Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New bus information scheme agreed

THURROCK Council’s cabinet unanimously supported a plan to install a brand new real-time information system for buses.

Working with Essex County and Southend-on-Sea councils the scheme is expected to be cheaper and more accurate than the current system.

Known as the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system will provide electronic signs at bus stops with real-time timetable information based on where the buses actually are.

Members at Wednesday (12 December) evening’s meeting were told each vehicle will contain a tracking device so its location is known and transmitted to a central system which calculates when the bus will arrive at the stop – feeding the information to display screens at the stops.

At the moment, Thurrock’s ten-year-old passenger information system was developed with Essex and Southend with the first sign being installed at Grays Bus Station in 2002. There are now 49 signs at stops and shelters and two large display boards at Grays Bus Station and Rail Station.

But it is at capacity and cannot be expanded without significant expense.

Portfolio holder for highways and transport, Cllr Andy Smith, said afterwards: “The new system will have the ability and capacity to track all buses in Thurrock, Essex and Southend by capturing live information via modern ticketing machines with GPS and satellite navigational capabilities.

“The data can be used in a wide variety of ways that would be useful to bus operators, local councils and the public.”

He added: “This more accurate information could also be provided to be seen on mobile phones and on other items of equipment that can access the internet. It could incorporate more operators, more on-street displays and more buses as well.

“At the moment we’re paying around £100,000 a year for the current outdated system, the new one will save us £50,000 a year. Twice the service at half the price!”

Before the upgrade come in, the current system has to be removed and from 22 December displays will not show timetable departure information. The new system will be installed during April and May next year.


  1. So Thurrock Council has saved money by working with Essex County Council and Southend? So why are Cllr Smiths red army trying to push us into more pairings with Barking and Dagenham? Surely we should be working with Essex and Southend more…


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