Bus departure screens

I would like to request the following information on the real time passenger information bus departure screens for which you are responsible:

1) Details of the initial tender and/or procurement process, including all options that were originally considered and their respective quoted costs of installation and ongoing maintenance.

The procurement process included a public competitive tender. This specified the supply of a back-office bus real time system which would collect bus service data for processing and supplying bus real time information to on-line and on-street outlets.

The tender was carried out by Torbay Council on behalf of the two authorities. At the time, Torbay Council and Devon County Council (DCC) were embarking on a joint real time information project.

The full tender results and evaluations of options are held by Torbay Council, and Devon County Council therefore does not hold this information. Any outstanding questions should be addressed to Torbay Council.

In addition, the real time information system was discussed at Devon County Council Cabinet on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014. As agenda item 10: Bus Real Time Information Displays and Priority – Report of the Head of Planning Transportation and Environment seeking approval to installation of real time displays at selected sites. In this, costs are recorded and the value approved at DCC Cabinet on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 is set out within the document included in the link below:


2) Details of any cost-benefit analysis carried out

There was no cost-benefit analysis carried out.

3) Details (including justifications) of the chosen hardware and software provider(s)

Hardware and software provider:
Idox (formally known as Cloud Amber)
2nd floor, 1310 Waterside, Arlington Business Park, Theale, RG7 4SA.


Please refer to the Devon County Council Cabinet report identified in response to question 1 above. Further, as confirmed above, the full tender results and evaluations of options are held by Torbay Council.

4) The purchase price of each screen split by different model / versions

The purchase price varies depending on the location, power supply and fixing requirements.
However, the average cost range for one real time information display including maintenance, communication costs, posts and installation, but excluding power supply, design, supervision, and project management costs are as follows: –

38” External TFT Display – £6,000 to £7,000
3 Line flag type display – £5,000 to £6,000
46” External TFT Free Standing – £13,000 to £14,000

5) Details of all costs arising with respect to these screens, the underlying software, and ongoing maintenance/upgrades

For the average cost range of the screens please see our response to question 4 above.
The underlying software and ongoing maintenance / upgrades are included within the overall arrangement. See the Devon County Council Cabinet report as set out in our response to question 1.

6) The total number and location of all screens

In total there are 56 screens. This figure includes 42 screens which have been successfully installed and formally handed over to Devon County Council and the 2 planned screens for IKEA.

For the location of the screens (by bus stop name), see spreadsheet “Devon displays” attached via the link below:


7) Details of any procedures, policies, guidelines, or similar documents in place for ensuring quality, accuracy, and reliability of the screens

The supervision of the installation of the RTI screens is carried out by our consultants Jacobs. Any electrical installation is in accordance with National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). On handover (i.e. once the consultant is satisfied that the display is installed correctly) DCC receives a handover document.

The accuracy of the screens is dependent on timetable data. Timetable data is provided by the either the bus operator or for the smaller operators via South West Public Transport Information systems.

Reliability of the screens is depended on a number of factors for example power supply, communications (i.e. telecoms signal) from both the individual bus and the system server, and timetable data. We make every effort to ensure that the screens are operating reliably, and at present the screens are showing 70% of all bus services operating in Devon and up to 90% of all bus services run by Devon’s major bus operator in real time.

It should be noted that the next two biggest bus operators, which make up approximately 25% of all buses operating within Devon, are not real time enabled (although they will be soon). Therefore, to date, the real time system has been displaying timetable data for these bus operators.

8) Details of previous, current, or predicted routine and/or unexpected maintenance jobs, who carried them out, and their cost

Please see the attached spreadsheet “Devon displays” referred to in question 6 above. We should clarify that there is no exhaustive list.

Unexpected maintenance jobs:
Exmouth – outstanding (No cost quoted as still under maintenance contract)
Tiverton bus station – outstanding (the damage to this unit was considered to be outside of the existing maintenance contract, therefore DCC have received a quote of less than £4000 to fix unit)
Moisture ingress:
Ilfracombe – outstanding (No cost quoted as still under maintenance contract)
Sidmouth – fixed (No cost quoted as still under maintenance contract)

At present, there are no routine maintenance jobs planned for the screens.
At present, there is insufficient data to predict routine or unexpected maintenance jobs.
Idox organise and manage any display maintenance jobs and the cost is inclusive in the contact.

9) The expected working life of the screens.

The expected working life of the screens is 7 to 10 years.

 10) Plans for replacement at end-of-life if any.

There are no confirmed plans at present.

 11) Contracts relating to maintenance, servicing, upgrades, and software provision.

Devon County Council has a services contract with Idox which relates to maintenance, servicing, upgrades and software provision.

12) Any evidence of support for and engagement in the scheme from local bus operators.

DCC representatives have bi-monthly meetings with Devon’s major bus operator and have an ongoing exchange of timetable information with them. Devon’s major bus operator accounts for 90% of both the Devon bus network and Devon bus service data held within the Real Time Information System. At the planning stage representatives from Devon’s major bus operator and representatives from one additional bus operator were present.

Smaller bus operators engage with the DCC via emails and telephone calls, ticket machine data supply and South West Public Transport Information systems.

13) Details (including dates) of any known, fixed, or under investigation issues with the screens

Please refer to the spreadsheet referred to in response to question 6 above.

In addition, DCC have experienced the following fixed, known and under investigation issues with the screens:

Ongoing – Installing signs at shelters
Difficulties have commonly arisen when installing displays in shelters at-stops. Two separate problems have been encountered in this area, namely:
− obtaining electricity supplies to displays;
− ensuring that the shelter to be fitted is capable of housing an at-stop display.
This has delayed parts of systems coming on-line.

Ongoing – Management of data
Successfully developing data sets and inputting this data into the real time information systems has proved problematic. This is in part due to multiple data sources and the lack of a stable data exchange standard. If data is not inputted correctly into the system, buses will not
be able to be monitored and therefore the system will not function correctly (in this instance the system will divert to the scheduled time. i.e. it will show the timetable data).

In addition, the lack of correct up to date data can result in the system not functioning properly. This is an ongoing, reoccurring issue as bus timetables can and do change.

Ongoing – Implementation of Electronic Ticketing Machine links
The installation of bi-directional links between on-bus Electronic Ticket Machines and the system have been problematic to implement successfully, with the system (and therefore the displays) reverting to timetable data as a result.

Ongoing – Communication failure
Difficulties have commonly arisen when displays fail to receive a telecoms signal. If a display fails to receive one signal in a 24 period, a fault notification issued. This is then investigated. Once resolved a closed fault notification is received.

Ongoing – Vandalism
So far, vandalism has occurred at two displays. At one site the display glass was smashed at the other site the display mountings were buckled.

Ongoing – Water ingress
So far, water ingress has occurred at two displays.

Ongoing – miscellaneous
This includes the display formatting going wrong, the pagination timing not working correctly, display messages not working, displays showing error messages and the internal memory becoming full. These issues can occur unexpectedly and we aim to resolve them as fast as possible.