Stagecoach Greater Manchester introduces new app to ensure safe social distancing

  • Data and artificial intelligence to help with social distancing;
  • Traffic light indicator enables passengers to consider alternative, quieter routes.

The Stagecoach Group is launching a new smartphone “Busy Bus” indicator app. This will help customers plan their journeys as service frequencies increase across the country.

The new feature on the Stagecoach bus app will use extensive data and artificial intelligence to provide a traffic light indicator to help customers choose quieter services and maintain social distancing. If, for example, you are stood at the Trough in Audenshaw (waiting for a 219) it might suggest waiting another five minutes for a 221.

The app is now being rolled out to iOS and Android users. It will be ready by the 18 June, and available to download via the iOS App Store and Google Play platforms. The “busy bus” tracker will provide a regularly updated guide to how busy individual bus services are in networks across the UK.

It is part of a comprehensive package of safety measures in place to help people travel in confidence as the economy and daily life reopens at different speeds across England, Scotland and Wales. Each service in the live map on the app will be colour coded. Quieter bus routes will be shown in a green bus icon, meaning ‘not too busy’. A ‘quite busy’ bus route would be shown in a light amber icon, with dark amber for ‘very busy’ routes.

Passengers will be also to see where their bus is on the map, and when it will be arriving in real time. Basically, everything you need to know about the 216 at your fingertips.

Stagecoach’s app already has the UK’s most advanced real time bus tracker. This latest development will help people to confidently and easily plan when they want to travel. It is the latest addition in an extensive range of measures by Stagecoach to help customers feel confident in using buses as they continue to provide a vital link to work, retail and leisure facilities.

Stagecoach is continuing to increase capacity on bus services to support social distancing. Strict cleaning regimes continue for all buses, which includes at least a daily clean of all buses with an anti-viral sanitiser. Contactless payment is also available on all buses.

The latest UK government advice states that everybody travelling on public transport from 15 June must wear a face covering. Stagecoach’s guide on how to travel safely and comfortably can be found at

Carla Stockton-Jones, Interim Managing Director UK for Stagecoach, said: “We are pleased to be welcoming more people back onto our buses as things start to open up around the country.

“We have already put a range of extra measures in place to make sure our customers feel confident in using our services, including strict cleaning regimes and social distancing measures, which we know are the biggest priorities for travellers. The launch of our new busy bus indicator is an extra step to give people an easy, at a glance guide on the best times to travel and to plan their journeys to avoid busier times.

“Buses continue to play a vital role in connecting people with work and leisure facilities. At a time when people across the country are starting to be reunited with friends and family, this investment in new technology will help to ensure that people can be completely prepared and confident in using our services.”

An EM60 Presentation, 12 June 2020.

4 thoughts on “‘Busy Bus’ App to Help With Journey Planning

  1. Hello Stuart, your probably already aware but just in case, according to the latest TFGM meeting there will be huge changes to the bus network, some of the highlights include the entire withdrawal of the 236, possible full withdrawal of the X58, and major changes to services in the Denton and Stockport areas.


    1. Hi Leeds,

      I have just had a look at the changes, and I am surprised that the 236’s withdrawal didn’t come earlier. I thought its demise would have been in 2016 instead of 2020. On the other hand it does state that the 237 would see an upgrade. Between the lines, this could mean a 20 minute daytime service through Hadfield.

      The 205 could be going back to its original premise: as the Piccadilly – Dane Bank service. The changes to the 204 and 206 would be more user-friendly than the present 204 after 7pm and 206 before 7pm muddle.

      As for the 336/337 Hartshead Circular cuts (half hourly to once hourly), I am not impressed with that motion, and I hope the X58 is saved. Apart from making a substantial chunk a Bus Free Zone, its potential loss means the lack of a faster bus-based option from Rochdale to Halifax.

      The changes to the 217 are interesting: an extension to Wythenshawe Hospital! Needless to say, I shall look at this change – and the others in greater detail in a forthcoming Tameside Service Changes post.




  2. Hello Stuart, good news on the X58 front, it’ll be operated by First and looks to interwork with the 560, with all 560 journeys taken on by First. First will also re-number the X58 to 528! Shame about the 236 as that provided a much quicker link, traffic permitting, from Ashton to Glossop.


    1. Hi Leeds,

      Basically, First haven’t just regained the route. They have also given the route its proper (post-Metro West Yorkshire) route number. Strictly speaking, X58 wasn’t that good a fit as the route didn’t seem to be express enough to me (unlike the X43).

      Any interworking with the 560 to Commons is a good move, so long as its Rochdale link is retained. If so, I wonder if First would terminate the 590 at Hebden Bridge railway station? If they did that, they could encourage Rochdale and Littleborough based Halifax bound passengers to take the 528.

      Therefore, the 589 and 590 routes could retain their half hourly frequency to Todmorden, before splitting at Burnley and Hebden Bridge. For that to work, you would also need to retain the 592 from Halifax to Burnley, and make the 528 your main Rochdale to Halifax route.

      I think traffic may be a factor in the forthcoming withdrawal of the 236 route (and the upgrading of the 237). If the 236 remained in operation for another five years, it would have been even more bogged down in traffic, thanks to the building of the Glossop Spur which would finish at Woolley Bridge.




Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s