Halifax Transit is pleased to announce that automated stop announcements are now operating on all bus routes.
Since the December launch of the pilot phase, the team has had the opportunity to better understand how the system works, collect valuable feedback from operators and riders on their experience, identify some areas for improvement with the functionality and make all required adjustments.
View our list of Frequently Asked Questions for more details on stop announcements.
|Stop-by-stop announcements offer Transit riders a more accessible and user-friendly experience.|
Stop announcements help our hearing and visually impaired transit users through audio and visual cues meaning that riders no longer need to rely on the bus operator or other passengers for information during their trip. Tourists, and those passengers who are unfamiliar with a route, also benefit from advanced notice of upcoming stops. And now operators who are new to Halifax Transit or have been introduced to a new route can quickly and easily become familiar with those route-specific stops.
|1.||What are stop announcements?|
|2.||Why is Halifax Transit implementing automated stop announcements?|
|3.||What exactly is announced for each bus stop?|
|4.||When will I start hearing stop announcements on Halifax Transit buses?|
|5.||Why are you doing a pilot launch?|
|6.||Can I hear/see a stop announcement when my bus goes on detour or if a stop is temporarily closed or relocated due to construction?|
|7.||How will stop announcements help hearing and visually impaired transit users?|
|8.||Why am I not hearing/seeing stop announcements on my bus, which is operating on one of the 13 pilot routes?|
|9.||Has the first phase been successful? When will other routes be introduced?|
What are stop announcements?
Stop announcements are programmed messages that play onboard and outside of the bus. As the bus departs one stop and approaches another, a “next stop” announcement is played over the internal bus speakers and displayed on the digital sign inside the bus. The announcement system uses the GPS location of the bus in relation to the location of the upcoming stop to determine when to play the next announcement.
When the bus pulls up to a stop and opens the front doors, a route announcement plays on the external speaker. For passengers waiting at the bus stop, the route number and destination are announced. This audio announcement is consistent with the text displayed on the bus’ destination sign (at the front of the bus above the windshield).
Why is Halifax Transit implementing automated stop announcements?
By announcing bus stops, Halifax Transit provides a more user-friendly and accessible transit service to our riders. Through audio and visual cues, hearing or visually impaired riders know exactly where they are in their journey and when they are approaching their desired stop meaning they no longer need to rely on the bus operator or other passengers for information during their trip. Tourists and any passengers not familiar with the order of stops on a specific route also benefit from advanced notice of upcoming stops through automated stop announcements. Currently, even frequent transit users cannot see upcoming stops due to crowds or weather conditions at times. Stop announcements will ensure that riders know when it is time to make their stop request.
What exactly is announced for each bus stop?
Onboard stop announcements (inside the bus)
The onboard announcements have the following standard format:
“Next Stop: [official Halifax Transit stop name]”
e.g., “Next Stop: Lacewood Dr. After Parkland Dr.”
e.g., “Next Stop: Rosedale Ave. At Civic 23”
e.g., “Next Stop: Bridge Terminal”
This stop announcement plays once over the speakers inside the bus and scrolls once across the display sign (where the “Stop Request” message is displayed).
External stop announcements for the route destination (outside the bus)
The external stop announcements detailing the bus route destination have the following standard format:
“[route #]: [headsign destination]”
e.g., “1 Spring Garden To Mumford Terminal”
e.g., “10 Westphal Via MicMac”
e.g., “35 Parkland Express To Lacewood Terminal”
This announcement plays once over the speaker located outside of the bus as the front doors of the bus open. If the front bus doors are kept open, the announcement is repeated every 60 seconds.
When will I start hearing stop announcements on Halifax Transit buses?
Halifax Transit is launching a stop announcement pilot on 13 routes on Dec. 12, 2016. The pilot routes are 2, 7, 20, 21, 35, 54, 59, 60, 72, 80, 87, 89, and 400.
Once the pilot phase is complete, stop announcements will be activated for all Halifax Transit routes, with a target launch date in early 2017.
Why are you doing a pilot launch?
A pilot launch allows us to focus our attention on a limited number of routes so that we can closely monitor how the service is performing. This allows Halifax Transit to make changes to the stop announcements, if required. Once we are satisfied with how stop announcements are working, we can activate this service on the remaining routes. Our goal is to provide the best possible service to our customers.
Can I hear/see a stop announcement when my bus goes on detour or if a stop is temporarily closed or relocated due to construction?
When buses go on detour, the stop announcement system knows the bus is “off-route” and the programmed announcements stop playing. Once the bus returns to its regular route, the system resyncs and the announcements start playing again.
Bus stops that are closed or relocated for a short period of time pose a challenge for our stop announcement system. When Halifax Transit is notified that a stop is being moved for a long period of time (e.g., due to long-term construction), we may be able to change the announcement in our system, however, short-term stop relocations will not be reflected. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
How will stop announcements help hearing and visually impaired transit users?
Stop announcements help our hearing and visually impaired transit users through audio and visual cues on a digital screen inside the bus, meaning that riders no longer need to rely on the bus operator or other passengers for information during their trip.
|8.||Why am I not hearing/seeing stop announcements on my bus, which is operating on one of the 13 pilot routes?
The automated stop announcement pilot began on Monday, Dec. 12, and is available on 13 routes including: 2, 7, 20, 21, 35, 54, 59, 60, 72, 80, 87, 89 and 400.
Due to the time required to download the new service onto each bus in the fleet, it’s possible not all buses will begin making announcements immediately after the pilot phase begins. We anticipate all buses operating on the 13 pilot routes will begin making announcements by Friday, Dec. 16.
Has the first phase been successful? When will other routes be introduced?
Since the December launch of the automated stop announcements, Halifax Transit has had the opportunity to better understand how the system is working on the select bus routes, collect valuable feedback from riders on their experience and identify some areas where the functionality can be improved.
Overall, the new system has been successful. There are a couple of issues we are working to resolve. It has been discovered that on some occasions, the stop announcements ‘jam up’ in a queue and then begin playing later during the route. This issue appears at random times regardless of the bus type and the route. Over the next several weeks, we will continue to monitor the issue and work toward a solution.
We have also received feedback from passengers on the volume levels. We have made some initial adjustments and will continue to monitor and modify until we find the optimal volume settings to ensure that individuals with visual impairments receive the full benefit from the stop announcement service.
Once we are confident we have successfully resolved both of these issues, we will introduce the system on remaining routes. Please stay tuned for future updates.
Halifax Transit would like to thank its riders for their patience and feedback as we continue with our pilot phase for stop announcements.
How did Halifax Transit decide what to name each stop?
Onboard announcements say the official name of the next upcoming stop. The Planning & Scheduling division of Halifax Transit is responsible for maintaining a unique name and number for each stop in our network. Our bus stop names generally include the street the stop is on and a reference to the nearest cross street, where possible. If the nearest cross street is greater than 100 metres away, the stop name may refer to the nearest civic number. On rare occasions, permanent landmarks may be included in stop names (e.g., “South St. Opposite I.W.K. Hospital”).