You will see a change shortly as we migrate from using the older bus arrivals service at m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk to the new one.

When we launched the site we had some reliability problems with the new live arrivals service. We decided it was best to revert back to the older version until we had ironed everything out. It’s now ready to be switched on and this change will happen very shortly.

How will I get to live bus arrivals now?

There are many ways to get live bus arrivals in the website, here are the main ones;

  1. Homepage ‘Live arrivals’ button – This will take you to a page where you can enter any route or stop and get live arrivals. It gives live information for Tube, Trams and River services too.
  2. Buses landing page ‘Find a bus stop or route’ – On the buses landing page, once we’ve switched over, you’ll be able to enter a route number and choose the direction to get a list of stops. Selecting a stop gives you live arrivals.
  3. ‘Nearby’ button on homepage – Hitting the ‘Nearby’ button will look up your location (you may need to allow the browser to use your location). It will then show you all the stops and stations around you on a map and in a list. By selecting any of these you will get the arrivals and status. If the device can’t recognise your location then you can type it in.
  4. Homepage favourite stops (shown below) – On each bus stop page there is a favourites icon (a star). If you select this it will pin that bus stop to the website homepage on the device you are using. If you scroll down on the homepage you will see these favourites and can get to that stop with one click for live arrivals.
  5. Homepage recent stops – The homepage keeps a record of recently selected stops, you can then reach them with one click.
Homepage with favourite bus stops

Homepage showing favourite and recent bus stops

What happens from here?

One of the strengths of the new site is that it is a one stop shop for information, bringing together different forms of transport. This brings a constant challenge to retain the simplicity and directness of each individual tool.

We are looking at how we can make things simpler and easier for the most common user journeys such as checking a bus arrival, planning journeys and checking fares. The site is a living thing and we are constantly adding to it and making improvements.

We’re really interested to have your views on these services. Feel free to comment on this blog to let us know what you think.

Don’t forget you can also get live bus arrivals on one of the numerous smartphone apps which are powered by our open data, available from all the popular app stores.

Posted by Phil Young

Phil is Head of Online at Transport for London, leading the team responsible for tfl.gov.uk, Open Data, social media and intranets.

20 Comments

  1. Thanks for letting us know the page will be updated soon. A few comments

    1. Will the stop code number still be displayed on the live departures page? I use the codes so having them displayed is helpful. I raised this point with you via this blog many months ago but never received an acknowledgement of my comment. Therefore this is not a NEW point merely a repeat of a previously made request.

    2. Will the stop code be recognised as a valid data entry to bring up stop departure info?

    3. Will the route filter facility be retained for stop information? This can be important at busy stops with long lists of departures if you only need one route.

    4. Will there be a data refresh facility and will be customisable between “on request” or “auto refresh”?

    5. Have you managed to get the status information to work properly by direction for bus routes? I’ve lost count of the times when direction specific info either is not available at all or shown on the incorrect direction. I recognise this may not be a system issue but it does have to be addressed properly.

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    1. Hi there, this update has now been made so you can try for yourself and see how it works. Answers to each point in turn are;

      1. Stop code numbers do not show on stop pages in the new site – we can look again at whether we should add these
      2. Stop codes are recognised as a valid input – e.g. entering 73241 brings up New Scotland Yard
      3. There is a route filter – just select the route number you want to see and it will filter – or select ‘All’
      4. The data refreshes in the background – it uses a technology called websockets to update the browser for as long as it is open
      5. Status information is now directional – let me know any issues you see with this

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      1. In respect of 3. All or one isn’t the way it currently works. You can specify the number or routes you want filtered. For example there may eight buses that call at a stop but only four of these are suitable. With the current set-up you filter the four you want and you can then see all of these together. With the new set-up you have got to either see ALL eight or look at each one of the four you want individually. Why can’t the new set-up at least do EVERYTHING the old version can?

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      2. Hi Paul, the two tools are not identical. The new service has features not present in the old service and, in one or two cases, the old service has a feature not present in the new. If there’s a strong view from customers that this feature is important then we’ll look to add it.

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      3. In respect of number 3 again. To give an example, stop code 50077 is served by routes 64, 194, 198, 250, 367, 410, 689, T33, X26, N64 and N68 but only routes 64 and 198 go to Croydon University Hospital from this stop. The full list produces around 20 buses in the next 30 mins but this is where the old set up is superior in that I can filter it down to just the 64 and 198 and it also very cleverly remembers the filter so that when I arrive next time, put the stop code in (or choose it from my favourites) up comes pre-filtered results for just routes 64 and 198. The other useful thing is that on the mobile version the departures are immediately viewable on screen, with the new setup I have to scroll down to view them and then scroll back up to get the refresh button. (The new setup seems to have stopped refreshing automatically as after two minutes or so I am getting a pale blue box come up with the message ‘This departure information is out of date. Please try reloading the page). Is number 4 (‘The data refreshes in the background – it uses a technology called websockets to update the browser for as long as it is open’) no longer working?

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  2. But it still doesn’t work properly though! I have just checked the ‘bus landing page’ against the old live bus arrivals version and STILL it shows different information (which is what I complained about before). For Hayes Lane / Norman Park (W) @ 16:21 it shows on the old site:
    119 Purley Way 6 min
    119 Purley Way 15 min
    119 Purley Way 22 min

    wheareas the new site shows:

    119 Purley Way 1 min
    119 Purley Way 10 mins.

    Incidentally I can see the bus stop in question and the old site is showing correct information.

    Please can you explain how you can go live with something that is still showing incorrect information?

    I have screen captures of both of these should you wish to see them.

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    1. Hi Paul, we’re seeing identical results between the tools for this stop. Perhaps you could let us know what browser and operating system you are using so we can eliminate any issues which might be specific to your setup.

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      1. Hi Phil,
        I used my iPhone which is using Safari on iOS 8.1.2.

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      2. OK – that’s a pretty standard setup so I would not think the operating system is a problem. A few more questions then. What model of iPhone are you using (just so we can check exactly)? How is the network connection in the area (good enough to load the pages on both services I guess)? Do you get a message on the new service after a couple of minutes saying that the page needs refreshing or does it update itself? Were the two out of sync when you opened the page for the first time or after a while? I can assure you we take any reports of this type very seriously and will investigate it thoroughly to identify any problems which might be present.

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      3. iPhone5.
        I had a 4G connection at the bus stop.
        The new setup was out of sync with the old setup straightaway and then when I checked again about a minute later it said something like ‘A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded’ but then I had to wait 30 seconds or so for it to actually reload but by which time the information it gave was then out of sync with the immediately refreshed old version.
        I’ve checked it again and once the new setup had managed to retrieve its results I then immediately manually refreshed the old version (which happens instantaneously) and they still differ. I’ve got used to the old version being 100% accurate (which it ALWAYS is) and I am just expecting the new version to be even better (if not the same) but perhaps I need to lower my expectations to the results being rough 😦

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      4. Paul, I won’t respond in too much detail as I think we’ve covered many of the points already. However I would say that we see it as critical that the service represents ‘real world’ conditions. To this end we continue to work to remove any latency which might exist. We’re also working on the user interface to make the user journey simpler and faster and you will see improvements in that area over the coming months.

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  3. Are your results ‘identical’ or ‘similar’? I’ve tested it again this morning and even allowing for the convoluted way that you have to get to the page for the new version compared to the old version, it is still producing information that isn’t correct. Whilst it now seems to be producing similar results to the old version it doesn’t actually represent reality. I’ve just been to the bus stop to check it and whereas the old version is correctly saying ‘due’ just before the bus arrives, the new version still says 1 min after the bus has already left 😦
    It seems to me that by the time the new versions has compiled the information it is incorrect. This is exactly the same with ALL of the other Apps that are available. I’ve tested many of them and I haven’t yet found that produces identical (and correct) information to that produced by your existing Live Bus Arrivals.

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    1. Paul, you are right to say that ‘identical’ is the wrong word as there can be differences with the tools refreshing in different ways and rounding will cause things to be slightly out of sync at times. That’s an interesting observation about the differences between third party apps, the new website and the original countdown website. We observe a small amount of difference arising from latency in the API and are working to see how this can be reduced further or eliminated.

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      1. I tried all the Apps available, and consequently ‘missed the bus’, so that’s why I went back to your original Live Bus Arrivals as it does exactly what it says on the tin! From experience it seems that the more fancy information these Apps are producing the more out-of-date the information that it provides is and this appears to be what’s happening with your new setup. If you must have an all singing all dancing page, couldn’t there also be one that just shows the basic essential information (ie the current seutp)? The only benefit that I have found with the new setup compared to the old one is that all the destination qualifying points seem to be shown in full. Eg 198 goes to Thornton Heath High Street on the new setup, whereas it’s just Thornton Heath on the old setup (as it uses the same abbreviated destinations as the Countdown bus shelter displays use), so you wouldn’t know it the bus in question has been curtailed to Thornton Heath Pond until the bus turned up, but that is only a minor bugbear. The status alerts are a useful addition but again it is so convoluted in getting to the information only to find out that it is not relevant to the stop you are at. The ‘Critical messages’ section on the old setup is more useful, if only it was used consistently and updated properly.

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  4. I find your new live bus arrive system difficult, the old system was easy why fix what was not broken in the 1st place

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    1. Hi Linda, is there something in particular which could be easier – what do you think could be improved?

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  5. Your bus tracker says “Tap bus for to continue”!!!
    Please correct this terrible, really terrible grammar!

    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Tom, Bustracker is not a TfL product so it’s best to take up any issues with the app developer. Our role is to provide the data which powers the 360 smartphone applications which are available in the various application stores. If you don’t like that particular one there’s plenty of others to choose from. Best to take a look at ratings for other users before choosing the ones which suit you best.

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  6. I’m trying to set a simple bookmark for my mother on her iPhone with a bus arrivals timetable. It seems there are two versions:
    http://m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk/arrivals/58598
    shows the info very clearly but doesn’t auto-refresh
    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/bus/stop/490000082T/canfield-gardens-finchley-road-station?lineId=c11
    autorefreshes, but the arrivals timetable doesn’t appear at the top, she has to scroll down. This is on an old iPhone 4S, but it doesn’t appear on the first screen even on my iPhone 6

    Could I suggest that auto-refresh is added to the first version since it’s clear and easy to understand?

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  7. Louise Fitchard March 4, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Used live bus arrivals for my bus…worked fine but would have been better if it had matched the dot matrix display at bus stop..my bus diddn’t even show up on there although it was on the live bus arrivals site and arrived on time!!!

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