Our guinea pig reputation rolls on
"We live in a great location and love putting our hands up to be the guinea pigs."
This time it's the introduction of new bus technology in Coffs Harbour - the first regional centre in the State to roll it out.
As Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh explains, customers will be able track the arrival of their bus and get an indication of available seating in real time.
"More and more, as Coffs Harbour continues to grow, people will be using public transport as an option," Mr Singh said.
"People will need to be more mobile for work opportunities. We recently had the opening of the Grafton jail, the biggest in Australia, and a third of those employed there live in the Coffs Harbour electorate."
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the technology, rolling out on about 150 buses in Coffs Harbour as part of the first phase of the Transport Connected Bus Program, will allow customers to track the location of a bus, its estimated arrival at a stop, and how full the bus is.
"Coffs Harbour is one of three regional centres statewide that is leading the charge on real-time tracking. It will allow customers to see exactly when their bus will be arriving, which means less time waiting at the stop and more time at your destination," Mr Toole said.
"The launch of this technology is a huge step forward for people travelling in regional areas. It shows our ongoing commitment to make public transport a first choice in regional parts of the state."
Transport for NSW has partnered with CONSAT Telematics, a global leader in public transport telematics solutions, to deliver the vehicle tracking technology in collaboration with regional bus operators.
Busways Regional Operations Manager Mark Lawrence said local operators would also benefit from the rollout with access to more accurate data and tools to improve services and keep buses running on time.
"This technology will capture information about the number of customers getting on or off at a particular stop. This will give us a more accurate picture of how and when customers are travelling, which will make it easier for us to understand where service improvements need to be delivered," Mr Lawrence said.
Nine different operators will provide more than 250 service routes in Coffs Harbour, which will be tracked through the program.
The rollout of the first phase of the technology is nearing completion and will launch to customers by the end of July.
Customers travelling in regional NSW will be able to view reliable timetable information and real-time updates using the Transport for NSW Trip Planner tool at www.transportnsw.info and other travel apps.
The nine operators who will deliver the services include:
Busways North Coast
Forest Coach Lines
Lemitscom Pty Ltd