Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Thursday, 26 August 2010

My brilliant idea to improve the buttons you press to get off a bus

1. The "I want to alight at the next bus stop please" buttons on buses should be capable of lighting up when one is pressed (in case people can't easily see the lit up "Stopping" sign at the front and middle of the bus, from where they're sitting or standing).

2. Once a button has been pressed then the button sounds should be silenced until the bus has moved from the stop. It's pretty annoying when people keep pressing the button and it beeps, it seems redundant, particularly if it can be made clear to everyone (by being lit up) that the bus will stop at the next bus stop.


Supplemental for @mariawolters who asked about the various beeps etc on buses

Button press 'dings'
London buses do seem to vary in how much noise they make, and probably most of it is for the benefit of visually impaired people. Whenever someone presses the button to get off the action of pressing makes a 'ding' sound. But if someone else presses another / same button on the bus, as often happens when lots of people are getting off at the same stop, then each button press 'dings' too. Sometimes when people are impatient they repeatedly press the button to indicate their annoyance - fortunately not too often.

My argument is that this 'ding' need only happen once, as once the button's been pressed the driver is going to stop the bus at the next stop and further button-pressing is redundant. There's a bit sign that lights up at the front of the bus to say it's stopping, and there's usually another one halfway along the bus, and I think there's one on the upper floor too. If the buttons themselves were able to light up once pressed (how difficult would it be?) then everyone could see that the bus was stopping.

Door closing warning
The next noise that the bus makes is when the doors are about to close. I've not heard this sound for a while so either I've acclimatised or enough people complained - it was a needlessly unpleasant sound, warning people that it's too late to get off. I can see that it's important for people who can't see to be kept informed of the doors' activities but it could have been a lot more pleasant.

GPS voice alerts
Finally, many buses - not all - are equipped with a GPS-voice alert system that tells you when you're coming up to a particular bit of London, eg the buses going along Hampstead Road towards Camden say something like "Drummond Road" when you're near that stop. Quite often they say the number of the bus and its destination too. I don't mind this at all, in fact I find it really useful. I quite often hop on one of several buses which are going more or less in my direction - I can't be the only Londoner to forget precisely which bus I'm on ;)


  1. The ding once and once only thing had occured to me too, it must really p-off the driver listeing to oh-so-amusing passengers pressing it a million times every day. The idea about the light is a good call.

  2. Yes! High fives :)

    I'm quietly confident that my idea would be met favourably by bus drivers...


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