Buses in Swansea are set to benefit from new technology that will change traffic lights to green if the bus is running late.
A spokesperson for First Cymru told Highways that the move was an added benefit of the installation of new Ticketer ticketing machines (pictured) across its fleet, which allow passengers to pay with contactless cards.
As well as speeding up boarding and thereby allowing buses to run more punctually, the machines provide live telemetry on bus performance and can communicate with traffic management systems. The technology is due to connect with Swansea Council’s traffic management system later this month.
The firm’s managing director, Justin Davies, said: ‘We have the ability to know exactly where our vehicles are minute by minute as the day progresses. As we collect that data, that’s going to be transmitted into the local authority in Swansea.
‘If a bus is running a little bit late, the traffic lights will change to favour the bus to enable its journey to be slightly sped up and catch up the time. Where the bus is running normally the traffic light sequence will be absolutely as it is.’
?Great news for our customers! ?
Our new ticket machines will enable us to improve the reliability of our buses AND now allow us to take contactless payments. ? @SwanseaCouncil https://t.co/1Q6olXsHQZ
— First Cymru Buses (@FirstCymru) March 5, 2018
Although the move has potential to cause controversy with other road users, a spokesman for the council told Highways that it is unlikely that other drivers in the city will see any difference.
It follows a £1m grant awarded to Swansea Council last year through the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Network Fund, more than a third of which was put towards upgrading 20 major road junctions in the city giving them the ability to communicate directly with buses along those routes.
At the time, Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment services, said: ‘The use of public transport services is something we are keen to see increase. It has a major benefit in helping to relieve congestion on our roads.
‘Not only will the money help make bus services easier for passengers to use – much of the funding will be used to enable us to better coordinate public transport with other road users.’