The Queensland Government claims to have found a way to make the rollout of real-time public transport tracking cost effective, unveiling plans to expand on its halted GPS trial.
The state has been trialling real-time arrival data for public transport running on third-party applications for the last two years, on limited services in Logan, Cairns and on Brisbane’s CityGlider.
The state's Transport Minister Scott Emerson today said partner Cubic Transportation Systems - which also runs Queensland’s Go Card electronic ticketing system - had been able to offer the government a deal to expand the trial that the debt-burdened state could finally afford.
“Previous real-time trials have proven too expensive, but working with Cubic, we’ve been able to deliver good value for Queensland taxpayers,” he said in a statement.
The 3000 devices that made up the limited program have now reached end of life.
The devices will be decommissioned and replaced in the coming months. TransLink said the upcoming hardware refresh provided the trigger to go ahead with an expansion of the existing solution right across the south-east corner of the state.
“This was an affordable and effective alternative to installing a completely new real-time system, and will allow us to equip the entire network in South East Queensland with real-time enabling technology,” she said.
TransLink would not provide the cost of the project, saying only that it would be funded “through existing asset refresh budgets”.
The agency has set itself an ambitious timetable to get the new network of devices up and running.
Sunshine Coast buses are due to come online by the end of the year, while the rollout to the rest of the South East Queensland network is due to be completed early in 2015.
TransLink will also make the application programming interfaces (APIs) publically available, unlike other states where only select coders have been given access.
“Real-time travel data will be available to developers via the TransLink data portal, free to anyone who wishes to use it,” a spokeswoman said.
The state is relying on developers to create third-party applications for commuters. The data - which will be updated at 30 second intervals - can otherwise be accessed on the TransLink website, via the call centre and through Google Transit.