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Tech Fuels New Zealand’s Public Transport

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The use of public transportation in New Zealand has experienced a significant surge. This country has demonstrated its dedication to enhancing public transportation through technology integration, aiming to improve efficiency, comfort, and accessibility for residents. It has been actively transitioning its bus fleet to electric vehicles, with Auckland leading the way.

As of 2023, Auckland Transport operates the largest e-bus fleet in New Zealand, with 133 electric buses in service. The city aims to convert its entire bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2035, in line with the government’s target for full decarbonisation of urban buses by 2035.

The introduction of e-buses in Dunedin is just another example of this commitment, reflecting a broader effort to revolutionise the public transportation system nationwide. In Dunedin, 1,670,619 bus trips were taken from July to December 2023, marking a 28% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

This significant increase in bus ridership highlights the growing demand for public transportation in the city. With the integration of technology in the public transport system, such as real-time tracking information and electronic bus stop signs, passengers can have a more convenient and efficient travel experience.

Technology integration has helped improve operational efficiency and fleet management. By using an integrated fleet management system, operators can track the location and condition of buses in real-time, enabling them to respond quickly to changes in traffic conditions and passenger demand. Additionally, the data analysis generated by this system can also help operators plan more efficient routes and schedules, reduce waiting times, and increase passenger satisfaction.

“These electric buses are designed to meet local conditions and requirements, with a focus on affordability, comfort, and reduced carbon emissions,” explained Andrew Noone, an ORC Councillor. “The transition to electric buses is part of a broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in New Zealand.”

Andrew expressed over the rising numbers, noting that the increase in both Queenstown and Dunedin indicates a growing trend of people utilising bus services in Otago. The introduction of the new Mosgiel express bus has also contributed to the boost in passenger numbers, with nearly 7,000 trips taken on the 78 service since its launch six months ago.

In Queenstown, bus usage has also seen a significant uptick, with 928,348 trips taken between July and December 2023, marking a 44% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Councillor Noone highlighted the high utilisation of Queenstown services, noting that patronage is at a six-year high.

The Queenstown Public Transport Business Case, which outlines plans for a public transport system aimed at achieving a greater mode shift towards public transport in the Whakatipu Basin over the next 30 years, has been endorsed by the Council. The proposed changes include a frequent, high-capacity bus and ferry network operating from early morning to late at night, making it easier for locals and visitors to travel around the basin without prior planning. The business case also includes plans for decarbonising the public transport fleet by introducing electric bus technology.

Further, Lorraine Cheyne, the Manager of Transportation at ORC, aimed to ensure public convenience by implementing efforts to minimise any inconvenience caused by construction. “Passengers can download the Dunedin App to get well-informed,” stated Ms Cheyne.

The Orbus Dunedin app offers passengers detailed information about new stop locations. This includes maps, walking directions, and estimated wait times. The app also provides the user experiences and how the app has facilitated adaptation to the temporary changes, providing insights into its usability and effectiveness.

The integration of technology in public transportation has played a significant role in improving the quality of service, increasing efficiency, and promoting sustainability. As technology continues to advance, the public can expect further innovations in the public transport sector, leading to a more seamless and environmentally friendly travel experience for commuters.



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