Public Transport Victoria extends real-time occupancy data to buses

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Public Transport Victoria extends real-time occupancy data to buses

Eleven routes to take part in trial.

Live passenger data from some of Melbourne's busiest bus routes has been added to Public Transport Victoria’s RideSpace occupancy tool, allowing commuters to avoid crowding in real time.

Eleven bus routes will initially take part in the trial, which comes a year after the tool began offering those travelling on Melbourne’s rail network a window into crowding at stations and on trains.

The routes, described as “some of [its] most high-frequency and high-traffic routes” across Melbourne's inner and outer suburbs, are 190, 402, 404, 420, 431, 432, 471, 498, 552, 601 and 623.

RideSpace uses data collected by passenger counting sensors and predictive modelling technology, as well as Myki card tap-ons, to show current and predicted levels of occupancy.

Crowding – which is only considered a real-time estimate if a service has an onboard sensor – is then displayed with a four-level colour coded indicator, ranging from green (very quiet) to red (very busy).

RideSpace launched as a standalone online website in February 2021, with the data becoming available directly through Google Maps shortly thereafter, as reported by The Guardian

Similar prediction technology is already used in NSW to show real-time seat availability on the Waratah train fleet and on buses, allowing passengers to check seat availability before they board.

Public transport minister Ben Carroll said the addition of real-time bus occupacy data to RideSpace would mean that more Victorians are able to plan their journey in advance.

“RideSpace is already helping Victorians check how busy or quiet the train network is and for the first time, bus passengers can now choose the services they feel most comfortable taking,” he said.

Carroll added that “by trialling this information on 11 initial bus routes, we’re shaping the way new transport information is prevented to Victorians and learning how passengers want to receive it”.

PTV is continuing to investigate adding occupancy data from trams and regional trains to RideSpace as part of a future phase.

The agency is also working to bring the data to third-party apps, as well as its existing digital channels.

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