Real Time

Real Time

The Bus did not arrive at the time stated by the App/Website

The real time system is by its nature dynamic and is set to respond to factors on the road, including changes in traffic patterns, accidents, etc. In general though, the margin of error is less than one minute for predictions of five minutes away or less. For ten-minute predictions, the margin of error is less than two minutes, the margin increases the further away in time the prediction is, as the probability of intervening events increases. The system is continually fine-tuned in response to testing and feedback.

What are the factors that may affect the accuracy of Real Time Information?

Operational considerations
With such an extensive bus system, technical problems or operational disruptions can sometimes occur. Unanticipated problems such as a road closure or a mechanical problem can sometimes affect bus services. Occasional incidents can occur where a street is closed, for example on St Patrick's Day for a march or a big sporting occasion. In such cases, bus inspectors sometimes need to make a last minute change to scheduled bus services and it may not always be possible to reflect this on individual signs. The real time system was developed to respond to service disruptions as accurately as possible however, some disruptions could still affect the accuracy of the prediction.

Software and communication considerations
Occasionally a fault may occur in communications between the central server and the on-bus equipment. Sometimes software updates may be required for new services and schedules which can momentarily disrupt real time information.

Why does the waiting time increase or stay the same for a number of minutes sometimes?

Real time information predicts the actual time of arrival by knowing where the bus is currently located. Your bus could arrive right at the time shown or it could occasionally get stuck in traffic so the arrival time on display at the bus stop can sometimes change back and forward accordingly.  This service aims to provide the most immediate and accurate information to the waiting passenger at that point in time.

Real Time information on Iphone, Android and windows Apps

Real Time Ireland App

The Real Time Ireland App integrates all real time arrival information services from Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Dart, Irish Rail and Luas. It is available free on Apple App store here, the Google Play store here and the Windows store here

Features of the new Real Time Ireland App:

– The Real Time Ireland App allows people to set alerts to inform them when their bus is 10 minutes, or 20 minutes or 30 minutes away from a certain bus stop, so they can plan when to leave  home or work – The App can inform people when they are approaching a particular bus stop (GPS dependent) – The App shows combined transport updates from Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Luas, DART and Irish Rail

What is Real Time Passenger Information?

Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) will show you when your bus is due to arrive at your bus stop so you can plan your journey more accurately.

On Street Real Time Displays

Approximately 520 signs will be located in the Greater Dublin Area and 47 signs in Cork, 18 in Galway, 17 in Limerick and 10 in Waterford. Sign locations are based on where they will provide information to the greatest number of bus passengers, and to include as many main routes as possible. Factors taken into account include: – The number of bus services and the number of existing and potential passengers using the stops each day. – Locations near to key services like shopping districts or key public buildings. – Proximity to Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs). – Proximity to major transport interchanges. Unfortunately, there can’t be an information sign at every stop, and even some qualifying bus stops will not have an associated on-street sign. This is because the cost of providing the signs at a particular location may be much greater than normal due to the nature of the actual site or the works which would be required. All 10,000 Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann stops are included on the website, smartphone and SMS phone services.  

Real Time Information for All Bus Stops

Real Time Passenger Information for  Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Luas and Irish Rail services is available on this website and via the Real Time Ireland android, iphone and windows apps. Not all Bus Éireann services are Real Time enabled, but the majority are and the NTA are working with Bus Éireann to ensure all services are covered.  

Real Time information via SMS

You can get the time of the next 4 buses from any bus stop on the real time system directly to your mobile phone. Just text your bus stop number to 53035 (e.g. text 1234 to 53035). You can refine your selection at busier stops by including your route number, so text 'bus stop number', space, followed by your 'route number' to 53035. Costs 30c per message received. Network operator charges may apply, service provided by Open Sky Data Systems. Stop numbers are displayed on the top of all bus stops in the Dublin Bus network, and on the Cork bus stops in the system, and you can also find your bus stop number online at If the full RTPI service is for some reason not available, a free message will be returned e.g. "Content is unavailable, you have not been charged, normal operator charges may apply" To provide this service, the service provider Open Sky sends a "free" message to the subscriber; this message is paid for by National Transport Authority. The same SMS number – 53035 – will also be used for expanded Bus Éireann Services, and other public transport services when they join the RTPI system.

Will other public transport operators be included in the future?

The Real Time Passenger Information system is designed to be able to take information from other licenced bus operators, once information for their fleet is available and tested. The National Transport Authority is in discussions with representatives of  LUAS and Irish Rail on their feeds.

How does the bus arrival information system work?

Buses must be equipped with an Automatic Vehicle Location transmitter, which can track the bus, using a Global Positioning System (GPS) and transmit the data in a standard protocol. On-board software predicts the arrival time at the next bus stop. This information is then sent to the sign through a central control system. The screen at the bus stop counts down the minutes until the bus arrives. Updates are usually received from the vehicle location system at 30 second intervals, so information on the signs is regularly updated.

How accurate is the information?

The National Transport Authority is committed to working with the bus companies to provide as accurate a service as possible. Recent surveys in June 2013 in Dublin show the system has an average accuracy of 96% of services arriving within 60 seconds of the 'due' prediction. Continued development will further increase the accuracy. The National Transport Authority has recently commissioned an independent surveyor to test the system in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Real Time Information is complex and prone to issues arising from traffic congestion, communications and operational issues. The best and most expensive bus based Real Time systems in the world do not achieve much more than 90% accuracy.  There will always be cases where issues will arise. For the vast majority of time, and for the vast majority of people, RTPI gives valuable and valued information. The National Transport Authority welcome feedback from the travelling public who can access a feedback form on this website. The system will be fine-tuned in response to testing and feedback.

Why is the information on the RTPI Signs or Web or the SMS sometimes slightly different?

Differences should be negligible. However because the information is coming from the same source it is being delivered through different channels with specific update rates, small differences can occur. Currently the service feeding all the RTPI signs is channelled through a central server in Dublin City Council (serving RTPI across all-Ireland). The service feeds the website directly from the Dublin Bus and Bus ÉireannSystems. For the SMS service the request must go through the SMS service provider, network operator and the source system.

How do visually impaired people access the information?

The SMS text service was developed to work with text to speech programmes.

Who is responsible for this service?

The National Transport Authority is responsible for the Real Time Passenger Information service.  The National Transport Authority, established in December 2009, has responsibility for contracting and securing the provision of public passenger transport services for the travelling public, including information services. You can visit our website at for more information on the Authority.  Our website is where to find all information and services relating to your journey or trip. The RTPI service is delivered in co-operation with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, which is responsible for the roll out of the automatic vehicle location system and the real time arrival predictions for its buses. Dublin City Council provided technical expertise, managed the procurement of the signs and software system, and it is also co-ordinating the installation of signs, in tandem with the relevant local authorities. As the service is launched in other cities across Ireland, and the National Transport Authority is working to ensure that other public transport operators are included in the future. The National Transport Authority would like to acknowledge Dublin City Council, who have demonstrated their commitment to existing and new public transport users in taking on this project.