New ‘Capacity Checker’ platform developed by tech company Passenger will allow users to report on how busy their bus is – and help others plan safer journeys

Bus passengers in Nottingham will soon be able to see how busy or quiet their bus may be, thanks to Capacity Checker – a new feature added to Nottingham City Transport’s (NCT’s) live online bus tracking service.

Capacity information is collected from customers and updated in real time. Users input information by selecting their bus route number through the map on NCT’s website and choosing from options such as whether the bus is quiet, moderate, or busy.

This information allows users looking at NCT’s online live tracking feature to better plan journeys during social distancing.

In future updates, ticket machines will provide more robust passenger counting data.

While NCT has not implemented a maximum capacity on its vehicles, certain seats have been removed, reducing capacity from seven to 10 seats on some vehicles to allow for social distancing. NCT Marketing Manager Anthony Carver-Smith says overall usage is at around 12% of the operator’s normal weekly patronage. He estimates that just under 20% of provided capacity is currently being used.

He adds: “Alongside social distancing measures introduced on our buses and the Safer Travel Guidance we published to customers last month, this new feature helps passengers plan their journeys and travel safely with NCT”.

The platform’s developer, Passenger, is working with other operators and ticket machine suppliers on enhancing the information being provided to customers.

Passenger CEO Tom Quay says: “We had to quickly find ways to deliver information on vehicle occupancy to those making essential journeys. We’ve been able to build on our existing technology to merge information from multiple sources, including crowdsourced data from customers themselves.

“This combination will give the most accurate indication possible of whether a bus is at capacity. It’s been great to work with NCT, and the industry as a whole, to respond to the challenge. Working together, we can ensure that members of the public can travel safely and confidently”.