Tuesday, 16 July 2013

How not to miss the bus

BusScoutApp One of the things that puts people off public transport is not seeming to be in control. The Illusion of Control is a well-documented feature in psychology, and it clearly afflicts drivers. It’s something that public transport users are less likely to suffer from - often because we seem to have very little control over what’s going on. And that’s because exercising control means getting hold of the information needed to make the right transport choices: buses turning up when they’re not expected, or not turning up when they should do is a major turn off.

Developments in ICT (Information and Communications Technology) now mean that working your way through a timetable has become a lot less necessary. Increasing numbers of bus stops are being fitted with real time indicators which count down when the bus is due, or you can send a text using the code on the bus stop. Even better are the smartphone apps now available. I use Bus Scout, available for Android smartphones (there doesn’t seem to be an iOS version). It’s powered by Traveline, it’s free, and you can download it here. I’ve used Bus Scout all over the place, and it’s usually pretty accurate - sometimes it’s even better than the information provided by the real time indicators at the bus stop. (How can that be?). So now I know when the next bus is due - and still avoid the illusion of control.

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