Surveillance cameras coming to Nanaimo bus system

NANAIMO – GPS will show RDN, passengers where buses are located.

With Regional District of Nanaimo Transit plans to add global positioning systems to buses, passengers could soon be able to track buses via a smartphone app.

The regional district has budgeted for a number of new bus-related items, including GPS and surveillance cameras.

Daniel Pearce, acting director of transportation and emergency services, says the RDN is working with B.C. Transit to have GPS installed on the bus fleet. Once completed, residents and the regional district will be able to see where a bus is and how it’s performing in real time.

“We’re working with B.C. Transit on a request for proposal process, so there hasn’t been a supplier selected yet, but within the competitive process market, a lot of the companies out there do offer the real-time information, so someone from a smartphone or a computer can see where the bus is,” Pearce said. “Also from there, plan out their trip, knowing where the buses are located or where their connecting for transfer points as such.”

Pearce said the cost hasn’t been determined yet, but it will be included within federal infrastructure money B.C. Transit has been allotted.

“The breakdown will most likely be 17 per cent of the total cost for the regional district … until the RFP is completed we won’t know the exact cost,” said Pearce, adding the request for proposals is expected to begin in early 2017.

The regional district is in the process of upgrading its entire fleet to compressed natural gas and buses will have closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras. A group of 25 came into the fleet in 2013 and more are scheduled to enter the fleet by early 2017.

“There’s going to be a total of six cameras on the inside and two on the outside … We’ll be receiving [another 24] over December, January into February, and those will come with cameras already installed,” said Pearce.

Pearce said camera installation will come with a price tag of $65,000 and the fleet will be fully operational with the cameras by February.