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NSW adds real time tracking to 1800 more regional buses

Real-time tracking capabilities will be added to many regional NSW buses to improve the public transport passenger experience

The NSW government has announced that around 1800 more buses in regional NSW are to be fitted with smart technology that will allow bus users to get real-time trip information at their fingertips.

This will mean the entire NSW fleet of Transport’s contracted buses will be able be tracked, and passengers can access data at the tap of an app to help them plan their journey.

The rollout of Phase 3 of the Transport Connected Bus program is under way and buses in eight areas across the state will be progressively fitted with GPS tracking devices and automatic passenger technology.

The technology allows passengers to use various apps such as Transport for NSW’s Trip Planner to find out where their bus is in real time, how soon it is due to arrive and how full it is.

“This will greatly improve the public transport experience for regional bus passengers, making it a more accessible and stress-free option,” NSW regional transport and roads minister Jenny Aitchison says.

“Transport Connected Buses will operate on regular passenger routes as well as school services. Parents and carers can track the bus on which their child is coming home from school, and families can know exactly when to meet a bus to collect an elderly relative.”

Bus users can also view interactive maps, digital timetables, routes and stop information.

They can ask Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to ‘Talk to Transport for NSW’ to access real-time updates and send a travel query to the Facebook Messenger bot.

The technology is already available in Sydney and 16 regional towns and cities and is now being rolled out to more locations around the state. Phase 3 of the program is its biggest uplift yet in regional NSW, following Phases 1 and 2 which saw 283 and 921 vehicles fitted respectively.

The first areas to be rolled out under Phase 3 are the Hunter and Lower North Coast and North Coast regions where 630 buses are getting the technology installed.

Other regions to be included in the new rollout are New England North West, Central West and Orana, Far West, Riverina Murray, Southern Tablelands and Ulladulla and South East and Tablelands.

Dates and names of towns where the installations will take place will be communicated closer to the time.

Transport Connected Buses are already operating in Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo, Bega, Queanbeyan, Greater Nowra, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Griffith, Parkes and Forbes, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Grafton and Tweed Heads.

Since July 2020, more than 1.5 million trips have been tracked across the state. The data collected from the program also helps bus operators with accurate data and tools to improve services and keep buses running on time and will assist Transport for NSW plan for future improvements to services.

“On completion of this new round of installations of the tracking technology, just over 3,000 buses in regional and outer metropolitan NSW be operating with this added feature,” Aitchison says.

“We’re making it so much easier for people in regional NSW to use buses in their town with real-time, user-friendly and reliable trip information at their fingertips. Being able to better plan their journey is a game-changer for many people who rely on buses in regional NSW.”

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