Tracking buses by smartphone

Ritchies Coachlines regional manager Malcolm Budd (left) with TrackABus co-founder Christopher...
Ritchies Coachlines regional manager Malcolm Budd (left) with TrackABus co-founder Christopher Mein in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Catching a bus is less fuss with the new bus-tracking service developed by a Dunedin company.

TrackABus co-founder Christopher Mein, of Dunedin, said the company was trialling a bus-tracking service, which used global positioning system hardware and wireless communications technology to track the real-time location of buses.

The service allowed bus users to access information using electronic devices - such as computers, smartphones and cellphones - to discover when the next bus would arrive at a stop, he said.

On people could track 12 Ritchies Coachlines buses' real-time location.

Mr Mein said a survey of Dunedin bus users revealed the most annoying part of using a bus was waiting at a stop, unaware if a bus had just been missed.

About a year ago, locator units were installed on the Ritchie buses, which served 10 routes in Dunedin. He was ''excited'' the Otago Regional Council was restructuring the bus routes, as it was a perfect time to ''officially'' introduce the service in Dunedin.

Mr Mein said he was working with the council to have the service included in the restructure.

''Wouldn't it be great if that had a real-time element, a new service, where you knew when the bus was coming and that you are going to get where you needed to go?''

The service was available in Queenstown on 10 Connectabus buses and on 13 buses serving eight Wairarapa routes.

The company also plans to develop the service in Invercargill, Blenheim, Nelson, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne and New Plymouth.

Ritchies Coachlines regional manager Malcolm Budd predicted the service would boost the number of people using buses.

The service had been a hit with passengers, especially when the bus service was interrupted.

''On a snow day, they can tell if the bus is running late or not running at all,'' Mr Budd said.

Add a Comment