Go-Ahead launches new unique AI based technology to help bus customers plan their travel

  • Go-Ahead has developed a unique predictive technology tool to help customers plan the best time to travel on bus services
  • ‘When to Travel’ offers dynamic, colour coded bus timetables that show seat availability on services, giving customers who need to travel the confidence to plan bus journeys
  •  The app and website feature, launching today, helps passengers avoid busy times whilst capacity is reduced to enable social distancing

08 June – The Go-Ahead Group is rolling out its innovative ‘When to Travel’ tool for customers nationwide.  Along with social distancing, wearing face coverings, enhanced cleaning and hygiene, it aims to give confidence to use buses as customers return to work and school.

'When to travel' is being launched today in Newcastle and will be rolled out next week in other cities including Manchester, Oxford, Norwich, Brighton, Crawley, Southampton, Bournemouth, Salisbury and Plymouth. Designed in collaboration with tech partner CitySwift, it provides a dynamic colour coded online timetable tool to help passengers plan journeys on quieter journeys.  Using artificial intelligence and algorithms that learn from recorded passenger use, the data updates dynamically to provide a level of detail that includes point to point within each timetabled journey.

Current social distancing requirements have reduced the number of people buses can carry.  A double decker bus that could normally take up to 75 people is currently limited to about 15 seats.  With more people expected to use buses as lockdown eases, 'When to travel' will help customers plan journeys to workplaces and other destinations based on when seats will be available.  Journeys home can also be planned around seat availability, taking away worries of long waits or of being left stranded.

This dynamic data set will also help Go-Ahead’s bus companies plan future timetable changes based on emerging demand as the bus industry faces the challenges of changing travel patterns, balanced with capacity restrictions due to social distancing.

Katy Taylor, Group Commercial and Customer Director said:

“Our customers have told us their priorities are cleanliness, social distancing and knowing they can get a seat on the bus home. We want customers who need to travel to be able to plan their journeys with confidence, knowing they will be able to board the bus at a particular time, and get one home at a time that suits them.

“Along with the enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of buses, and by following the government advice to wash hands frequently, pay by contactless, and wear face coverings whilst on board, customers can travel in safety and with confidence.

“Employers can also help by enabling employees where possible to match their start and finish times to when seats being available on buses.”

CitySwift, partners in the technology, were part of Go-Ahead's Billion Journey Project, the UK's largest privately funded multi-modal transport innovation programme.

Alan Farrelly, COO & Co-Founder of CitySwift said:

“We’re delighted to develop this powerful data tool in partnership with Go-Ahead.

“The technology is the culmination of months of development work using vast amounts of mobility data, artifical intelligence and proprietary algorithms to deliver vital ‘bus stop level’ capacity information to customers as lockdown eases.
“This big step forward in bus customer information, led by Go-Ahead, harnesses the power of big data and the most advanced technology to provide a better experience for bus passengers as they gradually return to using services”

The new ‘When to Travel’ tool will be deployed across all Go-Ahead Group UK bus companies ready for non-essential retail reopening and some secondary pupils returning on 15th June 2020.  In doing so, it will have been deployed within just three weeks of the development project originating. 



Steve Hawkes

Steve.hawkes@bcw-global.com / 07980 823 755

Notes to editors


Go-Ahead is one of the leading UK public transport operator companies.  Our purpose is to be the local partner taking care of journeys that enhance the lives and wellbeing of our communities across the world.  Employing around 30,000 people across our businesses, over 1.2 billion passenger journeys are undertaken on our rail and bus services every year. In addition to the travelling public, our customers include governments and local authorities. We are committed to contributing to tackling climate change, improving air quality and reducing social isolation, and aim to run a zero emission bus fleet by 2035. 



Go-Ahead is one of the UK's largest bus operators. With a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses, we carry over two million passengers every day. We have a strong presence in London, with around 23 per cent market share, where we provide regulated services for Transport for London. Outside London, we principally serve high-density commuter markets, including the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England. Internationally, we operate a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland.



The rail division operates two franchises in the UK, three contracts in Germany and one in Norway. In the UK, Southeastern and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) operate through our 65% owned subsidiary, Govia, which is 35% owned by Keolis. It is the largest rail operation in the UK, responsible for around 30 per cent of all UK passenger rail journeys through its rail franchises. In Germany and Norway, our contracts are run exclusively by Go-Ahead.