Real time passenger information (RTPI)

Cornwall Council has been working with the bus operators for several years on an information system that incorporates all the bus timetables and the locations in real time of all the buses running on the network. The aim is that passengers waiting at bus stops should be able to see when a bus is scheduled to arrive at the stop and whether it is running and if it is expected to arrive on time.

This information is presented to the passenger at display screens at the most used bus stops and on mobile phone apps available from the two main operators in Cornwall, First and Go Cornwall.

The displays will initially show the timetable time at which the bus should arrive and then, as the bus is tracked, a countdown time in minutes before the bus is anticipated to arrive. Thus, if the bus is running, say, 10 minutes late, the waiting passenger should be able to see that the bus is late but be reassured that it will be arriving, albeit not at the scheduled time.

On the smartphone apps, the passenger should go to the screen showing the map and scroll the map to the desired location, find the bus stops in that area, click on the particular stop and check that it is the one desired, click on that to open up the list of buses due to arrive there.

Caveats about the real time information system
The above is a description of how the real time information system should work ideally. However, in practice, there are frequently glitches.

• The core information from which the real time information systems work is a) the timetable relevant to that bus stop for the particular day, and b) the ticket machine on the bus transmitting its location to a system in the cloud. From that location information, the real time information systems compute the expected arrival time of the bus at the stop and display that in minutes ahead.

• The actual location of the bus at any one time is dependent on the ticket machine transmitting successfully. That location is available through publicly available websites (see bus tracking below) and is generally very reliable. Occasionally, it fails because there is a fault in the ticket machine but this is rare and this is not where most of the problems with the RTPI systems occur.

• When a particular service is cancelled, the bus operator should, as soon as they have that information, delete the service from the timetable for that day both on their own app and on the Council RTPI system. All operators have access to the Council system. Go Cornwall has a contractual obligation to update the Council system because of its contract with Cornwall Council to provide services on subsidised routes. First does not have the same contractual obligation as its services are predominantly commercial, although it is asked to do so. In practice, it seems that Go Cornwall are usually fairly reliable at deleting the service from its app when they know that it is not going to run but they frequently fail to delete it from the Council system. First generally do not delete cancelled services even from their own app. As a consequence, passengers waiting for First services will frequently find that a service that has been cancelled continues to appear both on the Council system and on the First app with a timetable time that remains displayed until that particular time, then it disappears from the systems and the bus never arrives. The passenger will then not know if the service is going to turn up late or not at all.

• Even when virtually all the services are not running, as is the case on days when First Bus drivers have been on strike, nobody in Cornwall Council or First is deleting these services from the RTPI system. Thus display boards at bus stops and even the First Bus app have shown the services as running. See story on RTPI system on strike days.

• When a bus is running late, but has not been cancelled, the RTPI on the Council system and the bus operator’s app should be providing the waiting passenger with reassurance that the bus is on its way. Generally, this works but often it does not. This may be because the countdown timer is not working at that time and only the timetable information is provided or the system provides an erroneous countdown time that purports to be tracking the bus but is not actually doing so.

• It should be noted that the Council system and the bus operators’ apps all calculate real time information using their own bespoke systems and algorithms and they can produce completely different results for the same bus!

There are, therefore, still several glitches in the RTPI system. It is not infallible - expect the unexpected! For a further analysis of failings within the system, see RTPI failings.

An alternative, more reliable way to track whether your bus is on its way
If you think that the real time passenger information at your bus stop or on your phone app may not be right, you can check whether the bus is actually on the road through another website called This website allows passengers to track every bus in the UK as it moves around the networks. Passengers can go to the website and click on the map button in the top right hand corner of the site and then scroll around the country and zoom into the particular area that you are interested in.

Alternatively, if you want to look at a specific bus route to see if the bus that you are expecting is on the road and approaching you, follow the links below to bus routes in Cornwall. If you click on the link for the appropriate route on your smartphone, you can then save that page on the home screen of your phone for future use. My suggestion to regular bus passengers is that you use this facility to save the routes that you most often use for ready access on your phone when you are waiting at a stop.

The links represent the situation after the timetable changes of 31 March 2024.  It may take a week or two to establish that all these links are correct so there may be a short period in early April when the information is not right. I will check and update them as soon as I can. Please email me if you spot any errors.

2 Stagecoach Saltash to Plymouth
2A Stagecoach Saltash to Plymouth
5 GoCornwall Penzance Newlyn Sheffield
5A GoCornwall Penzance Newlyn Sheffield
6 Stagecoach Bude to Okehampton
8 GoCornwall Penzance to St Just
10 Go Cornwall Plymouth to Polperro
10S Go Cornwall St Germans to Looe
11 GoCornwall Plymouth to Liskeard, Bodmin, Padstow
11A Go Cornwall Saltash to Polbathic
11S Go Cornwall Wadebridge school, Padstow
12 GoCornwall Plymouth to Launceston/Bude
12A GoCornwall Plymouth to Callington
15 GoCornwall Hayle to Penzance
16 GoCornwall Penzance to St Ives via Gulval
16A GoCornwall Penzance to St Ives via Zennor
17, 17A First Pendeen, Penzance, Madron, St Ives
17E Go Cornwall Pendeen, Madron, Penzance
21 GoCornwall Newquay to St Austell
22 GoCornwall St Austell to Truro via Clay villages
23 TravelCornwall St Austell to Gorran Haven
24 First Fowey to St Austell
24, 24X GoCornwall Fowey to Mevagissey
24E Go Cornwall Fowey to Mevagissey evenings
25 GoCornwall Fowey to Newquay via St Austell
26 GoCornwall Bodmin to St Austell
27E GoCornwall Truro to St Austell evening/Sunday
28 Travel Cornwall St Austell to Lostwithiel
29 First St Austell to Mevagissey
30 GoCornwall St Austell Town Service
31 Travel Cornwall St Austell to Luxulyan
33 OTS St Keverne to Helston
34 GoCornwall Redruth to Lizard
35 OTS Falmouth to Helston via Mawnan Smith
35A OTS Falmouth to Helston via Gweek
36 GoCornwall Truro to St Keverne
36A GoCornwall Truro to Frogpool
36S Go Cornwall Truro Penair to Redruth School
37 GoCornwall Helston Town Service
37A GoCornwall Helston Town Service
38 GoCornwall Camborne to Helston via Praze
39 GoCornwall Camborne to Helston via Leedstown
39A GoCornwall Penzance to Camborne via Leedstown
40 GoCornwall Truro to Redruth
40A GoCornwall Redruth St Day Redruth
42 OTS Falmouth to Camborne
46 GoCornwall Camborne to Illogan
48 GoCornwall Troon to Redruth
49 GoCornwall Troon to Barncoose hospital
50 GoCornwall Truro to St Mawes
51 Travel Cornwall St Austell to Veryan
56 GoCornwall Newquay to Padstow
58 GoCornwall Newquay Town Service
59 GoCornwall Newquay Town Service
60 OTS Falmouth Town Shuttle
63 OTS Falmouth Helford Passage
64 OTS Falmouth Town Service
64A OTS Falmouth Town Service
65 OTS Falmouth Town Service
65A OTS Falmouth Town Service
66 Travel Cornwall Penryn to Truro
466 Travel Cornwall Penryn to Truro

67 OTS Falmouth Coastal Circular
69 OTS Falmouth to Mylor Bridge
69A OTS Falmouth to Penryn Campus
70 GoCornwall Plymouth to Torpoint and Cremyll
70A GoCornwall Plymouth to Torpoint and Cremyll
70B GoCornwall Plymouth to Torpoint and Millbrook
70S Go Cornwall Torpoint to Cremyll
71 GoCornwall Derriford to Saltash
73 GoCornwall Liskeard to Polperro
73A GoCornwall Liskeard to Polperro
74 GoCornwall Callington to Liskeard
75 GoCornwall Torpoint to Liskeard
77 GoCornwall Cannot find link
78 GoCornwall Liskeard to Launceston
78A GoCornwall Liskeard to Launceston
79 GoCornwall Callington to Tavistock
79A GoCornwall Callington to Tavistock
84 GoCornwall Truro to Trelander
85 GoCornwall Newquay to Truro
85 Stagecoach Barnstaple, Holsworthy, Tavistock
88 GoCornwall Redruth to Newquay
90 Go Cornwall Wadebridge to Truro
92 Go Cornwall Wadebridge to Newquay
92S Go Cornwall Wadebridge to Newquay
93 GoCornwall Truro to Newquay via St Erme
94 GoCornwall Truro to Newquay via St Columb Major
95 GoCornwall Bude to Wadebridge/Newquay
96 Go Cornwall Wadebridge to Bodmin
96S Go Cornwall Wadebridge to Rock
97 GoCornwall Launceston to Camelford
97S Go Cornwall Launceston to Camelford
128 GoCornwall Poughill to Stratton
176 Go Cornwall Callywith College to Launceston
217 GoCornwall Bude to Morwenstow
218 GoCornwall Bude to Hartland
219 GoCornwall Bude to Hartland via Stratton
220 GoCornwall Crackington Haven to Launceston
223 GoCornwall Launceston Town Service
304 Hopleys Porthtowan to Truro
306 GoCornwall Launceston to Okehampton
315 Hopleys St Agnes to Redruth
371 GoCornwall Warbstow to Launceston
372 GoCornwall Warbstow to Holsworthy
373 GoCornwall Warbstow to Bude
405 Travel Cornwall Bodmin to Fraddon
423 Travel Cornwall Summercourt to Gorran
425 GoCornwall Launceston to Trewint
426 GoCornwall Launceston North Petherwin
428 Travel Cornwall Summercourt to Lostwithiel
450 Saltash Red Bus Saltash town service
481 Travel Cornwall Polruan to Looe
482 Travel Cornwall Polruan to Bodmin
484 Travel Cornwall Truro City Service
485 Travel Cornwall Truro City Service
493 Travel Cornwall Truro to Feock
494 Travel Cornwall Truro to Treliske
495 Travel Cornwall Truro Circular
496 Travel Cornwall Truro to Malpas
497 Travel Cornwall Summercourt to Truro
499 Travel Cornwall Summercourt to Tregony
T1/T2 First Penzance/St Ives Camborne, Truro, St Austell
T1E GoCornwall Penzance to Camborne evenings
T3 First St Ives, Camborne, Truro, Newquay
U1 First Falmouth, Truro to Newquay
U1A First Falmouth, Truro to Newquay via St Agnes
U2 First Falmouth to Camborne
U3 First Penryn Campus to Falmouth campus
U4 First Falmouth to Penzance
Lands End Coaster First Lands End circular
Mousehole First Penzance to Mousehole
Atlantic Coaster First Newquay to Padstow
Truro park and ride PR1
Truro park and ride Treliske shuttle PR1A