Tech allows real-time bus info

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New technology . . . Otago Regional Council public transport brand leader Frederique Gulcher (left) and transport officer Bon Kellas display an e-stop after speaking at an Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A trial has been launched to install technology in Macandrew Bay and North Dunedin to give bus users information on when their ride will arrive.

The trial was discussed at an Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting last week.

Otago Regional Council transport officer Bon Kellas said the council had ordered three installation at three bus stops in Otago at the University of Otago in North Dunedin and Queenstown Airport.

The technology would display the arrival of buses in its network, Miss Kellas said.

An installation date was unknown but “it could be this side of Christmas, which is exciting”.

At the meeting, council public transport brand leader Frederique Gulcher said a new “tag-on, tag-off” system called bee card would be installed in Dunedin and Queenstown.

She hoped the technology would be available in Otago, including Dunedin, in March or April next year.

“We are excited . . . it’s going to be amazing.”

Cardholders would be able to go online and make transactions, such as putting money on a bee card, putting a stop on a lost Bee Card, or loading a concession, she said.

Bus Users Support Group Otepoti Dunedin co-president Peter Dowden said the council’s trial of e-stops was “super duper awesome”.

He had an important message in regard to using the Bee Card.

“Make sure you tag off when you get off the bus – otherwise you’ll get stung.”

If a bus user failed to tag off, their card would be debited the maximum fare for the journey, he said.

At the meeting, Miss Kellas said the council had investigated changing a timetable so buses departing central Dunedin, which terminate at Harington Point, would get school pupils “home a bit earlier”.

Board chairman Paul Pope said the changes were a response to what the board and community wanted.