The ACT Budget includes $12.5M for a real-time passenger information system, using GPS to provide bus arrival information. This is long overdue and will greatly improve the service by allowing the public to plan to arrive at the bus stop when the bus is actually due.
Currently Canberra's ACTION bus service does not know where its buses are most of the time. I was shocked to discover this a few months ago. The bus I was waiting for did not arrive, so I called the enquiry number on the bus stop. I was told that the bus had not reported a problem by radio so ACTION did not know where it was. I was also told that ACTION did not contact delayed buses by radio for safety reasons. I had assumed the busses would be tracked in real time, or at least drivers would routinely call in if they were delayed.
What was most worrying was that the person at ACTION I was talking to did not seem at all perturbed that one of the buses was missing. If an aircraft holding dozens of people went missing for more than a few minutes there would be an emergency declared. However, a bus on a route which goes with a few metres of Parliament House and the Prime Minister's residence can be missing for an hour without any alarm raised.
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