London buses now speak many languages, thanks to John Sormani, the area representative for Comm-Tec in the Belgium , Netherlands and Luxemburg, who developed this system for a tour bus operator in London. It uses an 8-TraXX to play eight different languages and a V4+ for control and text messaging. A 4-line serial LCD display, keypad and footswitch are also included. A Blaupunkt multiplexing unit combines the audio into a single coax line distributed to 90 seat modules, each with headphone connector, volume and channel controls. There is also an external Microphone amp that is fed into the multiplexer for live comments and emergencies.
Several pre-defined tours are programmed into the show controller with a variety of diversions and options. There is also a special menu to play and pause music or service information. On a normal tour the bus driver only has to press the footswitch to play the next audio selection. On the display he can see what's coming next. When a choice arises, the footswitch activates the most common option. If another option is needed, the driver can choose it with the keypad. It is also possible to skip backwards and forwards through the tour. Some segments are automatically skipped, and can be called when needed by skipping back manually.
The tour operator programs new tours using a Windows application that test it, then writes it into a WinScript files that is compiled automatically, This application can also be implemented with an InterActivator; the only limitation is the amount of descriptive text that can be handled. In the London tour there are more than 400 different points of interest!
The initial installation of 18 systems has performed beautifully, and the tour operator is now planning to implement the system across the entire fleet.