COMMUTERS left standing for ages in the cold will get relief with the roll-out in the New Year of a new system telling them when their bus will arrive.
Bus Eireann is to unveil a real-time information system for every route it operates across the country, with commuters able to find out the bus time by text or online.
Using a global positioning system, the transport company will be able to identify the location of all buses in the fleet at all times, and take into account traffic jams and roadworks.
The Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system, which was tested during 2008, allows customers to access real-time arrival and departure information.
The €4m system will be fully rolled out by the middle of the year, when passengers will be able to receive real-time information on the next three buses to arrive at any bus stop in its network via the Web and SMS.
"Bus Eireann led the way among European bus companies in providing online ticket sales for immediate use and this nationwide real-time information system is another example of Bus Eireann's focus on innovation," a spokesman said.
"Providing this up-to-the-minute information on bus arrivals and departures to customers will improve the convenience of the service for passengers."
The company also plans to introduce another 65 buses early in the New Year, following delivery of 239 coaches in the past 18 months at a cost of €71m.
And double deck commuter buses will be introduced on routes in Leinster.
The company also says it carried 93 million passengers in 2008, and independent research says that 95pc of passengers are happy with the service -- an increase from 90pc in 2007.
The company also scored highly in terms of punctuality (95pc), and bus safety, cleanliness and comfort (99pc).