The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority has made good progress with the reinstatement of the Advanced Public Transport Management System which will enable the MyCiTi Control Centre to track and monitor the MyCiTi buses on the 40 MyCiTi routes across Cape Town.
It is anticipated that the MyCiTi Control Centre will be fully operational within the next two to three months, once the hardware, software and related systems, collectively known as the Advanced Public Transport Management System (APTMS), are fully reinstated.
“Once the APTMS is fully completed and we are satisfied with the outcome of the pilot phase, the MyCiTi Control Centre will be tracking and monitoring each and every MyCiTi bus across the city. We will therefore know the exact location of every bus at any given point in time. Furthermore, the Control Centre will be able to communicate directly with the drivers at any time, thereby being able to forewarn and divert them from any incident along the route. The system will enable us to keep track of delays and we will be able to inform commuters about the departure time of every bus on every route on the passenger information displays (PIDs) at all of the MyCiTi stations. Once fully operational, the APTMS will assist us in improving the service and communicating real-time information to our passengers,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.
The MyCiTi service currently covers 40 routes across the city with 42 stations and more than 700 bus stops.
“Our fleet consists of 377 buses and covers nearly 1,5 million kilometres each month, transporting up to 68 010 passengers on a weekday. Keeping track of every bus on every route will assist us in monitoring the vehicle operating companies’ schedule adherence, as well as bus driver behaviour and bus traveling speeds at any point in time,” said Councillor Herron.
The APTMS pilot, which commenced during September 2016 to conduct in situ testing, has been successfully completed, with the system now gradually being rolled out to include the remaining MyCiTi buses and routes.
“Nearly 40% of our MyCiTi fleet is now fitted with what we call advanced vehicle location hardware, with the software installed onto this hardware enabling us to track and monitor the MyCiTi buses, as well as communicate with the drivers from the MyCiTi Control Centre. Nearly 30% of the fleet is operational with network video recorder hardware and software, inclusive of CCTV cameras and CCTV camera displays. The footage recorded enables us to investigate all incidents involving our fleet. We are aiming to have the hardware and software installed on all of the buses during the next two to three months,” said Councillor Herron.
Commuters travelling on the N2 Express service between Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Cape Town were the first to benefit from the roll-out of the real-time updates about the MyCiTi bus departures.
As from September last year, as part of a pilot phase on the N2 Express, real-time information about the next bus to depart on the D01, D02, D03 and D04 routes is being communicated to commuters on electronic signboards or PIDs at the MyCiTi stations in the Town Centre in Mitchells Plain and the Civic Centre station in Cape Town.
“What is meant by real-time is that the PID indicates to commuters in how many minutes the next bus on a particular route is to depart from that particular platform,” said Councillor Herron.
These advances are now being gradually rolled out on all of the MyCiTi routes, as are on-the-bus announcements indicating the name of the next stop along a route.
“These announcements are useful for those who are not paying attention to the route itself, commuters who are not familiar with the routes and stops, or commuters with partial sight or no sight at all who have to rely on their hearing or others for assistance,” said Councillor Herron.
In addition, the 555 bus drivers who are currently employed by the MyCiTi vehicle operating companies are being trained to operate the bus communication system which allows them to be in constant voice contact with the MyCiTi Control Centre in Goodwood.“The bus drivers who operate the buses along the N2 Express routes in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha have been in direct communication with the MyCiTi Control Centre since September 2016 already. There have been several cases during these past months where bus drivers asked for assistance during emergencies and we were able to respond immediately,” said Councillor Herron.
Because they are able to communicate with the Control Centre from their seats as and when needed, the bus drivers can avoid risky situations by requesting assistance with route deviations.
“The introduction of this communication system enabled the controllers in the Control Centre to monitor the buses operating on the N2 Express routes. The system controllers assist the bus drivers with schedule adherence, and can warn bus drivers in advance of accidents or suspicious activities that may pose a danger to the driver and the passengers. Once the APTMS is fully reinstated, this system will be operational on all of the MyCiTi buses,” said Councillor Herron.