Catch the NextBus

Chapel Hill is missing an excellent opportunity to deploy up to a hundred Internet hotspots along our transit corridors. Last week, the town signed a contract with NextBus, Inc. to provide, at a cost of $949,030, digital signs at 14 bus stops to inform riders of expected bus ETAs. NextBus, unlike competitors Motorola and Cityspace, uses last-gen cell technology over next-gen WiFi-MESH.

Instead of purchasing an open standards system utilizing WiFi/WiMAX wireless technology - technology allowing Chapel Hill to provide ubiquitous communication services to police, fire, public works and the general public from as many as 100 bus stops along the 26 bus transit routes - the town's transit department recently endorsed NextBus' proprietary cellphone-based bus-tracking system.

Specifically, NextBus is providing 14 digital signs, tracking of 83 vehicles and web-reporting on 26 routes for $949,030.

For comparison, Alameda California's ACTransit, this January, signed a deal to provide 54 signs, tracking for 125 vehicles and 13 routes in addition to extending maintenance to their existing NextBus infrastructure of 46 signs, 74 vehicles and 12 routes, all with a warrantee for 7 years, for $1,031,000.


Like alternatives, NextBus leverages GPS (global position satellite) technology to track the realtime locations of vehicles. Unlike alternatives, NextBus not only "phones home" bus positions using cellphones but uploads bus ETA information to the digital signs via cell calls.

Besides issues with spotty coverage, communication charges often become an expensive surprise.

Alternatives, like Cityspace's Portsmouth UK's deployment, utilize Wifi-MESH technology to blanket transit routes and transit stops with ubiquitous network connectivity. Off-the-shelf communications equipment, commonly found embedded in today's laptops, PDA's and even cellphones can connect to the wider Internet for maximum flexibility.

Another alternative? Our town could deploy 54 megabit/second on-and-off bus service by simply copying existing systems, like Albuquerque's Rapid Ride service. Albuquerque's Mayor Chavez directed his IT department to create a system based on Cisco's Aironet technology. 83 ruggedized Cisco-1300 outdoor units ($1,000 a pop) and Cisco-3200's ($3,000 per bus) later, Alberquerque leads the way in dual-use technology deployments.

Chapel Hill could've easily followed their blue print, added GPS/website/digital signs for under $600,000.

So, spending $950,000 on alternatives would not only provide the same bus-tracking capability that NextBus offers but also help close our community's digital divide while improving overall delivery of key governmental services at a greatly reduced cost.

Cheaper? More capability? Advance our town's economic, operational and social justice goals?

Why continue to try to catch the NextBus?

More detail at Concerned Citizen.


Did the source for this money have stipulations for its use? In other words if the Town wanted to use this money in another way with the same or different vendor could it have and still had 900k to work with? I think your points still remain. Just want to get more context.

Brian, the money was allocated for this general purpose. To quote the May 24th, 2004 manager's recommendation:

In the summer of 2003, we received notification from Congressman David Price's office that the Town would receive grant funds for an Intelligent Transportation System deployment program. Funds are to be used for a Real-Time Passenger Information System and Automatic Vehicle Location system for Chapel Hill Transit.

Nothing in there precludes using the monies for both an intelligent transit system and a communications system.

I've spoken with folk that have deployed the Wifi-type systems using congestion management/intelligent transit/pollution control type federal grant monies.

With a Wifi/WiMAX type system, you could add additional transit control capability into the system (like NC-DOT type cameras [eeeck ;-) ]) or emergency-call systems at the bus stops (like the blue security light system on campus) using off-the-shelf components at a very competent price point.

Don't believe we'll get that from NextBus.

So, we're not reallocating the money to a different purpose, we're getting the bus ETA system (actually, arguably we're getting MUCH, MUCH MORE of an ETA system with as many as 100 digital signs, etc.) AND we're getting a communications system that supports greater governmental efficiencies and public access.

I know we're not used to getting $3 or $4 of impact for each Federal $1 spent, but in this case we could - and we might as well try.

Bob Avery, the town's IT director, came through this evening with additional documentation of the Real-Time Passenger Information System and Automatic Vehicle Location system for Chapel Hill Transit.

RFP Real Time Passenger Info System 9.14.05.pdf
APPENDIX B-1 Real Time Passenger Info System.pdf
APPENDIX B-2 Real Time Passenger Info Systems.pdf

What a total, utter waste of taxpayer money. And for a free bus system. What ever happened to printed schedules, and waiting for the bus? Barf! No wonder our taxes are through the roof.

Meantime let's not bother feeding those pesky homeless people. Maybe they can sleep on the bus!

JohnK, as much as I want a municipal network, I couldn't agree more... I'd rather plunge the money into social issues, affordable housing, etc. but the money is going to be spent.

Given that, I'd like to see the maximum bang for the buck....

Of course, if we could spend $850K on human services, etc. and reserve $100K as starter funds for a municipal network - all the better.


According to what I've been told, the council approved this proposal (federal money) back in February so once it came to the public's attention a few weeks ago, it was too late to alter the proposal. You were on the Tech Committee in Feb, did anything come through you all for discussion?

This proposal was first raised last year at budget time. At that time, some of us raised the question about why the transit authority would pursue something proprietary rather than an approach that would serve multiple purposes. And now here we are. Once again, the town has invested in a "free" system that will carry significant maintenance and upgrade costs for in the future. Do we know if the quoted $900K is the full cost including staff and other technical services?

I had hoped the digital signs would have provided an efficient means of predictable travel for people who rely on bus transportation. But nearly a million dollars for only 14 bus stops? Maybe the web reporting can make up for it- does that cover all routes in CH (are Carrboro stops are included)? It does seem like CH will be paying too much but there must be some qualities to justify the big bucks.

So, if this system will be using cell phone towers, does this mean it will be even more difficult to get a call through during high cell phone usage- like when schools close early or a major accident?

i understand that those signs arent even going to speak so what happens if a person who is blind gets there and tries toaccess then and cant read it or a person who cant read but can hear and understand verbal communication i have many friends who might use the system if they knew when the bus was coming or is gone

Ellen, you've hit upon one of the major problems with the town not passing this proposal on to the (soon to be defunct) Technology board for review. As Terri noted, we asked to be in the loop but that desire was subverted.

The RFP (Request for Proposal), Section 3.B.5 (Technical Specifications->Hardware Requirements->Dynamic Message Signs) refers to two Federal accessibility (ADA) standards, 49CFR Parts 37.167 , 38.35 and one communications standard (NTCIP - which is silent on sign outputs).

The ADA requirements would seem to indicate that some type of audio response will come from the signs:

§ 37.167 Other service requirements.

(a) This section applies to public and
private entities.
(b) On fixed route systems, the entity
shall announce stops as follows:
(1) The entity shall announce at least
at transfer points with other fixed
routes, other major intersections and
destination points, and intervals along
a route sufficient to permit individuals
with visual impairments or other disabilities
to be oriented to their location.
(2) The entity shall announce any
stop on request of an individual with a

Sec. 38.35 Public information system.

(a) in excess of 22 feet in length, used in multiple-stop,
fixed-route service, shall be equipped with a public address system permitting the driver, or recorded or digitized human speech messages, to announce stops and provide other passenger information within the vehicle.

From the RFP we see

The System shall undergo functional testing onsite in a test environment for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to May 1, 2006. Confidence testing shall occur during production use of the System between May 1, 2006 and June 15, 2006. Every route must be assigned an equipped vehicle and data collected for comparison to the actual. CHT will issue written Acceptance of the System within 15 days of establishing that the System meets all contract requirements and upon completion of the Confidence testing period.

I've yet to see the actual results of the functional testing, the results of evaluating the RFPs stated criteria (including the ADA requirements) and whether we solicited bids from vendors known to use WiFi/WiMAX technologies but would probably not be aware of our town's interest.

The RFP is a bit of a cut-n-paste from the TTA (Triangle Transit). For instance, 3.B.6 is missing.

There's also some weird tech requirements, like the ODBC Microsoft proprietary lock-in of 3.C.6.

Beyond that, we missed an opportunity to specify that a winning system should try to utilize the highest degree of non-proprietary, open standards (like OpenDocument) in its implentation.

Heck, the RFP doesn't even require well-formed HTML that is cross-browser capable!

Even if it was earmarked specifically for this purpose and it's mostly coming from a federal grant... at some point you just have to say I'd rather not take the money. You could probably buy a basic bicycle for everyone in town for that kind of money.

I also refer you to the editorial we ran on this a couple weeks back:

Somehow I get the impression that since it is "Federal" as opposed to local or State, it is not so bad. Bunk, it is still my (and your) tax money. And even more obscene is that our local Reps will probably try to make hay out of scooping out of the Federal coffers.

I would love to see a cost/benefit analysis of this latest boondoggle. I'm not holding my breath for that one!


I know you are one of our most vocal local advocates for accessibility on roads. It would be great if you and your friends would speak up more loudly on digital accessibility too. Anyone who uses a screen reader is deprived of access to most of the resources on Carrboro and Orange County's websites and despite the fact that Chapel Hill has gotten better, they too have an abundance of PDF documents, few of which are created with accessibility in mind. Accessibility of web resources is not one of our communities strengths.

The fleet management aspect of the tracking program has merit as demonstrated by numerous studies and conventional business usage.

There appears to be value in alerting folks to when the bus is coming (or to telling them that it just left). So far, I've found a number of ad hoc reports, business-sponsored studies and a few academic profiles of these systems but no rigourous reviews. Some report increases in ridership of %5 to %15.

It makes "common sense" that informing passengers that the bus is "almost there" might capture those in a hurry who might leave; it'd be nice to see a real study backing that "obvious" result.

I'm curious about OP readers thoughts on the public and personnel policy aspects of this system.

If we get the system using the technologies I'm proposing, there will eventually be a day someone suggests real-time camera surveillance both at the bus stops and on the bus. I think the ramifications of doing that are creepy and should be evaluated as part of the deployment.

With a fleet tracking system, like NextBus', the drivers on these routes will be under greater scrutiny.

About a year and a half ago, Terri and I evaluated a time-tracking system (Kronos) that the transit department wanted to purchase. This system would allow them to more effeciently "nickel-n-dime" the workforce - splitting folks shifts in inconvenient fashion. It seemed an inappropriate solution to a human factors issue.

I wonder if that same temptation to shave drivers timecards might rear up with this fleet tracking system. When do we craft policy on this type usage?

I'm just so frustrated with this whole issue. I think the dynamic information at the bus stops would be extremely helpful to riders, and I think Will has pointed out some good side effects (like wifi) that the Town can reap.

It feels like this is yet another issue that the public not informed about until it's too late. Recently it was the cancellation of the HWCC and Tech Board, last year the Town did same thing making a very bad deal on a "makeover" for the town web site.

Would it kill the Council to take a second and see if their constituents have anything to say on these issues before they make these expensive and/or strategic decisions? There are often cheaper alternatives that would serve the public better and enhance democracy. We are not even having the neccesary conversations to do this right.

What happens when these things are vandalized? What's the reapir going to cost? Is this not just another piece of expensive infrastructure that accomplishes the same thing as the system already in place? Why do we print schedules? Will we stop printing schedules? Are the schedules at the bus stop written in brail? Why should we concern ourselves with helping those that will not help themselves (adults that have not learned to read)? Why should we not spend this million dollars on robotic monkey butlers for town hall? I for one would welcome robotic monkey butlers, they could be used to tell me which line to stand in for traffic court, they could even do that if I can't read. Lets not forget the prestige of being the first community with robotic monkey butlers. I think we may have lost sight of our priorities here. Robotic monkey butlers will bring new progresive minded citizens to our town, isn't that what Chapel Hill's bus service really needs?

What? No robot chickens?

Given that the money is going to be spent, the best possible outcome is to purchase a system that provides multiple capabilities vs. one that's locked in to a particular usage.

BTW, most Wifi/WiMAX based systems are mounted on the top of telephone, traffic or light posts - so unless you're really good at throwing rocks, chances are the broadcast units will not be vandalized.

The signs? That's obviously a different matter.

The choice of the 14 stops is a bit mystifying.

I understand why folk at the Park-n-Rides might be impatient but I doubt they'd bolt and leave once they've parked.

The high volume stations downtown and on-campus already have crowding issues at peak times - but I guess the potential of increasing off-peak ridership %5-15 at those locations is appealing. From my experience, signs at University Mall, Hillsborough, Timberlyne and on MLK across from the Citgo would probably be more effective.

Where would you put them OPrs?

Planned digital sign locations

S Columbia St at Health Sciences Library
South Rd at Fetzer Gym
E Franklin St at Coffee Shop
Manning Dr at West Dr
NC 54 Park-Ride Lot
Friday Center Park & Ride (UNC)
Southern Village Park-Ride Lot
Pittsboro St at Credit Union
N Columbia St at Rosemary St
W Franklin St at Caribou Coffee
Jones Ferry Park and Ride
Eubanks Rd Park and Ride

Personally, I would put the signs all along Franklin, Rosemary, Main, Greensboro. Basically all the most frequently visited stops.

For me, I see the sign as being useful when I am near a stop and debating about whether to wait for a bus or hoof it. I'm sure there are other scenarios for different types of users.

As Will points out, if you are at a remote location like a Park & Ride, you don't have so many options. So I would like to see most of these signs in pedestrian-friendly areas in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

I'm puzzled. Advising people on ETAs is nice, but how does that change behavior? Unless you live right next door to one of these digital signs, I fail to see how it affects the transportation decision. Maybe someone can give me a scenario where an individual will choose to ride the bus over other transport options based on an ETA.

At best it's a break-even proposition. But reason would tell you that digital signs would decrease the use of buses. Buses are just as likely to have just left as they are to be seconds from arrival. How does either scenario change the person's behavior? If the bus just left, I'm sure some (but very few) people might choose an alternative form of transportation. If it's about to arrive, what's the big deal? They were at the bus stop anyway.

I believe that most people are like Ruby. If they are looking at bus schedules and ETAs downtown, they are trying to make a decision between walking or waiting. Walking sounds more environmentally friendly (increasing bus use is silly if it means dissuading people from opting to use bikes or walking). And if you are already downtown without your vehicle, what are the other options? I don't know anyone who takes taxis.

I think I would welcome these digital signs if they cost substantially less than $67,787.85 per bus stop! But, hey, it's your money.

David, prepare for a wonky answer on the theory behind why you would want real-time travel information for the bus.


IVTT = "In Vehicle Travel Time"
OVTT = "Out of Vehicle Travel Time"

In the world of transportation planning, any trip is divided into the two items above (IVTT and OVTT). Examples:

You leave your house, walk to your car, drive to Harris Teeter, park in an available space 50 yards from the door, walk to the door of the store. The time walking from the house to car and car to store is OVTT. The time in your car is IVTT.

With transit, time in the bus is IVTT. Time walking to the bus or waiting for the bus is considered OVTT. In a perfect world, we'd all teleport everywhere and use no energy and create no emissions, and have more time for the things we are trying to do by traveling in the first place.

In the real world, studies show that in choosing transportation modes, people dislike OVTT much more than IVTT, because with IVTT, you feel like you're making progress, even if the car or bus is stuck in traffic.

To the extent that any transportation system can make OVTT more useful or less stressful, research suggests this improves overall satisfaction with use of the system, and thus reinforces the propensity of a user to use the system.

Example: you're on Franklin St, and you're at Caribou Coffee. You want to go to Weaver Street Market. It's July, and it's hot, and you could really use a cold drink. You know you can take the F or the J, but not having a schedule with you, you have no idea when the bus is coming, or if it is on-time. That being the case, you won't go into Caribou to get your drink because you're afraid you'll miss your bus. You are experiencing mild anxiety about when the bus will arrive, and have had the utility of your time lowered by not being able to use the wait time without risk of missing the bus.

With the sign saying:

F bus, 7 minutes

you now are armed with information that you can use. You look into Caribou, and see 2 people in line. You know this is enough time to get your cold drink. You go inside, purchase, and come back out and continue waiting. The sign now says:

F bus, 2 minutes.

The system has now given you back some of the value of your time that would previously have been squandered waiting without knowledge of the bus arrival time. This removes some inconvenience with using the bus system, and thus encourages the bus system's use.

David wrote: "Advising people on ETAs is nice, but how does that change behavior?"
It might affect people's decisions at a larger scale. For example, if this system eliminates the frustration of not knowing when the next bus is coming, then some people who never use the bus (because of this frustration) might start using it - even though the existence of the system doesn't affect decision making on any individual trip. Maybe. But as WillR says, it would be desirable for a scientific study to demonstrate that this is true (or not).

David wrote: "I believe that most people are like Ruby."
You are definitely wrong about that.

Of course, at the wage I earn, those signs would have to save over four hundred thouand minutes to be worth the money...

Personally, I think the signs would be great... if they cost an order of magnitude or two cheaper than what the town is paying for them. And really, they should. I don't know why we're shelling out so much money for yet another proprietary system. But then, the town didn't ask me for my advice, did they? Gee, wouldn't it be great if we had some sort of, I don't know, group of citizens with technology expertise to meet regularly and advice the town on technical issues? Nah, that would never work...

David, I can give you a short answer to the question. Whenever I take the bus, I spend the entire time that I am waiting worrying that I have either just missed the bus or it's just not coming. It's a kind of unpleasant feeling. It makes me not want to ride the bus. These signs will do a great deal to improve the bus-riding experience and therefore will make it easier and more pleasant for people to choose over driving.

Also, it's not a zero-sum if I choose the bus over walking. It could be a 40+ minute hike (in the heat or rain) that I'm contemplating. I'd much rather take the bus in such a situation, but I need to know I'm not going to wait more than 40 minutes for it.

Jason, you and your crazy ideas! ;-)

Maybe the buses need to stay on their posted schedule, if they are often off schedule as some seem to imply. I assume schedules are posted at every stop, and if not perhaps we could do that for a fraction of the cost for ALL the stops, in braille too! You could even put a solar powered clock at each stop for those who don't have a watch. Talk about eco-friendly!

Maybe we should model our system after fascist Italy, hey the trains ran on time in the 40's, right? Where's my history book, Benito where are you when we need your help??

Spending this money is not a "given", we should be talking about givin' it back to Washington so they can burn it on something else.

To me it is a classic example of pork spending and government waste. Yeah, high tech is sexy, and yeah, the minute splitters among us (exclude me from that list, thank you very much) think it is kool to know how many minutes you have to wait for the free ride, but in the big picture it is nothing but a high tech waste of taxpayer money.

Robotic monkey butlers.....are they Windows compatible? :)

Ruby--watch out. We've now agreed on something twice this year!

Terri, let's not let it happen again! ;-)

John, my watch is at least as likely to be late as the bus is. Not to mention sometimes I underestimate how long it will take to get to the stop. Not knowing if I missed the bus does not imply that it's late.

"Whenever I take the bus, I spend the entire time that I am waiting worrying that I have either just missed the bus or it's just not coming. It's a kind of unpleasant feeling. It makes me not want to ride the bus."

Thanks for explaining why I only will ride the bus when I have no other choices - it is just not convenient.

Patrick, thanks for your explanation. I failed to think of it that way. I like 'wonky' and the folks who take the time to teach.

Mark, thank you also for your insight. And you are absolutely correct: the statement "I believe that most people are like Ruby" is definitely false.

Ruby, I'm sorry I implied that most people are like you. You are one of a kind and I mean that in the best way possible.

All, I 'get' why it's useful, but I still think this information system is too expensive. There has got to be a cheaper solution.

Ridiculously dense coverage of the 2006 ntelligent Transportation Systems expo.

If you want a taste of high-tech transit management, I suggest a quick read.

I am not jumping to the conclusion that the system is worth the money, David. Last night the Board of Aldermen asked town staff to report back to us about how much money Carrboro is being asked to pay for the system and how many of the real-time signs will be in Carrboro.

The technology committee is going away?!?!?! How stupid is that!

I'm a member of the Orange United Transportation board (first meeting 17 May, I think). I'm definitely planning on talking about this (although I don't know how to get it onto the agenda). OUT is advisory to BOCC and hopefully to the municipal governments in the county, but of course we all know what "advisory" means. I'd be happy to aggregate comments from here.

You are so right about two things.
1. The signs should be on the main drag, as this will get more people using them downtown, which will lead to greater usage around town. (BTW, it might be nice to have ads painted on the side of each bus that let people know they are FREE!!! The first time I got on I asked how much it was, just assuming it cost money.)

2. I can take two buses back to SV, but they arrive at slightly different stops at a 4-way intersection. The V bus is supposed to arrive 10 minutes before the NS, but the V is nearly ALWAYS 15 minutes late. So, I go back and forth with myself, should I take the V or the NS? Sometimes I pick the V and it never shows up (maybe it was actually on time that day), then I miss the NS and end up having to wait 10-20 minutes, when I get to do the dance all over again.

I personally see no need for signs at the Park n Rides. You're there, you parked there, you have to take the bus, it is too far to walk, so just wait. There are shelters with written schedules which allow you to pretty quickly figure out if the bus has arrived or not. You're kind of stuck, a sign assuring you of that isn't much help.

Robert, you'll be able to collect real metrics on bus arrivals via the 'net. I wonder if some citizens would step up (hint,hint) to suggest modifications to routes based on longitudinal study of the transit systems "real" performance.

Mark C. - is the BOA being asked for $150K to buildout a 800mhz VIPER-compatible system? If so, I believe there's alternatives (not to mention the impending move to 700mhz in 2009).

Another document for people really interested in this topic would be TCRP Synthesis 48: Real-Time Bus Arrival Information Systems

visit (registration required) and look under free publications.

Most interesting finding within (from a quick scan)- users in London on a bus route with the real-time information system perceived that wait times shrunk from 11.3 to 8.6 minutes for a certain bus, even though in reality, on-time performance suffered slightly during the same time period! (for reasons unrelated to the real-time info system)

I've called about this before and was thinking of mentioning something about it at a future meeting. In addition, I will be joining Bryn on the OUT Board, so who knows what all we will discuss. I don't mind if the bus ALWAYS comes ten minutes late or fifteen minutes late, just as long as it then doesn't show up on TIME one day! There is also the converse problem, where for several weeks before they changed the V line route it was showing up EARLY. That was quite annoying.

Speaking of the OUT board, I'm at a bit of a loss to figure out how to get there from Duke - if I leave work at 4, I can take the TTA to Chapel Hill then to Hillsborough, and get there by 5:27. Or maybe I can walk from Duke to Hillsborough and get there in an hour and a half.
I'm peaved that I can't take public transportation to a public transportation meeting!! Aargh!

I take one or another bus every day from Chapel Hill to work - during the school year, I can ride the Robertson Scholars bus for free, and in the summer, I catch the TTA (Robertson doesn't run in summer).

The Robertson bus should be run all year, I have driven to Duke several times during the summer because of this. I've looked into the TTA for my trip to the OUT board. The trip there is no problem, however, the trip home might be a problem.

What a waste of money. And its another thing to break.

Wear a watch, read the schedule, and ask someone waiting whether your bus came or not. If you want to be fast, don't ride the bus and be an automaton polluter; ride a bike - no waiting, no polluting, no stinky other people (only you stink), goes door-to-door, reduces gas demand, makes you fit, pisses off some pinheaded motorists.

"Things should be as simple a possible, but not any simpler."
Albert Einstein

hi i took tta today and the chapel hill transit the problem i have is if chapel hill tranis bus schedules were lower and in in blown up print at all bus stops i know that they have to make them accessible to the majority of people that are walking but down in raleigh the tta had them where people sit down

and ive never seen braille signs at any bus stops but that would help a lot of people to know which bus they are waiting on ive been even down toatlanta and i dont belive they use them on there bus system maybe we could be the first to use them

it takes a few minutes for the bus to load a wheelchairand get us hooked down properly i guss if everything goes right it takes 2.5 minutes to load me in and get me tied down. it took at least 7 or 8 minutes when the bus driver hasnt done a wheelchair before or for a very long time so thats one reason buses may be lateand there is so much traffic too.

I don't know anything about the system under consideration but what ould be really useful, much more then a few random signs, is the database it collects. If a proper interface is stuck ont eh front of it, you could:

1] Check the status of the bus before you leave home or teh office from your desktop. If it is running 10 minutes late, as it ofetn is but not predictably, you can add 10 minutes to your usual departure time.

2] An even simpler interface would premit people to check from their cell phones the real times status. This could be either a WAP browser session or a coded text message. [For instance maybe 6=F route and 32=Franklin/coffee shop, so a text to 919-BUS-CHAP with message of 632 would reply with the arrival time of the next F bus at that stop, leting you decide when to leave whereever you are.

We'll never have signs at ever stop ebcause they are expensieve and prone to vandelism. Furetermore as has been pointed out once you are there it is simply stress of deciding if it acme early or late, or what. But the data from the tracked buses... now that is useful.

NextBus and, more importantly, the open standards alternatives (Wifi/WiMAX) have WAP and web-based systems to alert you of their positions.

My hope is that whatever system we choose, the data stream will be publicly availble for just this type of analysis.

Right now, it seems the town is up to the "same old, same old" and hasn't anticipated redeploying this information (though, I imagine, you could poll via WAP).


You sound as if you think there is still time to change the NextBus decision. From what I understand it's a done deal. The fed money has been accepted. and you don't change a proposal in any substantive way once the money has been granted.


Hope springs eternal...

Sure, the contract was signed, but I assume that there's always time to undo a poor decision and to make a better one in its stead - especially when it involves nearly a million $$$ of lost opportunity.

I'm still waiting on the documentation on how NextBus did in the functional trials, what criteria was actually used to decide it was "best", to see how the bid process was performed.

In the mean time, a few questions have already popped up.

1) Why did we pay substantially more than ACTransit?
2) The initial RFP mentions WiMAX/Wifi type tech, but I can find no solicitation of companies specializing in these alternatives.
3) The RFP has a number of inconsistencies - how were they resolved?
4) What role did the Feds or David Price's office play in the decision?

Finally, the Federal grant was approved years ago (2003) - its genesis seems to have been in 2002.

Time doesn't seem to be the dominant constraint.

Considering the magnitude of the mistake our town is about to make, again, I would hope the Council reviews their decision and reappraise the selection of NextBus, its last-gen approach and the loss of multi-use alternatives.

i got on 4 different buses to show how to hook a wheelchair down and then we rode around to the different spots that have given trouble in the past i had all the big wigs with me. they will take the video back and put it togetherand it will become a training video. it was real cool and they are going to have a loaner lowfloor bus so we can try it out its a pain in the but hanging up in mid air


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