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OC Transpo's smart bus plan could carry big price tag

The city’s transit committee is considering the purchase of a$17-million smart bus suite that would put OC Transpo near theforefront of customer interactivity, but the options and the cost isfar more than they asked for.

The city’s transit committee is considering the purchase of a $17-million smart bus suite that would put OC Transpo near the forefront of customer interactivity, but the options and the cost is far more than they asked for.

The city initially budgeted $6.72 million to purchase a next-stop announcement system, but transit staff are now recommending a more complex system that includes a predictive arrival system to notify riders using real-time online maps how long they have to wait for their bus, from transit technology company Clever Devices.

Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen compares it to a pizza with one topping or a pizza with all the toppings.

OC Transpo is purchasing the NSAS to comply with a 2007 Ontario Human Rights Commission order.

Transport 2000 president David Jeanes said he’s concerned OC Transpo has skipped the public consultation process and is now preparing to purchase a system without public input and from only one real offer.

“That’s a pretty big price tag on a per bus basis,” said Owen Moore, president of Grey Island Systems, which owns a rival technology company NextBus. “It looks like they’re paying top dollar for this.”

NextBus did not submit a bid during the RFP, since initially, it was only for a next-stop announcement system.

According to a city staff report, four proponents submitted qualifying offers for the NSAS. Two were dismissed for not meeting the requirements.

According Bell spokesperson Jacqueline Michelis, the offer from Bell Canada, the third proponent, is still open and would fit within the city budget.

 
 
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