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New technology goes for a ride in London

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | November 3rd, 2008

Riders can now rely on new technology that will allow for an acute delivery of service for London transit.

A new Global Positioning System (GPS) will show riders when their bus is going to arrive in a way that has not been attempted before.

Fanshawe's own GPS bus tracking sign is located at the bus stop in front of T Building, which electronically tells riders to the minute when their bus is scheduled to make its stop.

“Our original Automatic Vehicle Location Communication system, not GPS based, was nearing the end of its useful life and needed to be replaced,” said Larry Ducharme, General Manager of London Transit. “We wanted to replace the system with the latest proven technology, which provides real time information.”

The Smart Bus Technology ribbon cutting ceremony took place at Fanshawe College Tuesday October 28, along with a demonstration of how the new technology works.

Guest speakers at the event included Khalil Ramal, MPP of London-Fanshawe and Irene Mathyssen, the newly re-elected MP for London-Fanshawe.

London Transit has begun installation of the new “Smart Bus Technology” on April 21, 2008.

The GPS system was available on a limited amount of buses as of September 1, with further advancements to be made by spring 2009.

London Transit insists precautions can still be taken if the system has a malfunction.

“There are many components to the system so that any breakdown would not likely result in a total loss of the system. During breakdowns information can still be accessed through our Customer Service and schedule information via our Website,” Ducharme said.

The technological advancements for London Transit are hoping to bring forth new riders.

“We believe the enhancements will provide a more effective and efficient transit service on a going forward basis and provide our passengers with improved information and a better experience when traveling by bus,” said Ducharme. “The technology will be key to attracting new ridership to transit and providing the technology to implement the Bus Rapid Transit strategy as laid out in our long-term growth strategy.”

There will be eight wayside signs, which are going to be located at the four major regional malls, University of Western Ontario, Fanshawe College and in the downtown core.

The technology is going to improve customer service and service delivery for riders who use public transportation as a means of getting around the city of London.

“The technology will enable London Transit to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of transit through the employment of Bus Rapid Transit, utilizing the smart bus technology which will enable transit to be more competitive with travel via private automobiles thereby attracting new ridership,” said Ducharme.

No tax dollars were used for the enhancement of this project.

The cost of the project was approximately $6.5 million, with the funding being split evenly between the Federal and Provincial governments.
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