Rail Time Info On Way


Real-time passenger information for rail services is under development for launch in the third quarter this year, according to Auckland Transport.

There is no exact date but earlier it was hoped to be in place for the RWC2011.

Australian-based Sigtec has the contract to upgrade the present signs located at rail platforms and at ferry terminals.

They are the ones who provide  the technology for real time information and traffic light priority for Auckland’s buses. So far it’s at over 5,000 stops on the Auckland public transport system, via the MAXX website and through SMS.

The upgrade promises to include enhancements and new formatting of information on electronic signs.

It needs to. The present bus sign system is flawed and frustrating.

Just on Friday I had the choice of a bus or train but as the bus sign promised a bus in 8 minutes, I waited. The bus info changed to “DUE” and then the info vanished from the screen, with the promised bus never to appear as if it never existed. By this time I had missed a train and the next bus was 20 minutes away - so I got a cab so as not to miss an appointment.

An unreliable public transport system that promises and never delivers is a disaster as people flock back to their reliable cars.

Despite the official explanations as to how this happens,usually involving a bus driver not clocking on to GPS,  I still can not get my head around it how buses are supposedly minutes away and then disappear without trace.

The bus’ GPS satellite signals s combined with route information and the vehicle speed produce the estimated arrival time.
Thsi is Sigtec’s promotional video explaining how it works:

In Wellington real-time info is being rolled out on all buses in the region, followed by trains. But Wellington trains won’t get it until sometime next year.

NZTA has also approved Sigtec as an accredited supplier of in-vehicle taxi security camera systems for New Zealand cabs.

Cabs will be getting the company’s “Snapshot Camera system” which continuously records taxi cab interior views in daylight and night conditions along with date & time, registration number stamping of images, GPS data and triggered events.


Related Posts

  1. Real Time Info Contract Signed
  2. Wgtn Transport Gets Real-Time Info
  3. Bring On Real Time Info
  4. Better Online Motorway Info
  5. Kopu Bridge Realtime Info Doesn’t Ease The Pain!




  1. Jeff says:

    the acting in that video. my god.
    did he have an iPod wrist watch?

  2. Paul Clutterbuck says:

    The explanation about buses disappearing from RTPI systems probably is the accurate one. GPS, being satellite-based, is a useful system but isn’t always the most reliable. There are parts of cities all over the world that are known in industry-speak as “urban canyons” because GPS coverage is inaccessible, often because they’re surrounded by tall buildings or aren’t within line-of-sight of a satellite. It’s no different from the satellite signal for a TV (or even cellphone coverage in some places), which can be patchy too. I wouldn’t necessarily blame unreliable equipment, although I’ll admit I didn’t like Connexionz ageing and outdated RTPI system in Christchurch.

  3. Andrew says:

    “Now” for when a bus is coming. Why can’t we do that?

  4. Matt says:

    Paul, I don’t buy that for a lot of the services that have the problem. Great South Road services are terrible for accuracy, and there’s no part of the route that could possibly be described as “an urban canyon.” I do a bit of work with satellite phones, so I have some clue about the horizons and things that apply, and GPS is much, much more robust.

    I’d buy it for services through the CBD, but that’s about it. For all the rest of Auckland, it’s just trying to excuse a really crappy system.

  5. Pim says:

    I think the system we have now shows us when it’s meant to arrive, not when they think it’s going to arrive, so I think the gps should work wonders.

  6. Andy says:

    Those screens at the very least are 2 decades old. If they are going to be installing more PIDs can we have please have modern ones and not those ancient orange dot matrix things?

  7. Bryan says:

    iirc if the system hasn’t received any “real” data for a service, it assumes the service is running anyway, and resorts to displaying the scheduled time. Fine if it’s just a fault on the bus GPS, but no good if there is no bus… :-(

  8. joust says:

    real-time info for trains that actually works (unlike the buses) could be a mixed blessing for an unreliable train service. Might serve to remind passengers the extent of delays we have become so resigned to that we fail to notice.

  9. Stranded on the North Shore says:

    @Bryan - that’s my understanding too. But my question is why can’t they put some kind of a sign (like a star?) to indicate that the time isn’t “Real-Time” but “Timetabled”. Their assumption is that their system will always work and they’ll never display “Timetabled” information… but anyway, displaying a sign to give people the distinction between real-time and timetabled info would be too logical, so we can’t have it.


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