TRANSPORT chiefs have vowed ‘not to stand still’ after unveiling the latest improvements to bus services operating between Malvern and Worcester.
Commuters will now be able to know exactly when their bus will arrive thanks to the roll-out of ‘real time’ travel information.
Delivered by Worcestershire County Council and funded by a £1.8million investment from the Department for Transport, the project eliminates the ‘unnecessary’ waiting in the cold at the bus stop.
With more display boards being installed in shelters across Malvern and Worcester, passengers can now also access a live feed on their phone to get an accurate arrival time before leaving their home or workplace.
County bus provider First Worcester has also rolled out contactless payment across its whole fleet, enabling commuters to pay for their journeys using debit or credit cards – as long as the total cost is below £30.
Designed to make paying for travel more convenient and accessible, the contactless option removes the need to carry cash which transport bosses say will improve boarding times and lead to quicker bus journeys.
The latest technology was unveiled in Great Malvern on Friday morning and Nigel Eggleton, managing director of First Worcester, told the Observer the latest investment would boost public confidence in bus services.
“We are delighted to launch these two pieces of excellent innovation.
“Real time information gives our customers the confidence and knowledge to know their bus will turn up exactly when the screen says it will.
“And contactless payment will speed up journey times which in turn will lead to a more reliable service.
“After all, boosting confidence in our bus service is what it is all about and we cannot afford to stand still.”
Mr Eggleton added the franchise would monitor the success of the latest investment and vowed more improvements would follow.
The roll-out of real time information and contactless payments comes two months after First Worcester introduced ‘faster and more frequent’ services between Malvern and Worcester.
Under the project, the 44C was scrapped and the 44A and 44B services were renumbered to the X43 and X44 respectively to provide more direct routes between the Faithful City and Malvern.
The county’s transport chief Coun Alan Amos said the changes were designed to improve the ‘heavily used’ routes between Worcester and Malvern and stressed he was open to suggestions to further boost bus services.
“It is a constant battle to keep up with new ideas and push them forward.
“Many countries across Europe use real time information and it is time to embrace that and become a World leader in it.
“We want our bus services to be more reliable and the unveiling of the real time information and contactless payment will make bus travel more attractive.”
Coun Amos added he was working hard to get more people to use buses and revealed changes to the Malvern to Worcester route had ‘proved very popular’.
Real time information services will be rolled out in other areas of Worcestershire throughout next year.