The New South Wales government is rolling out electronic displays at a few of its bus stops, using the solar-powered signs to direct people navigating the disruptions to public transport. In a LinkedIn post from Transport for NSW (TfNSW) coordinator general Marg Prendergast, it was explained the new signs, using e-ink technology, are being rolled out at Station Link bus stops during the temporary shutdown of train stations between Epping and Chatswood. For a cost of AU$49 million, Station Link will see the addition of over 120 new buses, expected to provide thousands of extra services from September 30 while TfNSW upgrades the rail line between Epping and Chatswood. It is expected the line will be closed for around seven months. "The solar-powered signs give customers real-time updates about when their next service will turn up using GPS data that tracks our buses," Prendergast said.
The New South Wales government will begin trials next year to allow commuters to pay for public transport by tapping on and off with their credit and debit cards, as an alternative to using their Opal card. A Transport of NSW spokesperson told ZDNet that giving commuters the choice to pay using their Opal card, or a credit or debit card when travelling would offer them another easy-to-use and convenient option for travelling. "Contactless payments are a major advance in ticketing technology. Customers get another option for paying fares whether they are regular commuters or visitors to Sydney," the spokesperson said. With further details about the project to be announced as plans progress, the spokesperson said during the first stage of the project that the government will be working on finalising partnerships, including working with the finance and contactless payments sector, and developing software in time for the customer trial in 2017.
The New South Wales government has announced the availability of data to let bus commuters know how full their next bus is before it arrives. The first app to make use of the feature, the iOS-only NextThere, uses icons indicate the volume of people travelling on a particular bus service. According to Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, delivering such information to customers will enable them to make commuting choices earlier. "This is yet another way that Opal data can be practical for everyone. This will show users whether their bus is empty, has seating, or is crowded," he said.
South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.