London's iconic double deckers are about to get a lot smarter

 
Nassos Stylianou
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London buses are getting more intelligent (Source: Getty)

Transport for London (TfL) will be introducing screens displaying how many people are sitting upstairs and which seats are available, in a trial system to begin in two weeks.

The display screens will be situated next to the driver as people board the bus and between the driver and the staircase before passengers go upstairs.

As blogger Ian Mansfield writes, apart from the obvious instant realisation that there are indeed seats to sit on, the technology "saves that ever-so-English embarrassment of going upstairs, popping your head up like a meerkat at the top of the stairs for a look around, only to come back down again".

The technology was displayed at a Regent Street Cavalcade on Sunday, and works using CCTV cameras on the upper deck, not with sensors in the seats.

London buses will also be fitted with a screen offering live route information, showing passengers exactly where they are on the route and expected arrival times.

The technology will be formally launched to a passenger service in the next two weeks and according to some reports will be trialled on the number 12 bus route.

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