FIRST Bus has announced a partnership with an artificial intelligence firm ‘to revolutionise services’ following a successful rollout period.

First Bus is the bus division of transport company FirstGroup and serves several Essex areas.

The company’s new three-year partnership is with, an AI company whose software can automatically generate optimal timetables, schedules and real time fleet instructions.

The software will allow full timetables to be created or adjusted and buses to be scheduled in minutes – a process that would typically take days to complete.

Passengers are said to have experienced improved service quality with the punctuality of services on trial routes having jumped over 20 per cent in many cases.

Additionally, Prospective’s software can be used to identify where bus priority interventions such as parking enforcement and restrictions, bus lanes, bus gates, priority signals and traffic removal would have the biggest impact on travel times. 

Simon Pearson, chief commercial officer for First Bus, said: “We’re excited to roll out Prospective’s network planning and scheduling software across our UK bus operations and know that it will benefit both customers and colleagues alike.

“We are always working hard to bring our customers the best customer experience, ensuring that our buses are as efficient and punctual as possible.

“We’re not only looking to drive improvements for our existing customers, but to make bus an affordable, more reliable and attractive part of everyone’s everyday transport mix.

“The results we’ve achieved in West Yorkshire and the West of England have been incredible in such a short space of time, but we’re only scratching the surface of its potential. We’re excited to roll out this software and see the benefits it brings to our customers.”

Pete Ferguson, chief executive of Prospective, said: “We’re delighted to be rolling out our platform across First Bus’ UK operations. The FlowOS platform will support the delivery of more reliable and convenient public transport services and help grow public transport ridership in the UK.

“First Bus has been central to the development of Prospective's AI software for the public transport market – supporting us throughout the development, testing and refinement of software for bus service planning."

“We’re grateful for First Bus’ support, creativity and commitment to improving public transport across the UK and are proud of our growing partnership.”