$99 Millon Dollar GPS Bus Plan Stalls

Bx31 departing the Westchester Square terminal.
A Bx31 that won’t be seeing GPS anytime soon if ever departing the Westchester Square terminal. Rezied photo courtesy of Eye On Transit.

So were you one of many hoping for the MTA to install GPS systems on their bus fleet which would have enabled buses to be tracked & “real” time arrivals to be posted at bus stations? Well if you fall in that category, I urge you not to hold your breath as if you do, you won’t survive. MTA’s New York City Transit may pull the plug on the $99 million dollar deal that would have provided such technology to buses such as the one pictured above. New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue has more in this report:

NYC Transit may pull the plug on a troubled $99 million project to track buses and post “real” arrival times on bus-stop message boards, the Daily News has learned.

Officials have halted some work “pending a decision on the future of the project,” according to a report by the agency’s outside engineering consultant.

NYC Transit lawyers also are reviewing legal options, according to the report, which says the contractor is two years behind schedule and still having technical problems with the GPS tracking system.

“It’s a dirty, rotten shame,” Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said. “A bus locator system could greatly improve bus service with better dispatching and more real-time information. If your car’s GPS can guide you around town, I don’t see why buses can’t do the same.”

The report by the Carter-Burgess engineering firm refers to problems in general terms, citing software issues, a high failure rate of onboard equipment and inaccurate arrival times relayed to message boards placed on just a handful of routes in Manhattan so far.

Citing inaccurate data, bus managers turned off the dozen or so electronic informational screens that had been installed along East Side bus routes.

Click here for the complete report.

This is a shame as a city that is supposed to be so advanced continues to lag behind others in transit technology. The MTA really needs to find a way to make such a plan work as riders deserve this & so much more.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[…] desire to retrofit their buses with GPS tracking was in November 2008 when the agency’s plan stalled due to the contractor being beyond schedule. 3 days ago, NYU’s university paper, Washington […]

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