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Technology for Smarter and Safer Buses Coming to Kamloops

December 16, 2016 - 12:45 PM

Kamloops – Kamloops’ buses are moving ahead toward becoming best-in-class when it comes to modern technology for a safer, smarter ride.

Twenty-five buses are now outfitted with both interior and exterior CCTV cameras, enhancing safety for passengers and drivers alike. The city’s entire bus fleet is on track to being fully equipped with safety cameras with the arrival of new CNG fuelled buses in early 2017 – making Kamloops one of the province’s first BC Transit-served communities to be completely modernized with smart and CNG fuel efficient technologies.

Real-time technology is also on its way now that the City of Kamloops has signed a memorandum of understanding to introduce a new GPS tracking system. Once here, transit users will be able to access accurate, real-time information about where buses are located to more conveniently plan their commute.

The introduction of these new technologies is part of the almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for BC Transit projects that was first announced in June, together with Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The Government of Canada recognizes how important safe and efficient transit infrastructure is to growing the middle class and getting Canadians to work and back home to their families at the end of the day,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “We are committed to supporting improvements to public transit systems, such as these upgrades to buses in Kamloops, to help municipalities across British Columbia deliver safe, modern and efficient public transit services to residents.”

Under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, BC Transit worked with its municipal partners to identify which transit priorities would best serve the needs of B.C. communities. The first phase of the fund prioritized technology enhancements:

  • Closed circuit TV (CCTV), to increase the safety of passengers and drivers
  • Real Time information about where buses are located to make service more convenient
  • Automatic passenger counters enabling BC Transit to optimize service delivery based on precise and timely data

“I’m confident that these new technologies will greatly improve the transit experience for riders in Kamloops,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “I’m especially excited to see all the potential that comes with real-time schedule information and bus locator technology, which will, in many ways, redefine how we interact with transit from beginning to end – for the better.”

Real-time information will allow customers to determine when buses are due to arrive or leave their location via mobile app, website or passenger information displays at key exchanges.

“I want to encourage residents of Kamloops to use transit more often; the introduction of real-time information will go a long way toward that end,” said Peter Milobar, City of Kamloops Mayor. “Both current and future transit users will benefit from having exact bus location information at their fingertips. I look forward to working with BC Transit and our other partners to get this technology installed on our city’s buses as soon as possible.”

BC Transit will be releasing a request for proposals to find a vendor to install and maintain the real-time technology in January 2017. BC Transit staff have been researching and evaluating technology enhanced systems in peer transit systems across Canada and the United States.

The installation of the CCTV cameras follows a successful pilot project that took place from April 2015 to April 2016 with 83 CCTV-equipped buses in Victoria and 25 buses in Kamloops.

“BC Transit staff and customers have seen the benefits of CCTV cameras on buses, both in deterring inappropriate behaviour and in providing a tool to investigate when incidents do occur,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit Executive Director of Business Development. “I’m looking forward to having the Kamloops bus fleet fully equipped with cameras, and from there, introducing this technology in other communities across the province.”

In partnership with local governments, BC Transit provides access to public transit to more than
1.6 million British Columbians in 130 communities outside Metro Vancouver. As a result of our commitment to transit in B.C., communities with as few as 1,000 people have access to transit making BC Transit a unique service for smaller communities anywhere in Canada.

The Province also provides the highest level of operating funding support, per capita, for transit in Canada.

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