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Free public Wi-Fi arrives on London buses

London bus journeys are about to get a lot more attractive after Transport for London [TfL] confirmed it is trialling free Wi-Fi for passengers riding around the city.

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The trial means the number 12 bus from Dulwich to Oxford Circus and RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Hill will both offer a free connection to passengers with the new technology part of the Year of the Bus.

“Innovation is a key theme of the Year of the Bus and we have worked with our suppliers to find new and innovative ways to further improve the experience of our passengers. These trials will establish whether this technology provides genuine benefits to people on the move,” stated Simon Reed, head of TfL’s technical services group.

If the trial is successful then the plan is to install it on further buses and TfL made it clear that a sponsorship of the scheme would allow the scheme to be rolled out at no cost to the taxpayer.

London Underground passengers have been able to enjoy Wi-Fi on tube platforms since the London 2012 Olympic Games after Virgin Media sponsored the scheme that is now offered at 144 stations on the network.

Two other useful pieces of technology are also being trialled that aim to make bus journeys that little bit more bearable. The first comes in the form of an upper deck availability checker that provides passengers with information on how many seats are available.

The system uses onboard CCTV to work out availability and one 141 bus, which runs on the route between Palmers Green and London Bridge, is the only one to be part of the trial that will be rolled out further if successful.

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Lastly, detailed passenger information screens are being installed on vehicles to provide extensive information on the journey including details on the previous bus stop, what time the bus will arrive at the next stop, and information on upcoming transport interchanges.