This seems quite handy: a few PTV buses in the Ventura fleet have a Passenger Information Display (PID) on the back which, when the bus is waiting at a terminus to depart, shows how many minutes until it leaves.
When it’s departure time, it changes to “Departs now!”
I can’t say I’ve noticed the same information on the front.
This is of value because a passenger approaching from the rear of the bus can see if they need to rush.
While en route, it appears the route number and destination is displayed.
So far I haven’t seen a similar display on Melbourne’s trams, though I did see them while in Brussels in 2017.
I hope other bus operators are also moving towards this type of useful display. Presumably it’s linked up to the (relatively new) bus tracking equipment on-board.
A steady improvement in passenger information is welcome. Another thing I saw on that trip in 2017 was internal displays on every single London bus we caught, including important information about other modes.
Melbourne’s Smartbus fleet has similar displays to indicate the next stop, along with automatic announcements – and some other route buses also have this type of display, but it beats me why it isn’t standard on all new buses.
Of course, adding more information displays to buses doesn’t fix the problems of poor frequencies and confusing network structure.
But the route number on the back does help you find your bus – and the countdown timer might just help you avoid missing it and having a long wait for the next one.
It only seems to be on a few buses so far, but let’s hope there are more improvements to come.