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Oxfordshire’s bus passengers first in UK to benefit from personalised messaging

Oxfordshire’s bus passengers will be the first in the country to benefit from our personalised real-time journey updates, helping them to travel safely as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Our Passenger Connect service will tell passengers about disruption and how busy their journey is likely to be, as well as providing alternative travel options. Passengers will be able to access the service via Messenger in the coming weeks.

The project will be delivered in collaboration with Oxontime, a bus information service run by independent bus operators and Oxfordshire County Council.

Live disruption information comes from the bus operators which is used for the existing Oxontime web service. We bring this information into our platform and turn it into personalised messages for delivery to passengers. We also collect passenger ‘intent’ to travel (origin/destination/time of travel) and this is attached to an anonymous identifier unique to the passenger – this helps operators build a clearer picture of their network – for example if a bus journey is likely to be crowded or not.

Zipabout Chief Product Officer, Alex Froom, said:

“As people emerge from lockdown and begin returning to work, transport operators and local authorities will need to provide accurate, timely travel information across all services to ensure the safety of passengers. We have been delivering personalised communication to rail passengers for years and now we’re delighted to begin adding bus, tram and metro support to our multi-modal service.”

Cllr Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment at Oxfordshire County Council said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in the next level of personalised messaging to bus users. The service has been successfully applied on trains and this next step will open up the benefits to many more users and hopefully be a key tool to enabling people to use buses safely through the next phases in the Covid-19 response. We hope that by working with Zipabout, DFT, Oxontime and partners that this will provide a benchmark for the rest of the UK.”