Much to my surprise the Riot regulars seemed to have missed the story about Ted Quinlan allocating almost $7 million for a Real Time Passenger Information Service. City News has a tiny bit about it in their story here and there was a fuller story in today’s CT but it since it was on about page 3, it didn’t make it online. The official release is here. But if, like myself, you can’t be bothered looking at those links, you’re probably wondering what the hell a RTPIS is.
Well apparently it involves putting computers at either all or most bus stops that link to GPS devices in the buses. So when you the humble bus user are sitting at a bus stop wondering where on earth that bus that was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago is, you can look on the fancy computer screen and find out. In theory.
The press release says, “Real time information has been implemented in cities including Auckland, Christchurch, Brisbane and Adelaide, which report improved patronage of between 10 and 30 per cent.” Uh huh.
Personally when I use buses (which is fairly frequently since I mostly don’t have a car), I just sit at the bus stop and wait it out. Would it make me feel better if I knew where that late bus was? Probably not. If I’m going to catch a bus then it’s because Idon’t have any other way of getting to where ever I’m going. And once I’ve got to the bus stop, I’m pretty much committed to getting on that bus.
If I did know where the bus was when it’s supposed to be at my stop (which is probably going to be the most frequent use for these RTPIS things), will that change the amount of time that I’ll have to wait for it? No.
Think about a nice LCD screen sitting waiting at every bus stop and interchange in Canberra.
Does that say invitation for vandalism to anybody else? Or theft?
It looks to me like the best thing that will come out of this large amount of money is that the GPS thingys will also act as traffic light triggers, so buses get priority at lights.