Passengers will be able to tell if the bus they are awaiting is too full to use with a new app planned by Borders Buses and sister operator West Coast Motors, The Scotsman has learned.
It is being developed because physical distancing will significantly cut the number of available seats on buses.
Vehicles will have only around one quarter of seats in use, with some double deckers able to carry as few as 18 passengers.
The app could become available within weeks to help people plan their travel when lockdown restrictions are eased in Scotland.
Passengers would be able to track the next buses due to arrive at their stop to see if there was space for them to board.
The app would calculate how much room was available using information from tickets presented to the driver by passengers as they got on the bus.
It may also contain other information such as when the bus was last fully cleaned.
The technology is being devised by electronic ticketing firm Ticketer using the Passenger public transport app.
Borders Buses is the main operator between Edinburgh and the region.
It is also looking at a booking system for some services over longer routes.
West Coast Motors runs Citybus services in Glasgow and buses across Argyll and Bute, including in Campbeltown, Dunoon, Mull and Oban.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “Data regarding available capacity has always been of interest to transport operators, but particularly so in the current context of helping to manage demand on our public transport network.
“We are exploring the potential merits of possible apps with operators and stakeholders, including Traveline Scotland, about solutions which could better help inform people who are having to travel.”
The body which represents bus operators said such developments would help aid travel.
Paul White, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK - Scotland, said: “Bus and coach operators are working to government guidance and public health best practice to make travel safe for those carrying out essential journeys by public transport.
“An element of this may involve trialling technological solutions.
“Passengers should check with Traveline Scotland for the latest travel advice on their route.”
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