Real time information (RTI) – FAQsBack home

What is the Real Time Information (RTI) system?

The new RTI system tracks each bus in Devon and Torbay and compares its actual location with where it should be on its timetable. By comparing these two sets of data, the system is able to calculate how long it will take each bus to reach all of the stops along its route. Each bus sends an update every 30 seconds, so the system is very accurate.

How can I tell if my bus is being tracked?

If your bus is being tracked the system will show how long it will take to arrive at your stop in minutes (e.g. 6 mins). If your bus is not currently being tracked the system will show its scheduled arrival time according to the 24 hour clock (e.g. 17:14).

Why do some buses not appear on the RTI system?

Virtually all buses in Devon are included, with the exception of some Countrybus and Dartline services in and around Newton Abbot and Torbay. When these services update their ticket machines our system will also be able to track their buses.

Some buses in rural areas may lose contact with the system due to lack of an available signal (see question on factors which may affect accuracy).

How accurate is the information?

If your bus is being tracked the system is very accurate, and will automatically update the predicted arrival time every 30 seconds. If your bus is not being tracked, you will only see the scheduled arrival time according to the timetable, which may not be the time that it will actually arrive. Please be assured that we are working to track as many bus services as possible, so if your bus is not being tracked now, it should be in the future.

What factors might affect the accuracy of the RTI system?

Devon is a largely rural county and there are large areas that do not have mobile coverage. As the ticket machines on each bus which transmit the data signals rely on the same communications technology as mobile phones, they can only communicate where they can get a signal.

If there is an emergency which delays your bus, it will take a while for the system to recognise that this has happened. Where possible, there will be a message on the displays, website and app to warn you of any major delays

Are the timetables at bus stops now out of date?

No. buses will continue to run to their timetables, but there are many reasons why a bus may be delayed and this system will give you the most up to date information on where you bus is and how long it is likely to take before it arrives.

Didn't we already have a system in Exeter?

Exeter has had a basic RTI system in place for ten years. This used old technology and relied on buses triggering a small number of fixed beacons around the city. Improvements in technology, and particularly the new generation of smart card ticket machines used on modern buses, allows each bus to be continually tracked for its entire journey.

In addition, the new system covers services across the whole of Devon and Torbay, not just Exeter.

Is RTI available in Torbay and Plymouth?

This RTI arrangement covers Devon and Torbay; therefore all buses in Torbay are shown on this system. Plymouth has a separate RTI system to Torbay and Devon; however, cross border journeys into Devon will be shown on this system.

How do I find my bus stop number?

The bus stop number should be shown at your bus stop, next to the text symbol. You can also find your bus stop number on Google: if you click on a bus stop it will show the bus stop ID under its name.

How do visually impaired people access this information?

If you have a special battery operated key fob you can activate the speaking function of the displays and the display will then read out the information on the next services. These can be ordered online.

Who should I contact for more information?

In Devon County Council’s area, contact the Customer Service Centre on 0845 155 1004 or 0345 155 1004 or email

In Torbay Council’s area, contact