Operators Turning to New and Improved GPS

Posted on November 9, 2009 by Nicole Schlosser - Also by this author

Page 1 of 2

During the past year, an increasing number of motorcoach operators have discovered various elements of GPS and use them on the road.

The basic aspect of fleet tracking that tells drivers their locations has been enhanced by wireless or mobile phone connectivity. The systems can now take coach information and broadcast it back to a central site to be either downloaded or connect to a driver by sending diagnostic or coach information, for example.

Fleet Tracking and Diagnostics

Just a couple of years ago, GPS was only used for navigation or mapping purposes. "Now, it's used for tracking purposes. You can still use it for navigation, for the driver's benefit, but the fleet management benefit [is that] operators are using it to track their equipment," says Louis Hotard, director of technical service for ABC Companies, based in Faribault, Minn.

Hotard confirms that the technology of GPS navigation is broadening its capability. ABC uses the Saucon TDS (www.saucontds.com) fleet management system, which employs GPS to monitor the motorcoaches. "A dispatcher sitting in his [or her] office can track each bus that has Saucon in it, see what highway the coaches are on, how fast they're traveling, if the right driver's in the right bus, [or] if there's any bus trouble."

ABC has about 100 buses fitted with the system, which is standard on its double-decker bus, Hotard adds.

Ed Hodgson, vice president of operations for Megabus, says that the North American carrier also uses the Saucon TDS system.

"It gives us the opportunity to see at any time where any of our vehicles are, allows us to deal with daily disruptions, like traffic congestion, accidents, and closing roads," Hodgson says. "And it helps us to manage those situations much better, because we can tell at a glance exactly where the vehicles are. And we're developing an on-time system that automatically highlights where a vehicle is running behind schedule."  

Tom Chezem, vice president of motorcoach sales for Setra/Daimler Buses North America in Greensboro, N.C., says that Setra also has transitioned to the Saucon TDS fleet tracking system. He predicts the market is heading there, not only for fleet tracking but for diagnostic and more real-time coach information.

"As an operator, you can manage your fleet, and as an OEM, we can help support customers with [any] issues," Chezem says.

Now with Wireless

Chezem adds that the system is also expandable, increasing its versatility. "One of the big items [Saucon has] added is Wi-Fi, and they started to add things like the cameras that you see on board, for crash avoidance," Chezem says. "Their combination just makes sense to enable, because we're seeing a lot of people making that request."

There's a significant difference in where the GPS market was just one year ago and where it is today. "You also see some of the big players like BoltBus, Greyhound and Coach USA starting to advertise it as standard, so it's becoming much more popular. People are expecting it on the products," Chezem says. Wi-Fi soon may be a standard option on Setra coaches, capable of being started up with the purchase of a card from one of the service providers, such as AT&T.

Saucon's system has made this possible by offering Setra an
attractive, inexpensive hardware solution integrated with its GPS and fleet tracking devices already installed on coaches.

"What you'll see with the GPS, it kind of broadens into what you see with Onstar, and some of those elements that you see on cars," Chezem says. "As always, I think the commercial vehicle market will lag the automobile industry. You're going to see more diagnostic, real-time information for both fleet and tracking. Customers want to know where the coaches are and what's happening to them. I think we'll see more and more of that integrated into the vehicle systems." 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Go Riteway Celebrates 60 Years In Bus Business

The Wisconsin company started with just four school buses and now has 1,000 vehicles serving several ground transportation sectors.

Colorado Operator Buys Affiliate To Widen Service Region

eNews Exclusive: B-Line Express in Vail will now cover even more ground in the retail-heavy state.

Why Uber Can't Be Fixed And Must Be Shut Down

Analysis: The TNC's lower costs brought lower prices, with resulting popularity and growth. But its use of noncommercial cars was unlawful from the start.

Empire CLS Featured In Meetings + Events Magazine

The article describes the chauffeured transportation provider's newest additions to its fleet: 56-passenger motorcoaches.

Unique II Brings Its Luxury Service To Florida FBO

The New Jersey company expands its chauffeured experience to  private charter jet clientele at Opa-locka.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - July 2017 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Why These Titans Work So Hard to Give it Away * *
LCT Magazine - June/Fact Book 2017 $47.95 * Facts & Stats * Directors & Guides *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close