At a council meeting a month ago contractor Saab-ITS was given the go-ahead to proceed with stages two and three of the project, following the completion of stage one, which involved trialling it on Auckland’s Link buses.
The trial, which took place a year later than originally scheduled, involved equipping Auckland’s inner-city Link buses with GPS-based AVLs (automatic vehicle locators). These allow information about how far away a bus is to be transmitted to electronic signs at bus stops.
The council claims success. It said in a media release following the go-ahead on April 7 that while software glitches and information co-ordination difficulties “arising from the integration of traffic light, traffic and bus movement data” generated complaints during the trial, monitoring shows the system has been meeting 99.8% of system availability targets for the past two months.
An Auckland newspaper columnist claimed on April 7 that timetables were inaccurate on two occasions when he had attempted to catch the Link bus, but Auckland City principal transport manger Denis Mander says two independent reviews of stage one have shown the system is working.
“We reported to the April meeting of the transport committee that we’d had monitoring done by two external consultants.”
Their conclusion was that “the system was doing enough to go to stages two and three”.
The next two stages will be completed concurrently and will involve the system being extended to all buses running within the Auckland City council boundaries, with the signs to go up at 204 bus stops.
The budget for all three stages is $6.9 million, with Infrastructure Auckland contributing $3.1 million, Transfund $3.2 million and Auckland City the balance.
Other Auckland-based councils are looking at getting similar systems, Mander says.