Bus screens ‘a step in the right direction’


In recent weeks Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) finally installed real-time bus tracking technology at the Frankton hub — and more are planned.

ORC transport committee chair, Queenstown’s Alexa Forbes, says while real-time screens have been in place there since 2021, ‘‘they didn’t work very well’’.

‘‘As [transport manager Lorraine Cheyne] described it, ‘it’s been a journey of continuous improvement’ … it’s been the scenic route.

‘‘The old ones were linked to an old system and patched through and it didn’t really work properly.’’

The new screens, with new technology and a new data feed, went in recently and while there are a few tweaks, such as ensuring destinations on the screens match the information on the buses, ‘‘they’re working really well’’.

While, so far, the Frankton hub’s the only place with the real-time information, Forbes says smaller tablet-style screens will be installed by Queenstown’s council at the Stanley St stops, and Queenstown Airport, hopefully soon.

‘‘They’ve got them, it’s all under way.’’

And Cheyne says ORC has plans to install more of the solar-powered electronic stops elsewhere in the Whakatipu ‘‘this year’’.

Forbes points out, however, they are constrained by funding.

‘‘The idea is to roll them out as much as we can — they make such a difference.

‘‘I’m really pleased about that step in the right direction.’’

Information displayed at Frankton shows both the planned arrival/departure time of buses, and the real-time information – till now, the only other way to live-track a bus has been through the Transit app, which tends to be hit and miss at times.

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