ELECTRONIC signs that display bus arrival times in the city can be inaccurate due to traffic congestion and the lack of bus lanes in the city, Bus Éireann has claimed.
Fine Gael councillor Deirdre Forde had asked Bus Éireann to explain how the signs at bus stops indicate buses are coming at a particular time but “in reality no buses arrive”.
She said inaccurate arrival times are causing huge frustration to commuters.
“People’s patience has been tried. We need to get the National Transport Authority [NTA] to come in and meet councillors and discuss this,” said Ms Forde.
In a response provided to Cork City Council, a Bus Éireann spokesperson said traffic congestion and the lack of bus lanes in the city centre means the information provided to waiting passengers at bus stops can often not be up to date even though buses are fitted with GPS tracking systems.
The spokesperson said: “The Bus Éireann fleet is fitted with automatic vehicle location [AVL] which tracks the bus location using GPS, distances, and length of travel time.
“The on-board AVL equipment calculates the predicted arrival time of the bus at the next bus stop and this information is sent to back-office servers located in CIE which is then given to the technology partners of the NTA to be displayed on the sign at the bus stop and on the Transport for Ireland app.
“The system is predictive and the communication of these telegrams is done over GPRS so there can be a time-lapse between on-street delays and changes in the message the sign shows.
“The punctual operation of bus services can be impacted by several factors including severe traffic congestion in the city and suburbs — the severe shortage of bus priority measures creates a very difficult operating environment for bus services in the Cork area with approximately 630km of bus routes but only 14km of bus lane — only 2% of the bus network is bus lane.
“Traffic speeds vary significantly across the whole traffic network and whereas a bus may be making good progress for part of its journey, it can then experience severe delays which will be difficult to predict accurately. There can be multiple delays/pinch points on any given bus trip.”
The Bus Éireann spokesperson added that further investment is required in overall bus priority to further improve bus services and bus stop information for customers.
“Traffic congestion is very challenging with expected bus journey times of half an hour at times taking almost two hours to complete,” they said.
“September/October/November/December are by far the most difficult operating months of the year as the return of schools and colleges brings with it severe traffic congestion across the traffic network.
“This is particularly difficult for bus services which must operate to route and cannot divert to avoid traffic congestion in particular areas.”