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Published: 2005-01-28 00:00:00

Staff from the company contracted to install Hamilton’s new ‘real time’ electronic bus system are checking out any technical issues in Canada this week where the system is already in use.

The high tech electronic system that tells waiting passengers when the next bus will arrive is due to be installed in the city next month. The contract was signed with a Porirua company, Radiola Aerospace just before Christmas, a pilot scheme will be operating by April and spread to the rest of the city by November.

The aim of the pilot is to ensure any problems are ironed out early before the system is installed throughout Hamilton’s bus network. The same system operating in Alberta tracks large numbers of government service vehicles including police, fire and ambulance vehicles and school buses. The New Zealand company also maintains an aircraft tracking and communications systems for the RNZAF.

The real time system displays the arrival time of the next bus at key stops between one and 30 minutes. Information will also be available by internet and eventually on cell phones. If the pilot is successful it will be installed at 120 bus stops and all 57 buses operating in the city, with multi-line display screens at the Transport Centre, university and Chartwell Square.

Every bus stop in the city will get a unique stop number which will displayed on the stop sign. Passengers can check arrival time of the next bus on the internet, cell phone or land line.

The project is jointly funded by Environment Waikato and Land Transport New Zealand. Twelve companies expressed an interest in supplying the system, with four tendering.