Solar-powered digital bus information has been introduced to Newcastle in what Go North East is calling a “customer information revolution”.

Delivered by Go North East in partnership with Newcastle City Council and McKenna Brothers, the new technology has been installed in a bus shelter outside Newcastle Central Station and will serve passengers bound for Saltwell Park. It is the first of three ‘e-ink’ and live talking bus stop information displays due to be rolled out across the city.

The screens provide timetable and live times on a large screen, GPS linked to the operator’s computer system, and text-to-speech audio facility to improve accessibility. According to Go North East, it removes the need for paper displays and takes a real-time feed from the buses to provide accurate live times of arrivals and departures. It also displays information on other nearby bus services through the Bus Open Data Service database.

The technology complements the Voltra battery-electric bus service on routes 53 and 54 between Newcastle, Gateshead and Saltwell Park. The second installation will be on Westgate Road for passengers heading to Quayside and Gateshead, while the third will provide technology to Quayside visitors returning to the city centre and railway station.

“We are extremely proud to be deploying this new system here in Newcastle which harnesses the very latest technology for bus users,” says Go North East Managing Director Martijn Gilbert. “This is one of just a handful of such installations across the UK and we hope that, working with local authority stakeholders, more can be installed in the future.

“Our work with McKenna Brothers on these installations builds on our investment in a new smartphone app with Uber-style live buses on a moving map, live bus times and mobile tickets. Using the latest digital tools helps us improve the experience for our users and, we hope, give more people the confidence to get onboard our clean, safe and affordable buses to help play their part in reducing congestion and improving air quality”.