We’re proud to introduce our Facebook Messenger TravelBot, which has the ability to provide updates on bus arrivals as well as Tube and bus status updates.

Through our two Facebook pages – the main TfL page and the London Underground page – we deal with a huge number of queries every day, and we wanted to make it even easier for customers to get our information on the Facebook platform in a way that’s fast and straightforward. With the open data in our Unified API already helping to provide live information on many services like third-party apps and Twitter alerts, we hope this will be another big step towards enabling customers to quickly and easily access the information they need via social media. 


Now on Facebook Messenger you can ask for information using everyday language. You don’t need to be a technical person and understand how it works, you can ask something as simple as “Hi, how’s the Jubilee line today?”

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible to use the bot, and if it doesn’t understand what you’ve typed it will ask you to explain. As the bot is used more and more, it will learn and we will be constantly tweaked to improve how everything works. We’re working on lots of features, and have started with a few we think will be useful when you’re out and about.

To get started, search for ‘TfL TravelBot’ on the Facebook Messenger app or http://m.me/tfltravelbot on your computer.

Here’s a descriptions of the new tools and how they work.

Bus arrivals 🚏

Check when your bus is due to arrive by sharing your location or providing the bus stop code.

To check, type something like:
‘When’s the next bus’ or ‘next bus’, then you will be asked to share where you are using your phone’s location, or you can provide the bus stop code if you know it.

Bus route status 🚌

Find out if there are disruptions on your bus route.

To check, type something like:
‘How’s the 38 bus’ or ’38 bus’.

Tube and rail status 🚦

Find out if there are disruptions on any Tube line, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail or trams.

To check, type something like:
‘Is the Central line disrupted’ or ‘central’, you will be provided with the latest status info. This also works with ‘dlr’, ‘overground’, ‘tfl rail’ or ‘trams’.

Maps 🗺

View or download our Tube map, rail and Night Tube maps.

To get the maps type something like:
‘Tube map’ or ‘rail map’ or ‘map’. You will be provided with the option to view, download or send the map.

This service is available at all times, and uses the same information that powers our website and most apps. You can use it when you want to check if there are disruptions or if there are issues check it regularly to see when things go back to normal.

These services are in addition to the existing team who take care of our Facebook pages 24/7, and they will continue to be available to help. To see details of our social media accounts, please visit our social media page.

Your Feedback

Please do ask questions about these services, as well as leaving us any feedback you have. You can leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Posted by Steven Gutierrez

7 Comments

  1. brianbutterworth June 12, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve fallen at the first hurdle because it doesn’t get my location correct for a Bus Stop details. It presents only a few bus stops, not all the ones I can get to.

    Would love this to be a Google Assistant Agent too… https://console.api.ai/api-client

    Like

    Reply

    1. Steven Gutierrez June 12, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Brian

      Thanks for your feedback. The TravelBot will give you bus stops nearest to you. If you have a specific bus stop in mind you can use the ‘bus stop code’. You can also provide any location even if you’re not there.

      We’re using Google’s API.AI and will consider other platforms in the future, at the moment we’re focusing on Facebook Messenger because we know many customers use the platform.

      Cheers

      Like

      Reply

      1. brianbutterworth June 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        Thanks for the reply.

        It might be useful if you could tell the TravelBot your postcode (“location W1A 1AA”) ? Location detection with Windows 10 isn’t accurate enough, compared to the GPS you have on a phone.

        Like

  2. The idea is very good but the platform is wrong. Why is the bot not availible on Telegram? So i still need the twitterforward bot which has a lot of delay. I think it should be easy to adabt the bot to Telegram.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Steven Gutierrez June 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Hi

      Thanks for your feedback. We have rolled out the service on Facebook because we know it’s the most popular messaging platform our customers use. We’re aware of Telegram and the interesting opportunities however our investment will be on Facebook and Twitter for now. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/cmr/cmr16

      Cheers

      Like

      Reply

  3. Stuart Wetherell June 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Is there a simple way if notifying faults, problems & complaints?
    Eg, display any working properly at the bus stop Stoke Newington Church Street. I don’t see where else to notify you.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Steven Gutierrez June 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Stuart

      Thanks for your help flagging issues.

      We have lots ways to get in touch. On social media (Twitter/Facebook) you can send us a private message and within our TravelBot you can type something like ‘speak to an agent’ or use the menu to find the option.

      In this case, I recommend submitting the issue through our website:

      https://tfl.gov.uk/help-and-contact/contact-us-about-buses

      Cheers

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s