As expected, we saw very significant demand for digital services during this morning’s disruption as torrential rain and signal failures affected a number of Tube and Rail lines.
We recently shared some thinking about how we provide the best service to our customers via Twitter (‘TfL Social Media – Adapting to Twitter’s Changes’).
This has been taken as suggesting that we’re stepping back from providing the full range of information we currently provide our customers and that we object in some way to the changes being proposed to Twitter. That was not our intention, so we’ve taken down the post.
We’re not going to make any immediate changes to the current range of information we put out on Twitter, which means customers will continue to get everything they are used to receiving.
We’re working with Twitter to ensure that we make best use of their platform and bring customers the messages they want to receive.
We’ve also got loads of ideas about how we use new features and approaches to give customers an even better service on this channel.
We’ll keep you updated with all of that here and really value your thoughts about how we can provide better travel information on all the channels we use.
From today you’ll notice that we’re now providing more options by default in Journey Planner.
In addition to the fastest public transport journey, we now also calculate bus only, Santander cycles, cycling and walking journeys. Through other buttons on the journey results you can access routes for full step-free access, least walking and fewest changes.
We’ve also fixed some problems people were having with planning from certain stations like Watford Junction, which stemmed from a data issue.
We’ve made some changes today to advertising on tfl.gov.uk, with key pages featuring more prominent advertising in new formats.
For the past few years we have featured advertising on the site. As a public body we reinvest any income to run and improve the services we provide, including the website.
This week marked the first anniversary of the launch of our new website. The new site, which works well on mobiles, tablets and desktops, replaced our previous website dating back to 2007.
The site, used by 81% of Londoners, brings together live data about all forms of transport in London and is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about public transport and roads.
Since launch customers have made over 250 million visits and viewed 1.2 billion pages and our most recent survey shows satisfaction at 90%, the highest ever.
We have also seen usage on mobile phones overtake desktop computers with 120 million visits on mobile and 107 million on desktops, with the remainder coming from tablets. This reflects the fact that the site is much better suited to mobiles and customers are increasingly using it on the move.
I’ve received a number of questions asking how best to get location services to work on our website.
There are various features in the site which can make use of your location to save time and help you find your way around;
- Journey Planner – Has a ‘Use my location’ option when you start to enter a ‘from’ or ‘to’ point as part of planning a journey.
- ‘Nearby’ – Starts by trying to use your location when you select Nearby from the homepage. It can then show you all forms of transport around you with live arrivals and status.
- Find a bus stop – This offers a ‘Use my location’ option when you try to find a bus stop from the Buses landing page.
There are various other places where this is offered, for example in the Maps area.
What do I need to do to get location services working?
The website uses the location services of your phone or computer. Typically this requires you to be using a mobile phone connection or wifi. It will not normally work well (or at all) on a corporate office network.
The device needs to have location services enabled. In the case of Android devices and iPhones this can be done in the phone settings.
Once that’s done selecting ‘Nearby’ on our website should bring up a message in your browser asking if you will allow your location to be used. On iPhones this appears in the middle of the screen.
On Android devices it appears at the foot of the screen and can sometimes be obscured by the keyboard. If it is obscured then select the ‘back’ button and the keyboard should disappear leaving you to respond to the message.
‘Nearby’ and other location elements should now work. You may get asked for permission again from time to time depending on your browser.
What if it’s still not working?
On some browsers we’ve seen a problem where accessing the site over https (an encrypted connection) location services (and some other mapping elements) do not work correctly.
This can be resolved by accessing the site over http (unencrypted) – using the link http://www.tfl.gov.uk.
From time to time stored website pages and cookies can cause a problem. You can clear these through your browser settings on an Android phone, within settings choose ‘clear browsing data’. On an iPhone you need to go into the general settings of the phone and find those for Safari to ‘clear history and website data’.
We really value your feedback – particularly if you have issues using location services within the website. You can leave your comments on this blog.
You will see a change shortly as we migrate from using the older bus arrivals service at m.countdown.tfl.gov.uk to the new one.
When we launched the site we had some reliability problems with the new live arrivals service. We decided it was best to revert back to the older version until we had ironed everything out. It’s now ready to be switched on and this change will happen very shortly.
How will I get to live bus arrivals now?
There are many ways to get live bus arrivals in the website, here are the main ones;
- Homepage ‘Live arrivals’ button – This will take you to a page where you can enter any route or stop and get live arrivals. It gives live information for Tube, Trams and River services too.
- Buses landing page ‘Find a bus stop or route’ – On the buses landing page, once we’ve switched over, you’ll be able to enter a route number and choose the direction to get a list of stops. Selecting a stop gives you live arrivals.
- ‘Nearby’ button on homepage – Hitting the ‘Nearby’ button will look up your location (you may need to allow the browser to use your location). It will then show you all the stops and stations around you on a map and in a list. By selecting any of these you will get the arrivals and status. If the device can’t recognise your location then you can type it in.
- Homepage favourite stops (shown below) – On each bus stop page there is a favourites icon (a star). If you select this it will pin that bus stop to the website homepage on the device you are using. If you scroll down on the homepage you will see these favourites and can get to that stop with one click for live arrivals.
- Homepage recent stops – The homepage keeps a record of recently selected stops, you can then reach them with one click.
What happens from here?
One of the strengths of the new site is that it is a one stop shop for information, bringing together different forms of transport. This brings a constant challenge to retain the simplicity and directness of each individual tool.
We are looking at how we can make things simpler and easier for the most common user journeys such as checking a bus arrival, planning journeys and checking fares. The site is a living thing and we are constantly adding to it and making improvements.
We’re really interested to have your views on these services. Feel free to comment on this blog to let us know what you think.
Don’t forget you can also get live bus arrivals on one of the numerous smartphone apps which are powered by our open data, available from all the popular app stores.