02 December 2008

Top texters in Poole

A list of Top 20 Text 4 Bus Stops in the UK has been compiled by Traveline, for the year ending 31 August 2008. It shows that the otherwise innocuous bus stop at the bottom of Arne Avenue has seen passengers text times for buses calling there a total of 1,012 times. Another bus stop in Poole featured in the list - impressively in third-place this time - and is the stop opposite that in first place, receiving 860 texts for timetable information.

A bus stop in the LEYTR area made it into this league table to top-texted stops and was the stop in Lincoln, outside the Church Centre, which came in 6th position with a respectable 831 text enquiries sent.

Not everywhere has bus companies or local authorities who commit funding towards a text timetable service from every bus stop in their operating/council area, so the table only really ranks the top 20 stops for text enquiries from the small percentage of the UK that offers bus passengers this facility, but it nevertheless shows what an impact such schemes can have.

In Poole, each bus stop has been assigned a unique 8-letter code, which passengers must text to 84268. A real-time system uses satellite technology to work out exactly how far off the next service is, and automatically texts the sender back with this information. Of areas offering this service, not all use real-time information; Peterborough City Council, for example, generally text back the next few buses and their scheduled times at the stop in question as only a small percentage of services in their area use real-time technology.

Once regular customers become familiar with their stop's unique code, there's nothing to stop them texting their enquiry from inside their home (or the pub!). We could all now text 'plejagt' to 84268 and be told when the next bus will be arriving at the stop at the bottom of Arne Avenue.

Such has been the success of Poole's text message scheme, that councillors in the neighbouring Bournemouth and Christchurch areas have adopted similar schemes. Another big advantage is that the cost to customers of sending the text is not extortionate (itv please take note!), being 25p plus the individual's standard network cost for sending a message. The sender does not have his/her credit deducted until the reply message from Traveline is received by them. (GL)

The Top 20 Text 4 Stop Locations

1. Poole, Bottom of Arne Avenue - 1012 texts sent
2. Stoke-on-Trent, Sixth Form College - 1009 texts sent
3. Poole, Bottom of Arne Avenue - 860 texts sent
4. Northamptonshire, Westbridge - 853 texts sent
5. Norwich, Castle Meadow Stand W - 831 texts sent
6. Lincoln, Church Centre - 831 texts sent
7. Swansea, University Campus East - 695 texts sent
8. Cardiff, St. Hillary Church - 691 texts sent
9. Peterborough, Clayton - 679 texts sent
10. Norwich University, opp Waverney Terrace - 674 texts sent
11. Gorleston, High St, Fathers Plain - 660 texts sent
12. Swansea, Morriston Lidl - 658 texts sent
13. Cardiff, Willowdene Way - 625 texts sent
14. Norwich, South Park Ave opp Custance Ct. - 594 texts sent
15. Norwich, Magdalen Rd, Beaconsfield Rd - 585 texts sent
16. Peterborough, The Eldern - 585 texts sent
17. Peterborough, Red Lion - 575 texts sent
18. Devon, Marks & Spencer
(sic) - 568 texts sent
19. Wymondham, Sheffield Rd/Lime Tree Ave - 567 texts sent
20. Cardiff, Highcroft - 562 texts sent