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Problems with real-time systems, problems with Matangi software

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The Wellington Regional Council didn’t only under-estimate the number of passengers who’d want to travel on their new commuter services. According to the DomPost today, it also under-estimated the number of people who would want to go online to check the real-time information about bus arrivals.

Infotech’s Tim Pullar-Strecker reports that the council is “disappointed” by problems with its real-time service which has ground to a halt at peak times.

The service has at times been unusable late in the afternoon, with frustrated users tweeting their complaints to Metlink.

“We would have preferred the system to work from day one,” says the project’s team-leader in what must be an embarrassed under-statement. “The pilot and our prior testing went smoothly but … clearly there have been teething troubles.”

The Regional Council has also given a brief explanation for the puzzling delays in bringing the new Matangi trains into service.

Its regional project manager says the delays are caused by problems with the trains’ software, and adjustments are needed to make things compatible with the rail network.

“The new trains have ten software systems, compared with the old Ganz Mavag trains having only two micro-processes.”

Last month the regional council’s public transport manager talked about “minor glitches,” which didn’t seem an adequate explanation of months of delays to a service which was supposed to begin last December.

Today it seems that the official situation is this:

Eight of the new two-car Matangi units have arrived. But only three are in use. The next five will be introduced at ten-day intervals. A total of thirty should be running by the end of the year. Leaving 18 more units to start work in 2012.

Tranz Metro admits it’s short of trains