New AI tool shows seat availability on Go-Ahead services during social distancing

Go-Ahead has launched a predictive technology platform to encourage social distancing on its buses.

Designed with technology partner CitySwift, ‘When2Travel’ is a new customer facing app and website feature which uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to learn from passenger data and provide information to customers.

Using the data, coded bus timetables are generated which show seat availability on services, helping passengers better plan journeys and avoid busy times during reduced capacity. It includes point-to-point information within each timetabled journey.

Go-Ahead claims the data set will also help its bus companies plan future timetable changes based on emerging demand as travel patterns and capacity restrictions fluctuate.

The platform is being launched only three weeks from its inception. Alan Farrely, COO and Co-Founder of CitySwift, says: “This big step forward in bus customer information, led by Go-Ahead, harnesses the power of big data and the most advanced technology to provide a better experience for bus passengers as they gradually return to using services.”

Kate Taylor, Group Commercial and Customer Director, adds: “We want customers who need to travel to be able to plan their journeys with confidence, knowing they will be able to board the bus at a particular time and get one home at a time that suits them.

“Along with enhanced cleaning of buses, and by following government advice to wash hands frequently, pay by contactless and wear face coverings, customers can travel in safety and with confidence.”

Go-Ahead says the platform will be rolled out to Newcastle and then to Manchester, Oxford, Norwich, Brighton, Crawley, Southampton, Bournemouth, Salisbury and Plymouth.