TravelBot will give passengers up-to-date information on their Transport for London journeys
TfL’s new Facebook Messenger function aims to help the organisation deal with the thousands of queries it is getting everyday on social media Credit: Flickr, Martijn van Exel
Transport for London (TfL) has launched TravelBot, an artificial intelligence-powered chat function on Facebook Messenger that gives passengers up-to-date information on their journeys.
The idea is to help the organisation deal with the thousands of queries it is getting everyday on its Facebook pages, while also providing more accurate and swifter responses users.
The first few features of TravelBot include enabling Facebook users to check when their bus is due by asking ‘when’s the next bus’ or ‘next bus’ and then either sharing the phone’s location or providing the bus stop code.
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Passengers can also check if there are disruptions on bus routes, or on any tube line, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail or trams. They can ask the bot for the tube map, with the option to view, download or send the map, and they can also request to be referred to a customer service agent.
TFL said it was exploring the possibility of further features in the future, including providing journey planning information and status alerts.
The new service is available at all times and uses the same data that TfL works with for its website and apps.
According to TfL, as more and more people use the service, it will ‘learn’ and become even more precise.
“Millions of people already use our journey planner and social media channels to help them get around London, and we are constantly seeking new ways to make the process even easier,” said Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience.
“This TravelBot will make it simpler for people using Messenger to get the information they need as they move around the city. We think that this initial version will be a major step forward in how we provide travel information to our customers and we look forward to their feedback to help us improve the product over time,” he added.