Catch the NextBus III – ACTransit’s Better Deal

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

…an innovative, modern bus system, owned by the public of the East Bay. Its family tree dates back to 1869…the year America’s two coasts were joined by the transcontinental railroad with the driving of the golden spike. In the same year, 1869, the Suez Canal opened, linking the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. That’s the year when AC Transit’s first predecessor began carrying passengers from the Jack London Waterfront into burgeoning Oakland in a horse-drawn rail car.

on January 18th, 2006 cut a new deal with NextBus, Inc. covering:

[ UPDATED May 8th, 2006 after speaking to ACTransit ]

  • 25 routes – 13 new, 12 existing
  • 100 signs – 54 new, 46 existing
  • 199 vehicles tracked – 125 new, 74 existing
  • 7 years of warrantee on equipment and services

Cost? $1,031,079

Authorize the General Manager to negotiate and execute a contract with NextBus, Inc., for real time bus arrival information on two BRT/Rapid lines and at two BART/AC Transit Centers, for a capital investment including a seven-year warrantee, in the amount of $1,031, 079.

Sounds like a much better deal than 14 signs, our small smaller (83) fleet, at a cost of $949,025.

There’s an interesting breakout of costs in the contract.

One item that caught my attention, $201,600 for airtime. Nearly 1/5th of the contracted cost goes to communication, an expensive element that distinguishes this proprietary technology from the standards-based, dual-use WiFi/WiMax-based alternatives.

Further information on the coverage:

For a number of years, AC Transit has worked with NextBus, Inc. to provide real time bus arrival information, both at bus stops and via the Internet. Initially, NextBus provided a Demonstration Project along San Pablo Avenue. In May 2003, AC Transit entered into Contract No. 2003-839 to provide NextBus services and equipment for the San Pablo BRT/Rapid Corridor. That contract was subsequently amended to cover services and equipment for large-screen bus arrival information at the Fruitvale BART station. This new proposed contract would supercede amended Contract No. 2003-839, and would include the Telegraph/International BRT/Rapid Corridor, as well as the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

All four projects will be covered by a NextBus seven year warrantee on equipment and services. This provision is particularly significant, in that traditional financial models for this type of technology-driven service have initial capital expense and subsequent annual operating charges. NextBus recognizes the reality of public agency funding issues, and has worked diligently with staff to develop this new, warrantee driven business model. In this instance, front loading the costs will result in significant savings, primarily in District operating funds. Attachment A details NextBus’ calculations and cost reductions, based on our current contract.

Both NextBus and AC Transit recognize that safeguards must be built into the contract to guarantee the same level of service and attention to AC Transit’s needs as presently provided by NextBus.


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