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NXTBUS?

By johnboy 15 July 2013 58

Shane Rattenbury has the intriguing news that realtime bus network information is going to be ubiquitous:

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, today announced the commencement of works to install ‘real time passenger information’ infrastructure at bus stations and major bus stops across Canberra. This will allow live testing of the system to begin will full roll expected to be complete by December.

The real time passenger information system, which will be known as ‘NXTBUS’, will track ACTION buses and provide live information about arrival times via digital displays installed at bus stations, online, smartphones, tablets, over the phone and on-bus visual displays.

“The real time information system – NXTBUS – is an exciting development for Canberra’s public transport system. It will make catching an ACTION bus more convenient and change the way people use public transport in Canberra,” said Mr Rattenbury

The phones are my bet for the killer app for this.

We should have something to road test this December.

What’s Your opinion?


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NXTBUS?
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bigred 1:22 pm 24 Jul 13

And the cops will be able to use the system to remotely catch speeding bus drivers if they turn their minds (not sure about the plural) to it.

Grail 12:36 pm 24 Jul 13

The fastest way to figure out a route from A to B is to use Google Transit. As much as I hate the great eye of Sauron, here you go: Transit — Google Maps.

If you have a smartphone or 3G tablet you can even leave a bookmark on your homescreen and update your plans on the fly when you miss a bus. For reference, even the roundabout route from Mitchel to Macgregor Primary School takes less than 2 hours after driving you all around Kaleen (the longest trip I could find was 1h 21m).

Hopefully the NXTBUS system will help improve the reliability of planned trips. Being able to satisfy the needs of people who only occasionally need to use a bus is the most important goal, IMHO.

ML-585 1:12 pm 20 Jul 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

How many of the stops will have these “various displays”? According to the ACTION website they will have “LED screen displays at major bus stations”. OK, this means what, Gunners, Civic, Belco, Woden and Tuggers?? Do we know what our $12.5 million will buy?

When I referred to “various displays”, I was meaning the online variety. The initial plan (as mentioned in the media release with the OP) is for displays at the 6 bus stations, plus at the major stops at City West, Rimmer St (and Marcus Clarke??), Barton, Gungahlin and Kippax. The language suggests screens will later be installed at other locations, but who knows if this will occur.

(For the benefit of Damien Haas, the media release does not state whether the Westfield Belconnen displays will only be located outside or if they will install something inside the “transit lounge”.)

IMO, the 3 London Cct stops, Athllon Dr at Mawson Park & Ride, Northbourne Av at Antill St, Erindale, Dickson terminus, Westfield Woden (Corinna St), Canberra Hospital (Hospital Rd), Canberra Centre, Russell Offices and maybe Flemington Rd at EPIC would all be good sites for the screens. (I can dream.)

As for the question about what the money will buy – the ICT hardware and software to run the system, the abovementioned display screens, equipment in every bus (including on-bus visual displays with audio announcements) and the internet interface to access the information.

wildturkeycanoe 3:02 pm 18 Jul 13

ML-585 said :

No, the 318 is scheduled to depart BCBS* at 1309 (arriving Kippax at 1326). The 43 which would be the best bus to catch to Macgregor PS departs Belconnen at the exact time the 56 is scheduled to arrive (BCBS at 1303) – but had you asked your driver, he/she may have been able to arrange for the 43 to wait for your arriving bus.

The top result in the Google Transit search I just ran suggests transferring to a 313 which departs BCBS at 1312 and walking from Florey Dr, so I’m not sure why wildturkeycanoe didn’t consider that option.

* – Belconnen Community Bus Station

wildturkeycanoe said :

I hope the new system can tell you how many people are on the bus, so that when you watch it go past fully loaded after waiting precisely 30 seconds at the stop, you can curse ACTION for making you late for work or school again.

Actually, it will. While this is yet to be confirmed, the system will have the ability (on the newer buses) to change the destination display to say BUS FULL as well as include this on its various displays.

Well, I see there was an alternative now. At the time, my phone’s results didn’t come up with this [Don’t ask why, there were so many different options I was trying whilst pausing occasionally to look out the window to stop the dizziness]. There are so many routes to choose from, but they aren’t easily accessible while you are on the run/ride, let alone the weird way the phone won’t let you look at the routes map without downloading it onto the phone and then having to exit the internet, open downloads, see the timetable, then go back to the net to look for the next option, etc, etc. I changed my planned bus number three times before I got to BCBS.
As for the second point, how many of the stops will have these “various displays”? According to the ACTION website they will have “LED screen displays at major bus stations”. OK, this means what, Gunners, Civic, Belco, Woden and Tuggers?? Do we know what our $12.5 million will buy?

ML-585 11:51 am 18 Jul 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

This trip was only a month ago, from Mitchell [where only one bus an hour goes through to Belconnen] to the Macgregor Primary School. It was actually a challenge to see if public transport would get me there by 2:30.
The 318 bus left at the same time as the 56 arrived in Belconnen interchange, so I would have had to wait for the next one at 1:33PM, making my arrival at Kippax 2:26, leaving 4 minutes to run to the school. This is my point, the connecting buses that would make your trip quicker do not wait for you to get on board, they leave before you get there.

No, the 318 is scheduled to depart BCBS* at 1309 (arriving Kippax at 1326). The 43 which would be the best bus to catch to Macgregor PS departs Belconnen at the exact time the 56 is scheduled to arrive (BCBS at 1303) – but had you asked your driver, he/she may have been able to arrange for the 43 to wait for your arriving bus.

The top result in the Google Transit search I just ran suggests transferring to a 313 which departs BCBS at 1312 and walking from Florey Dr, so I’m not sure why wildturkeycanoe didn’t consider that option.

* – Belconnen Community Bus Station

wildturkeycanoe said :

I hope the new system can tell you how many people are on the bus, so that when you watch it go past fully loaded after waiting precisely 30 seconds at the stop, you can curse ACTION for making you late for work or school again.

Actually, it will. While this is yet to be confirmed, the system will have the ability (on the newer buses) to change the destination display to say BUS FULL as well as include this on its various displays.

BimboGeek 6:41 am 18 Jul 13

I agree with poor wildturkeycanoe. You shouldn’t need to spend as long as it takes to figure out bus alternatives. Plus not everyone is smart enough to process comparing multiple options to find the unexpected “via city” route. The Action website’s route planner is an example of the problems with combing the database in this way: it sucks and you need to spend quite some time comparing alternatives. Sydney public transport’s killer app is that it instantly gives you awesome route choices from your position to your destination including the short walks (but with qother options if you’re afraid of getting lost) and with bus/train choices.

Back home… There’s also the problem where your best bus might scoot along the edge of your suburb and so not come up as going “through” in a search. I used to catch 314 to Page and 315 to Evatt, neither of which went through my suburb but both of which dropped me only a block or two from home.

Genie 10:51 pm 17 Jul 13

magiccar9 said :

Genie said :

I was asked how the real time data could plan my day better… this morning gave me a perfect example…

Walking down my driveway this morning I watched my bus drive past. I was kinda confused as it was 8.40am and the bus is estimated to have left the previous timing point at either 8.32am or 8.44am. The timing point stop is roughly 4-5 stops away from where I catch the bus and the timing points at my stop are only 2 mins later.

If I had real time data this could have told me if the bus bus running late by approx 6-8mins (the 8.32 bus), or running 4-6 mins early (the 8.44 bus). Given the next bus wasn’t expected until almost 9.30am should that bus have been the later of the 2 I would have likely stood at the bus stop in the rain (with 2 others) confused as to where my bus is.

With real time data I could have check if the bus I saw was early or late, and had i missed it resulting in a 45 min wait for the next bus, I could have caught the bus travelling in the other direction then got on a 300 bus to the City. Or walked about 15-20mins to catch a different bus in the next suburb over.

What were you doing before leaving for the bus? Was it something you could likely drop 10-15 mins early when you noticed you bus was early?
I don’t believe you would have received much benefit from the new system, but if you seem to think its the next big thing, have fun!

Was I doing something I could have dropped to catch a bus earlier… ?
Well no. It’s called sleeping in and I didn’t feel like going to work in my pj’s.

The benefit I would have received is knowing if the bus I saw was the 8.32 or the 8.44 bus. Had the real time system acknowledged it was the later of the 2. Then I was a little screwed as the next bus didn’t come til almost 930.

Knowing if I had a 5min wait or a 45min wait for a bus is a massive benefit.

moneypenny2612 7:56 pm 17 Jul 13

Adelaide had a number of so called “smart stops” for a few years. They were inaccurate and not comprehensive.

The “real time information” displays were dismantled about a year or so ago.

God help us if the ACT proposal is anything like that dismal experiment.

JC 5:53 pm 17 Jul 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

I was going to say sorry for making a mistake about it being after 12, not before, but as it happens, I would have had to have been at the stop on Flemington Road by at least 11:52 or 11:56 with the options you presented. That still wouldn’t have worked if I’d left at 11:55 and had to walk/run to the stop several blocks away.
Bus bashing is not what this is, I originally intended to point out that the NXTBUS system will not get anyone to their destination any quicker than at present which seems to be what they are promising. If it doesn’t promise to do this, then what good is the technology? For the money spent, I cannot see much benefit for passengers, apart from the obvious” But now I know when the bus will be there”. That is something a timetable is supposed to dictate already. Arriving at a stop early, the bus should wait until its designated time of departure so nobody misses it. That is how the service should run.

NEXTBUS is all about giving passengers information to make choices. In your case your problem was you didn’t know the quickest route to take. With real time information, integrated into a better route planner you would have got the quickest route to your destination.

London is a classic example of where route planning and real time information are very well integrated. Put in your start and end points and it will work out a multitude of possible routes, including with walking involved if you so wish, and if there are problems on certain routes the planner will let you know, because it is all integrated.

So personally I would say if you had NEXTBUS and integration with route planning you wouldn’t be here complaining how shit Action bus services are.

wildturkeycanoe 5:18 pm 17 Jul 13

I was going to say sorry for making a mistake about it being after 12, not before, but as it happens, I would have had to have been at the stop on Flemington Road by at least 11:52 or 11:56 with the options you presented. That still wouldn’t have worked if I’d left at 11:55 and had to walk/run to the stop several blocks away.
Bus bashing is not what this is, I originally intended to point out that the NXTBUS system will not get anyone to their destination any quicker than at present which seems to be what they are promising. If it doesn’t promise to do this, then what good is the technology? For the money spent, I cannot see much benefit for passengers, apart from the obvious” But now I know when the bus will be there”. That is something a timetable is supposed to dictate already. Arriving at a stop early, the bus should wait until its designated time of departure so nobody misses it. That is how the service should run.

Ghettosmurf87 4:04 pm 17 Jul 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Yes I caught the 12:18 from Mitchell. I didn’t catch the Blue Rapid, as it probably didn’t come up in the many searches I did of buses heading in that direction, whilst trying not to get carsick looking at my phone in the bus.
If you are a frequent bus patron and have more than 10 minutes and a half decent mobile connection speed to upload the web pages, you would probably work out that going to City instead of Gungahlin would be quicker. Yet, Google map’s bus instructions don’t steer you into the city either, so how is anyone supposed to know this?

Ghettosmurf87 – I left after 12:00 PM, from a work meeting. Your city solutions would have put me in Kippax at 2:00PM anyway. I figured this by using the silly timetables from home with a PC, 10Mb/s line speed and it still took me longer than the 15 minutes I had before the next bus from the middle of Mitchell departed.

I’ll just twitch and whack things at home, safely away from people who obviously know more than I do about myself.

So you admit now that you caught the 12:18pm bus from Mitchell. Did you just state in your original post that you left Mitchell BEFORE 12noon because it sounded like you had had a worse experience?

My “city solutions” quite clearly showed that you would get to Macgregor Primary, your intended destination (Not Kippax), by 1:35pm. This is not a game of rounding, where you change that to “put me in Kippax at 2:00pm anyway”.

You stated that you took the bus that day “by choice”. When did you make the “choice”? If you did so at the last possible minute and therefore did not have enough time to work out THE QUICKEST route and instead took a longer one because it seemed more obvious, that’s your own fault.

That lack of planning is your business, not a fault of the bus system. It’s akin to you not reading the signs put up during the week announcing that there’ll be roadwork on at a particular time, then having to take a detour or getting stuck in a jam because of it. Or of not knowing a short cut to get to a destination by car which allows you to avoid traffic, or lights, or whatever.

Bus bashing for the sake of it is what you reek of.

Solidarity 3:11 pm 17 Jul 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

I caught a bus once, it was late, dirty and had people on it who stank.

That’s a bit hypocritical coming from someone with a username like that!

I don’t catch buses because they are inconvenient.

wildturkeycanoe 3:01 pm 17 Jul 13

Yes I caught the 12:18 from Mitchell. I didn’t catch the Blue Rapid, as it probably didn’t come up in the many searches I did of buses heading in that direction, whilst trying not to get carsick looking at my phone in the bus.
If you are a frequent bus patron and have more than 10 minutes and a half decent mobile connection speed to upload the web pages, you would probably work out that going to City instead of Gungahlin would be quicker. Yet, Google map’s bus instructions don’t steer you into the city either, so how is anyone supposed to know this?

Ghettosmurf87 – I left after 12:00 PM, from a work meeting. Your city solutions would have put me in Kippax at 2:00PM anyway. I figured this by using the silly timetables from home with a PC, 10Mb/s line speed and it still took me longer than the 15 minutes I had before the next bus from the middle of Mitchell departed.

I’ll just twitch and whack things at home, safely away from people who obviously know more than I do about myself.

thebrownstreak69 1:37 pm 17 Jul 13

I caught a bus once, it was late, dirty and had people on it who stank.

magiccar9 1:26 pm 17 Jul 13

Genie said :

I was asked how the real time data could plan my day better… this morning gave me a perfect example…

Walking down my driveway this morning I watched my bus drive past. I was kinda confused as it was 8.40am and the bus is estimated to have left the previous timing point at either 8.32am or 8.44am. The timing point stop is roughly 4-5 stops away from where I catch the bus and the timing points at my stop are only 2 mins later.

If I had real time data this could have told me if the bus bus running late by approx 6-8mins (the 8.32 bus), or running 4-6 mins early (the 8.44 bus). Given the next bus wasn’t expected until almost 9.30am should that bus have been the later of the 2 I would have likely stood at the bus stop in the rain (with 2 others) confused as to where my bus is.

With real time data I could have check if the bus I saw was early or late, and had i missed it resulting in a 45 min wait for the next bus, I could have caught the bus travelling in the other direction then got on a 300 bus to the City. Or walked about 15-20mins to catch a different bus in the next suburb over.

What were you doing before leaving for the bus? Was it something you could likely drop 10-15 mins early when you noticed you bus was early?
I don’t believe you would have received much benefit from the new system, but if you seem to think its the next big thing, have fun!

tonkatuff82 12:20 pm 17 Jul 13

Ghettosmurf87 said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

I call BULLS**T!!

+1
wildturkeycanoe is either an amazing loon or an expert troll.

As a daily user of Action buses I welcome the innovation. I have experienced a very similar system in Dublin and London. Excellent. I also welcome wildturkeycanoe’s promise to never use Action buses again. One less twitching whack-job to avoid.

Genie 12:17 pm 17 Jul 13

I was asked how the real time data could plan my day better… this morning gave me a perfect example…

Walking down my driveway this morning I watched my bus drive past. I was kinda confused as it was 8.40am and the bus is estimated to have left the previous timing point at either 8.32am or 8.44am. The timing point stop is roughly 4-5 stops away from where I catch the bus and the timing points at my stop are only 2 mins later.

If I had real time data this could have told me if the bus bus running late by approx 6-8mins (the 8.32 bus), or running 4-6 mins early (the 8.44 bus). Given the next bus wasn’t expected until almost 9.30am should that bus have been the later of the 2 I would have likely stood at the bus stop in the rain (with 2 others) confused as to where my bus is.

With real time data I could have check if the bus I saw was early or late, and had i missed it resulting in a 45 min wait for the next bus, I could have caught the bus travelling in the other direction then got on a 300 bus to the City. Or walked about 15-20mins to catch a different bus in the next suburb over.

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