Catch the bus without leaving your home

10 months ago Thu 14th Oct 2021

Step inside three different virtual buses and board from the transport superhub of the future with our VirtualBus360, which goes live today.

Visitors to the virtual world can hear about bus services first hand from real customers; bus drivers and customer service colleagues, as they share their own travelling experiences and tips in 23 separate videos. The videos and online information cover every aspect of bus travel including accessibility, tickets and payments, journey planning, real-time bus information and environmental and technological features.    

You can use your phone, tablet or computer to hop on board a virtual bus and check out seating - including priority seating, wheelchair and buggy spaces; as well as the manual ramp; luggage racks; handrails and grab poles. You'll also learn about the hearing loop system, GPS tracking, CCTV, USB charging points, anti-virus air filters, Wi-Fi and next stop audio and visual announcements and even ring the bells!   

Once you've toured the virtual buses, you can check out our vision for transport superhubs, which brings together current thinking about mobility hubs for the busiest central locations. Mobility hubs will dramatically improve passengers’ waiting experience with larger shelters, more comfortable seating, enriched digital information, Wi-Fi, USB charging points, links to other modes of transport, green bus stop roofs and solar panels.

Managing Director Martin Harris said the project grew out of the work the company does with local charity Grace Eyre. The organisation has run travel training for adults with learning disabilities with Brighton & Hove Buses since 2014.                                                  

“VirtualBus360 connects some of the high quality elements of the service as it is today with a vision of the near future showing how we can integrate all forms of sustainable travel with great information and facilities for all bus users. This adds another way customers can choose to receive their information,” said Martin.

“We really want to hear from people about their experience of using VirtualBus, along with any ideas about how it could be improved or developed. This is just the beginning of our use of virtual reality to make travel easier.

“I’d like to thank all the charities who have contributed to this work, and Grace Eyre in particular, for their insights and sustained input into this project. It was through discussions with them about how we could integrate some of this real-life confidence building training into a virtual experience that VirtualBus360 came about.” 

Grace Eyre’s Head of Travel Training Gary Cunningham said: “The level of thought and detail
that has gone into this is absolutely fantastic. It will make a big difference in building travel confidence and creating the independence vital in enhancing people’s lives and opportunities. There is endless potential to create training scenarios and educational resources from this programme that we will use to ensure accessibility for everyone we support.  A big thank you to Brighton & Hove Buses who listened and engaged so positively!”

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users UK said: “This is a fantastic initiative that takes the guesswork out of planning a journey. For anyone with a mobility issue, disability or mental health issue, or for those of us who just need a bit of reassurance before travelling, this is a game-changer. Other transport providers need to take note!” 

Step into the world of VirtualBus360 here

VirtualBus 360 was designed through a collaboration involving the technical expertise of 4WardFutures, Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus, and the support of a number of charities including the Grace Eyre Foundation, Guide Dogs, Speak Out, Switchboard and Possability People.

4WardFutures is a Warrington-based charity working to empower young people to take control of their future careers.