Commuting in Guangzhou has been great, there are multiple options to choose from: metro, bus, taxis, golf-cart like vehicles and pedicabs (powered crossbreed between rickshaws and auto-rickshaws/tuk-tuks). We have seen people on cycles of all shapes and sizes, skates, segways, hoverboards, segway unicycles!
Among these, bus is the cheapest and most convenient. However, all the boards are in Chinese and can be very intimidating.
But a closer look at these boards show that they are actually pretty user-friendly.
The display boards at the stops list out all the bus routes that pass through that stop. All the stops on the route are listed out and that stop is colored in red.
If we are able to identify our destination stop, we can count the intermediate stops and travel. The route is displayed inside the bus, so we can match the characters on the route display with that on the display board ouside at the bus stops to keep track. Of course, there is Google maps/Baidu maps if these fail.
The bus stops close to a metro station have the symbol of the Guangzhou metro. The timing during which the service is run (timing of first and last bus) is mentioned below the route number. The different colors of the route indicate what type of service the route is, for example, the blue route number is a peak hour service running just between 7:30-8:30am.
The bus system here has a fixed fare model. Most buses charge 2 yuan per trip, irrespective of the trip length. The trip cost is also mentioned under the bus route, as some special routes might have higher costs. This is all that I have been able to understand off the display boards.
This display system seems to cover a large amount of information in very little space. Whether it will work with other languages, which do not have such concise characters or characters which can be written vertically, is worth exploring. Maybe an alteration of a similar display, with vertical columns containing routes, can be designed.
Even on the display boards of the buses, if the bus connects to a metro station, the metro symbol is displayed in green on the side.