Published: 11:31, 12 June 2020
| Updated: 13:52, 12 June 2020
A travel firm in Kent is releasing a busy bus indicator on their app to combat the difficulties of overcrowding on their vehicles, as the industry continues to react to the knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stagecoach, which operates in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet, are encouraging customers to use the new feature to help them choose quieter services and keep to social distancing guidelines.
The updated app, which is due to be available by Thursday, June 18, will use data collected by the travel firm as well as artificial intelligence to inform customers of how busy the network is.
Customers will be able to search for services across Kent and see how busy a service is by the traffic lights system provided.
Each service in the live map on the app will be colour coded, with quieter buses showing in a green bus icon indicating ‘not too busy’, through to amber ‘quite busy’ and dark amber ‘very busy’.
Users will also be able to see where their bus is on the map and when it will be arriving.
The firm hopes the additional measure will help customers feel confident about the safety of public transport in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Carla Stockton-Jones, interim managing director UK for Stagecoach, said: "We are pleased to be welcoming more people back onto our buses as things start to open up around the country.
"We have already put a range of extra measures in place to make sure our customers feel confident in using our services, including strict cleaning regimes and social distancing measures, which we know are the biggest priorities for travellers.
"The launch of our new busy bus indicator is an extra step to give people an easy, at a glance guide on the best times to travel and to plan their journeys to avoid busier times."
She added: "Buses continue to play a vital role in connecting people with work and leisure facilities. At a time when people across the country are starting to be reunited with friends and family, this investment in new technology will help to ensure that people can be completely prepared and confident in using our services."
The app will be made available first for Apple devices and then rolled out to Android smartphones.
It comes after last month the travel company warned the number of passengers allowed on buses would be limited, in order to limit the potential spread of Covid-19.
The government also announced people using public transport must wear mandatory face coverings from Monday, 15 June.