New Zealand's Airbus takes fleet online

Auckland's Airbus believes it's the first bus service in the world to install a Web-based, real-time tracking system.

The GPS (Global Positioning System)-based operation, developed by Christchurch company Connexionz Ltd., enables a passenger to check when the next bus is due at a particular stop.

"In a foreign country, one of the most stressful things for a traveller on a budget is catching the bus to the airport," says Airbus manager Bevan Dale. Dale believes the company's system, which is being launched this week, will help relieve that stress.

"People don't mind waiting for a bus so long as they know when to expect it."

Airbus chose the Connexionz system from half a dozen proposals after seeing it in action in Christchurch, where bus arrival times are displayed in real-time at bus stops.

Extending that information to the Web makes the Airbus implementation unique, Dale says. The next stage is to make the information available to cellphones.

The system uses Navman's GPS, transmitting bus locations using Tait Electronics' mobile radio system. Connexionz has designed a logic board and software to display the bus location information.

According to Connectionz, the system can handle 10,000 vehicles plying 2,500 routes. Airbus, however, has just six vehicles on the road at a time.

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