Departures Line is the new interactive voice response (IVR) phone system that provides real-time or scheduled bus departure information. Unlike GoTime, the new Departures Line system uses a single phone number (902-480-8000) for your stop and route departure information.
We wanted to improve on the GoTime system and update the communication options for bus passengers. With more reliable data from our real-time location technology, the Departures Line will provide riders with up to date transit departure times.
The Departures Line provides many improvements for Halifax Transit riders such as:
All conventional buses will be equipped with real-time location technology to give you more accurate bus departure information through the Departures Line (Please note: Our target for equipping all conventional buses with the real-time technology is the end of June 2016).
The new system provides more information and clearer communications to the caller. Examples include:
“Estimated to depart” depicts real-time.
“Scheduled to depart” depicts scheduled (static) times.
“Momentarily” indicates that buses are leaving within the minute.
“Adjusted time to depart” indicates that schedule adjustments have taken place.
The new system tells you when service has ended for the day, but also lets you know when the service will resume.
Service notices can be provided for specific routes and stops.
The new system notifies you when your stop is cancelled or if the cancellation is a result of a detour.
Overall, the system should be accurate to the minute. There is approximately a 45-second delay of data from our buses to the phone system, so you may get real-time departures that are approximately one minute off. Real-time information is provided within 15 minutes of your scheduled stop. If the bus is over 30 minutes late, scheduled times are used.
The real-time technology uses GPS satellites to track buses and provide their approximate location. Once the vehicle is located, the system then predicts when the bus will depart future stops.
While Halifax Transit expects most predictions to be accurate, the technology is complex and relies on multiple systems, on and off the bus to work together. Because of this complexity, riders may occasionally receive inaccurate information when one system fails to communicate with the others. In some instances, if the technology cannot make an accurate prediction, it will announce a scheduled departure time.
Yes, all bus stop signs are being replaced. All bus stops are tentatively scheduled for replacement between May and July of this year (2016).
Bus stop signs are being replaced to reflect the new bus Departures Line contact information and accurately identify the four-digit bus stop number along with the route numbers being serviced at the bus stop. In addition, some optimization of stop numbers has resulted in some stops changing numbers.
The main changes to the signs include the following:
Bus Stops with multiple inbound and outbound routes have a single stop number.
The addition of the new Departures Line 902-480-8000 phone number and the removal of “GoTime”.
The four-digit “GoTime” phone number in the bottom right corner of the sign is now your four-digit “Stop Number”.
Yes. In addition to real-time technology that will give passengers accurate information on the location of their buses, future technology upgrades will include new public interface tools and trip planners. Additionally, in order to further the goal of accessibility, each vehicle will be outfitted with an audio visual system, which will announce each upcoming stop.
Based on the feedback gathered in our Moving Forward Together consultation, a revised plan was approved by Regional Council on April 12, 2016. Council has requested a supplementary report to address some remaining questions related to the plan, and upon receipt and review of the report, Council may make changes to the plan related to these outstanding items.
The “Departures Board” displays either real-time or scheduled bus departure information on a screen or monitor at the terminal. All buses serviced at the terminal have their real-time (or scheduled) departure information displayed, in addition to the bay number of where the bus is departing from. Public alert information, such as routes that are on snow plan, may also appear on the departures board, when required.
With the installation of the real-time bus location technology on the buses, we can give our riders more consistent, real-time information.
The Departure Board begins a minute-by-minute countdown for a route that is ten (10) minutes from its departure time (in real-time).
The Departures bay signs display either real-time or scheduled bus departure information on a screen. These digital signs are located outside of a terminal at each bus bay location. All buses serviced at the bay have their real-time (or scheduled) departure time displayed. In addition, the signs show the route number and route description. The Departures bay signs let riders know of cancellations or delays for a route. Public alert information, such as routes that are on snow plan, may also appear on the departures bay sign, when required.
A Bus Bay (i.e., bay number) is a designated location outside of the terminal where a bus picks up or drops off riders.
Starting in mid-December, Halifax Transit will be rolling out stop-by-stop voice announcements and digital signage on select routes, with more being added in January 2017. These changes are part of a series of upgrades aimed at making Transit more accessible and user-friendly for everyone.
Stop Announcements are programmed messages that play onboard and outside of the bus. As the bus departs one stop and approaches another, a “next stop” announcement is played over the internal bus speakers and displayed on the sign inside the bus. The announcement system uses the GPS location of the bus in relation to the location of the upcoming stop to determine when to play the next announcement.
When the bus pulls up to a stop and opens the front doors, a route announcement plays on the external speaker. For passengers waiting at the bus stop, the route number and destination are announced. This audio announcement is consistent with the text displayed on the bus’s headsign (at the front of the bus above the windshield).
By announcing bus stops, riders will know exactly where they are in their journey and when they are approaching their desired stop. Stop announcements help our customers who are hearing or visually impaired. These riders no longer need to rely on the Bus Operator or other passengers for information during their trip. Tourists and any passengers not familiar with the order of stops on a specific route also benefit from advanced notice of upcoming stops through automated stop announcements. At times, even frequent transit users cannot see upcoming stops due to crowds or weather conditions. Stop announcements ensure that riders know when it is time to make their stop request.