We implemented the “Connected Bus” project in two transportation cooperatives that operate around 250 buses each.
We designed an application to ease passenger scheduling by providing locations and timings of the buses.
The GPS device sends data to a cloud server every five seconds. This information is then analyzed in the cloud and checked against bus timetables and route data to manage bus operations in real time. In addition, this data is tied and secured, with the app guiding passengers on bus routes. This enables users to search for bus stops based on their destination and obtain notifications of the arrival time of their desired bus. The service was well received, but the more busses that were added, the more data costs mushroomed.
We provided a very low communication rate (base rate) and a metered rate for actual data usage, so we only pay for what was used. There are four plans based on data speed. Our system handles a small set of bus GPS coordinates, which are sent frequently, for which the most inexpensive plan was more than sufficient. Once we were deployed, our monthly data rates dropped to 1/10th of what they once were.
It is also convenient to order more SIMs, and we can initiate or suspend them ourselves from the web console. We enable the ordering of new SIMs in increments as small as one, which we then pop into the smartphones to quickly set them up and get them running. It is easy to turn them on or off or cancel them when required. This ease of use greatly reduces the workload on administrators.