The NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat has outlined several ICT projects being undertaken by NSW Transport and Infrastructure (NSWTI) that have the “potential to significantly improve bus services” as well as signify a “step forward” for the NSW buses’ performance assessment regime.
Released on 25 February 2010, the performance audit report identifies a clear lack of “accurate and timely” performance information within the NSW metropolitan bus services, with NSWTI currently relying on the bus operator’s self reporting on operational and performancedata.
The NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, outlined several ICT projects being undertaken by NSWTI that have the “potential to significantly improve bus services” as well as signify a “step forward” for the NSW buses’ performance assessment regime.
The ICT initiatives outlined by Achterstraat include:
- An electronic ticketing system to provide seamless travel across regional boundaries and different transport modes. The report states that “the NSW Government is on track to sign a contract to deliver an electronic ticketing system with the successful entity in 2010”;
- A range of traffic management measures to give buses priority travel on the 43 strategic bus corridors that link major and town centres in metropolitan Sydney;
- A real time bus monitoring and reporting system that can also provide traffic light priority for late running buses. It could also provide up to date information against a published timetable to bus operators and the travelling public; and
- A spatial database that can store data on each individual shift, route, and timetable for each operator.
Along with providing NSWTI with direct information on ticket sales, revenue, service running times, and schedule adherence, the report states that these new electronic systems could considerably enhance the information provided to bus passengers, such as:
- Automatic stop announcements that are pre-recorded and triggered automatically by a GPS signal in advance of arrival or departure from a bus stop;
- Next bus arrival displays using electronic displays to provide real time information to the public at bus shelters and interchanges; and
- Real-time information on bus services provided online to the public using wireless handheld devices, providing information on bus locations schedule adherence, service disruptions and predicted bus stop arrivals.
The report also states that while the ICT initiatives have the “potential to significantly improve the journey of the bus passenger and strengthen NSWTI’s management of metropolitan bus services”, Achterstraat “could find no strategy or document that looked at how these major initiatives could improve the performance of bus services.”
Achterstraat stated that “it seems likely to be at least three to four years before the new electronic ticketing system is fully developed and operational” and that after the new system has been implemented, that “existing ticketing systems will then continue to operate for a further three years after that time.”
The complete Auditor-General’s Report can be viewed here.