‘Attract new bus users by bringing back tracker app’

REINTRODUCING the live bus-tracking feature is the first step for attracting a new generation of bus users, according to Bus Users Guernsey.

Fergus Dunlop, Bus Users Guernsey chairman.  (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31116443)
Fergus Dunlop, Bus Users Guernsey chairman. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31116443)

CT Plus, which runs the Guernsey services, provided a bus-tracker on a dedicated app from March 2016, but this has been dropped.

In January the company stated it hoped to introduce live bus times as soon as possible. But last week it declined to comment about where the update was.

Bus Users Guernsey chairman Fergus Dunlop said the island needed to persuade a new generation of people onto the buses.

And he believed that reintroducing the app could attract the younger generation.

‘The new generation are naturally smartphone users,’ he said.

‘If you have a bus service and you want people to use it, you have to align with the idea that people have got.’

Mr Dunlop said when the app was active, it was not perfect, but was better than nothing.

‘It was removed without any indication on the understanding that it would come back within a couple of weeks, but it has now been about nine months.

‘It is inexplicable that they shut it down. We had it, so how difficult is it?’

Mr Dunlop added that the feature was particularly useful for those with a regular commute.

‘It’s a fantastically beneficial thing for people who have to be somewhere at a certain time every day.

‘The stress of waiting for the bus is removed by the app, because they can see the bus coming along the road towards them.

‘In winter, people don’t like standing in the rain. People hate it if they don’t know if they have missed the bus, or if it is on the way.’

He estimated that only 5% to 10% of the Guernsey population currently used the buses, and said that aiming to increase that number to 15% was not too much of an ambitious target.

Statistics show that although rising by a third on last year, bus travel has not returned to pre-Covid levels.

Numbers are still down 19.5% from 2019, with 899,042 journeys taken so far this year, compared to 1,117,191 from January to July in 2019.

July was the busiest month for buses so far this year, and January the quietest, with 169,876 and 96,274 journeys respectively.

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