Bus technology is ever changing and evolving, and more than ever before, bus passengers are using their journey time for productivity, communications and entertainment via their devices. Since USB charging and Wi-Fi has been added to many buses around the UK as part of a demand for advanced facilities, numbers have spoken for themselves that this has proven to be a much sought after feature.

In November 2018, Passenger conducted a survey in various areas of the UK, and the findings indicated that 76% of all bus passengers were using their mobile for front-facing photography at some stage during their journeys.

Upon bringing this evidence to our operators, we workshopped a way to use this data to make the passenger experience even better, by making bus selfies easier than ever before.

man posing in the middle of a bus

Buses are becoming the on-trend location for photography

In 2017-2018, statistics across social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) showed a combined total of 672,346 posts associated with a UK IP address included the hashtag #belfie or #busselfie. Our research predicts this number will quadruple by 2020.

screenshot of the Belfie feature

Belfie in action

Our operators are installing small front-facing cameras onto the back of each seat, which can be activated upon plugging a device into the corresponding port, downloading the operator app if not already installed, and following the prompts. Once this is complete, you will be able to select either ‘automate’ ‘shutter’ or ‘click’. The ‘automate’ feature takes a photo every 5 seconds until you tap stop on your device. ‘Shutter’ takes a series of 10 photos in quick succession, and ‘Click’ takes a photo every time you tap anywhere on your phone.

backs of bus seats each with a camera fitted

Passenger Belfie – The Hardware Prototype

The photos will automatically be added to the device user’s phone and no data is stored elsewhere, so it is entirely secure and private.

Trials were carried out in February this year as we partnered with one of our operators to get the hardware fitted to two of their buses. The trial received excellent feedback from their customers over a period of 2 days, operators saw an uptake of 12% in repeat ticket sales with customers engaged in the trial and an increase in CSAT of 32%.

This feature can only take still photos at this time, but we are already looking to expand this product for video footage after receiving requests during the trial.

If you’re interested in Passenger Belfie or any of our other products, please get in touch.