run to city centre only? So why isn’t it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 922 ✭✭✭p_haugh

    Most of the last buses of the day are scheduled to run to CC only, so that's preprogrammed. The displays currently can't be updated in real-time, meaning cancelled/curtailed services don't reflect correctly. The only updates they can make to the displays is if a service is cancelled, and AFAIK, that is a manual process in that the controller on duty has to click a button to remove it from the feed. Hopefully once the NTA sort out the new bus tracking system, all these issues will be rectified.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,745 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    The displays show the scheduled destinations, which in the case of the last bus where it is scheduled to operate to city centre will be the last scheduled stop in the city centre.

    Something has changed since prior to Covid and now neither the on-street displays and Dublin Bus app no longer show the curtailed destination when a service is curtailed to run only part of the route. It’s some sort of system glitch.

    In that case only the TFI app will show the controller’s curtailment.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,233 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I'm now starting to find a substantial number of 41s that are marked as cancelled on the TFI app are actually running. Nearly misdirected a couple to take a 41C and walk in to the airport due to the app showing cancellations for 3/4 of an hour, but then one turned up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,145 ✭✭✭bikeman1

    I can confirm this happens from time to time. I’ve had a random empty “41C” come along when neither one was scheduled or showing on the display or apps.

    I think the controller will have cancelled a bus, but then found a volunteer to run some or all of the route as a special to mop up some of the pax.

    That’s your lucky day when that happens!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,375 ✭✭✭Boulevardier

    On a related point, I have a Nokia phone and I regularly use the SMS text (53035) service when I am waiting at stops without RTPI displays. In the last few days the texts have included a notification that the "service" (presumably the SMS service, not the bus route) is due to cease at the end of September.

    I think this curtailment is unnecessary and unacceptable. Who do I contact to express my dissatisfaction? Possibly the NTA?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,233 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    I'd expect the service has stopped covering its costs - those shortcodes aren't cheap. Its not well publicised, which won't help; but the number of people willing to pay 30c a go for that info is still going to be tiny.

    The NTA would be who to the complain to, but its quite likely they just handed the service over to a commercial operator who are pulling out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,375 ✭✭✭Boulevardier

    I am 67 and on free travel. This will leave a number of people like me without a service we need.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,719 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    NTA would be the ones to complain too.

    If they do end it, I’d point out as an alternative, that smart phones and data plans have gotten ridiculously cheap and a smart phone plan would probably cost you less then constantly paying 30c for this service.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,095 ✭✭✭Citrus_8

    Why not to use the mobile internet connection?

  • Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭Fizzy Duck

    The 41's now pull into Summerhill at the end of each duty. So when we sign in at the garage the real time starts tracking at Mountjoy Square on the way to Abbey Street. This is why some of the services disappear for a while, in my opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 701 ✭✭✭Jayuu

    Perfect example of crazy waiting time differences.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,222 ✭✭✭Breezer

    Thank you. I was trying to take a photo of the on-street display, but they’re actually very hard to photograph legibly.

    Dublin Bus’s reply to that tweet is to use the Dublin Bus app, because the Transport for Ireland app “does not appear to be our app.” Jesus wept.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9 transportrian

    Bus companies are not helpful at all when it comes to reporting issues about RTPI. It doesn't help when TFIs website just tells you to contact the operator even when it's about TFis infrastructure. For example, it is going into the second week of the real-time display at my bus stop not working, and the response from Go-Ahead was explaining what real-time is... (see below)

    what I said:

    GAIs Response:

    I have no clue from this email if the issue has been flagged to TFI/NTA at all?