January 24, 2024

GPS tracker for Bus & Public Transport – The complete guide (Updated 2024)

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GPS tracker for bus operators

KATSANA® GPS Tracker for Bus operators, coach operators and public transports is used by numerous bus operators in Malaysia and around the Southeast Asia region. As part of regulatory requirements by respective road transport authorities in every country, bus operators opt for the KATSANA® fleet management solution for compliance purposes. This article aspires to be a complete guide for bus operators to understand GPS tracking system, helping you to make an informed decision when selecting the right bus tracking solution for your fleet.

In this article (updated January 2024), we are helping bus operators 🚌 🚎  (including shuttle buses, transit operators, coach bus, public transport operators, university buses etc) to:

  • understand the GPS tracking technology in brief
  • understand why GPS tracking & telematics matters in your industry
  • understand that there are a wide variety of GPS trackers and their accompanying features & standards; or lack thereof
  • realize the benefit of installing KATSANA® GPS tracker on your bus fleet
  • learn how bus operators use KATSANA® to make their bus operation safer, more efficient
  • learn how bus operators use KATSANA® to provide improved service quality to their customers
  • explore other upgrades to improve bus operations

Article Index – This is a long article; Click on the points below to go straight to it:

  1. What is GPS Tracker for bus & public transport? How does it relate to Fleet Management System (FMS) and Intelligent Transport System (ITS)?
    • General features of GPS tracker
    • Fleet Management System (FMS)
    • Intelligent Transport System (ITS)
    • APAD (JPJ) requirements for bus GPS trackers 🚎
    • A short brief on KATSANA® Integrated Vehicle Operations platform
  2. Why it is important to use APAD-compliant KATSANA® GPS tracker for bus?
    • GPS trackers come in different features and capabilities
    • APAD ICOP Compliance Certificate issued by KATSANA®
    • Ensuring safe driving behavior by bus drivers
    • Tamper-proof record of past incidents
    • Driver safety ranking and Driving Score (through DriveMark® algorithm)
  3. Beyond regulatory requirement, what are the benefits of using KATSANA® GPS trackers?
    • Route & performance monitoring
    • Fuel Cost & Fuel Consumption Monitoring ⛽️
    • Vehicle Service & Maintenance dashboard & reminders ✅
    • Integration with other systems
  4. Learn from successful bus operators that use KATSANA®:
    • Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Pahat (Malaysia) saved over RM200,000 when it discovers discrepancies with its shuttle bus service provider
    • Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) implements KATSANA® to allow students keep track of real-time shuttle bus
    • Greenworld Travel Sdn Bhd reduces speeding summons and dangerous driving behavior – lowering operation costs
  5. Available software & hardware upgrades to make bus operation safer and more efficient
    • ITS – Intelligent Transport System for Bus
    • DMS – Driver Monitoring System for Bus
    • ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance System
    • PMS – Passenger Information System
    • AFC – Automated Fare Collection
    • MDVR – Real-time video streaming / Mobile Digital Video Recorder
    • Driver identification and driver scoring module
    • Integrated Info board to display route & destination message
    • Speed warning buzzer
    • Live video streaming and recording through MDVR
    • Passenger counting system
    • Automatic camera switching for Reversing or Door Opening events
    • Detection of accidents/serious crash
    • Accurate service and maintenance record including Reminders
    • Fleet Utilisation dashboard

What is GPS tracker for bus & public transport? How does it relate to Fleet Management System (FMS) and Intelligent Transport System (ITS)?

KATSANA Transit Solutions for Bus Operators
KATSANA Transit Solutions for Bus Operators includes GPS Tracker system, Driver Monitoring System (DMS), Public Bus Tracking System and many others.

GPS tracker for bus & public transport is generally a technology solution that uses GPS (Global Positioning System) and GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) satellites to pinpoint the location of a specific vehicle in real-time. A GPS tracker is often used in the bus & public transportation industry to monitor and manage fleet of buses. The location of the vehicles is continuously monitored and streamed live to the KATSANA Fleet Management platform, allowing bus operators to know the exact location of their busses at any given time.

In the bus & public transport industry, a GPS tracker plays an integral part in a much larger suite of solutions. It is one of many components that make up a total Fleet Management System (FMS) or an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) that provide a myriad of services to bus operators, bus drivers, its stakeholders and more importantly the passengers.

What is Fleet Management System (FMS)?
A Fleet Management System such as KATSANA FMS is a comprehensive digital solution that helps fleet operators to manage and optimize their fleet of vehicles efficiently. An FMS provides the tools and technologies to monitor, track and manage various aspects of the fleet operation. A GPS tracker is an integral part of the components in an FMS system.

What is Intelligent Transport System (ITS)?
An Intelligent Transport System (ITS) when used on the context of bus and public transportation refers to the use of advanced and innovative technologies to improve the efficiency, safety and overall effectiveness of transportation networks. In comparison, while FMS refers to the management of vehicles, ITS refers to making public transportation more efficient. The primary goals of an ITS is to improve overall transportation experience, optimize traffic flow, reduce congestion, improve safety and minimize environmental impact.

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Bus operators rely on KATSANA fleet management solution for APAD compliance and to monitor their fleet effectively.
Bus operators rely on KATSANA fleet management solution for APAD compliance and to monitor their fleet effectively.

Why bus operators use KATSANA® GPS tracker for bus?

Most operators choose KATSANA® to track their busses, coaches and other modes of public transport because the solution is certified and endorsed to meet ICOP Safety Guideline introduced by Agensi Pengangkutan Awam Darat (APAD). This guidelines requires bus fleet operators to install and maintain GPS trackers on all busses as a mandatory component to renew APAD JPJ Permit.

After the installation of GPS trackers by our professional technicians, you as bus fleet operators will receive a certificate of compliance by KATSANA®. This certificate has to be submitted during renewal of your JPJ bus permit.

APAD (JPJ) Requirements for GPS Bus Tracker

KATSANA® GPS tracker for bus complies with APAD Permit Renewal and ICOP Bus Safety Code. The bus tracking solution is designed to be fully compliant to fulfill three primary regulations:

  1. APAD ICOP Code 11 Driver Logbook (Complied)
    Bus Fleet Operators are required to:
    a. Provide driving logbook record for every bus in their fleet.
    b. Make sure the bus drivers record bus movements and driver replacements in the logbook.
    c. The logbook need to contain
    – driver name
    – date and time of departure
    – date and time of arrival
    – date and time of resting
    – trip distance and
    – date, time and location of driver replacement
  2. APAD ICOP Code 13 GPS Tracker Installation (Complied)
    Bus Fleet Operator must ensure all buses are equipped with a bus GPS Tracker (such as KATSANA® GPS tracker)that is in working condition and able to monitor and record all trips or movements. The GPS tracker must be able to record speed and location of movement. KATSANA® GPS Tracking system is designed specifically to comply with APAD ICOP requirements. KATSANA® is the best solution for bus operators to ensure continuous safety of the bus and compliance with the regulation.
  3. APAD ICOP Code 14 GPS Tracker Monitoring and Surveillance (Complied)
    Fleet operators are required to:
    a. continuously monitor the speed of every bus while its in operation and take immediate action when a driver drives dangerously or exceeds legal speed limit.
    b. assess and inspect report provided by GPS tracking system.
    c. undertake disciplinary actions and/or counseling against drivers found to be driving recklessly on the road, and store all records of the disciplinary actions and/or counseling events.d. ensure no falsification or modification of GPS tracker speed & location records.

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Why is it important to use APAD-compliant KATSANA® GPS tracker for bus?

In the marketplace, GPS trackers come in different prices, features and capabilities. They are not all the same. Be wary when using non-compliant GPS trackers because it renders your bus fleet non-compliant with APAD regulations.

You must be wondering what differentiates regular GPS trackers to the GPS trackers by KATSANA®. There are many reasons why KATSANA® is selected to be the GPS Tracker for busses in Malaysia. Lets go one by one (view this page for a complete list):

  1. Compliant with all regulatory requirements based on APAD ICOP Safety & Industry Code of Practice handbook (Buku Panduan SPAD ICOP – Keselamatan dan Kod Amalan Industry SPAD – Keselamatan untuk Pengendali Bas).
  2. Compliance Certificate issued by KATSANA for APAD/JPJ ICOP Permit Renewal, recognized by JPJ.
  3. Fastest real-time bus location update, where location of bus is updated every 1-10 seconds. This ensures information received by the fleet operator is the most current. The operator is able to view the location on smartphones and web dashboard, enabling a deep analysis of their fleet statistics and performance.
  4. Overspeeding alert will be sent via mobile app (push notifications) and email to notify fleet operators when any of their drivers is speeding dangerously.
  5. Ability to share the real-time bus location to the public and passengers. A key differentiating feature in KATSANA is public-tracking feature, where the bus operator is able to share real-time location of the specific bus to the public. This is really helpful as it provides passengers and their family with Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), improving customer satisfaction for the bus operator.
  6. Driver Behavior Score and Driver Ranking using the renowned DriveMark algorithm that is adopted by insurers in Malaysia. The system integrates DriveMark driver scoring algorithm that provide bus operators with in depth analysis of the driving pattern including speed tendency, sudden braking, prolonged driving with no rest, and others. This scoring system is continuously improved for almost a decade since 2014, providing bus operators with precise understanding on driver risk and its impact to safety of the passengers and other road users.
  7. Downloadable GPS trace record with detailed speed, location and driver information data. This trace record is a compulsory submission when APAD ground officers detect dangerous driving behavior by a particular bus. APAD will request the bus operator to submit the GPS trace data for further investigation.
  8. Automated daily speed summary is sent to bus operator’s email for quick review on the day’s driving score.
  9. KATSANA stores the longest GPS trace (location) data storage in the industry. While other providers store between 1 to 3 months of location data, KATSANA stores up to 24 months of data, providing bus operators with peace of mind.
  10. As an optional upgrade, bus operators can opt to install audible overspeeding buzzer in the bus cabin. This will alert to bus driver in case he is unintentionally speeding.

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Beyond regulatory requirement, what are the benefits of using KATSANA® GPS trackers?

KATSANA GPS Tracker is part of a larger suite of vehicle operations solution that makes bus operations smoother, safer and more efficient.

While ability to track the location of buses comes as standard, bus operators rely on KATSANA for numerous other benefits such as:

Monitoring of bus routes with compliance & performance summary

  • KATSANA movement playback feature allows bus operators to review turn-by-turn movement of the vehicles of up to 2 years in the past. This ability is indispensable to quantify the performance of your drivers, and to ensure contractual compliance with your customers (if you are a contractor providing bus transport service to specific customers)

Monitoring Fuel Cost and Fuel Consumption

  • KATSANA helps you to keep tab on the fuel spending and fuel consumption of the busses, through fuel monitoring system capability. As fuel spending is one of the most significant expenses in fleet operation, KATSANA helps you to identify irregular fuel spending (including potential fuel theft incidents).
Fuel Monitoring System Dashboard by Katsana
Fuel Monitoring System Dashboard by Katsana

Keep track of scheduled maintenance and services digitally

  • As part of KATSANA Fleet Management System features, bus operators are able to keep track of past, overdue and upcoming service & maintenance actions for the bus. Regular and timely vehicle maintenance is important in maintaining optimal fuel economy and ensuring reliability of the vehicle over its entire lifespan.
Fleet Maintenance Dashboard
Fleet Maintenance Dashboard provides fleet operators with visibility of maintenance items and upcoming services

Real-time GPS bus tracking system for the public & university students

  • Developed specifically for shuttle bus operators, KATSANA Shuttle is a GPS bus tracking system that allows bus commuters and university students to keep track of bus location and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) through their smartphones. This system has been implemented with great result in several universities across Southeast Asia.
  • Look at how a Malaysian university, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn saved over RM200,000 after implementing KATSANA Shuttle system for their shuttle bus operation. Click here to read more about it.
KATSANA Shuttle - Real-time GPS bus tracking for university students
KATSANA Shuttle – Real-time GPS bus tracking for university students

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What are the examples of successful bus operators that use KATSANA® GPS trackers?

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Pahat (Malaysia) saved over RM200,000 when it discovers discrepancies with its shuttle bus service provider

KATSANA Shuttle Dashboard for Universities. Keep track of shuttle bus performance and service reliability.
KATSANA Shuttle Dashboard for Universities. Keep track of shuttle bus performance and service reliability.

UTHM is a public university in Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia. The university relied on several bus operators for the mobility of students in various campuses. The contractors were contractually obligated to serve a set number of trips and routes each day.

The problem: Students were complaining that the busses did not arrive on time, or worse, on some hours and days, completely non-existent. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of anxiety to students due to unreliable service, lack of visibility of the bus location and prevent students from arriving to lectures on time.

The solution: The university management decided to implement KATSANA Shuttle system, that is designed kill several birds with one stone.

  • Automated performance report for each bus contractor, allowing the university to keep track of their contractual performance. UTHM is now able to compare performance of all bus contractors, identify slacking providers, and implement improvement plans such as warning letter and worse, fine.
  • Real-time public bus tracking, enabling students to keep track of the bus location in real-time using smartphones.

Greenworld Travel Sdn Bhd reduces speeding summons and dangerous driving behavior – lowering operation costs

Greenworld Travel Sdn Bhd is a popular bus operator for the Genting Highlands route
Greenworld Travel Sdn Bhd saw significant reduction in traffic summons and improvement in fuel consumption after implementing KATSANA GPS Tracker for bus.

Greenworld Travel Sdn Bhd from the town of Sitiawan, Perak is a popular bus operator serving the Genting Highlands route. A loyal customer of KATSANA since 2014, Greenworld saw significant improvements of its operation cost after implementing KATSANA GPS Tracker for their fleet of buses.

The Problem: The bus operator lost thousands of ringgit in form of traffic summons every month due to dangerous driving (almost all of the summons were due to speeding along the dangerous mountain road of Genting). This dangerous driving behavior also consumes more fuel (driver uses higher RPM unnecessarily) when mere cruising speed suffice. The bus operator has no visibility on the performance of their drivers, and lack tools to allow better fleet management of their buses.

The Solution: Almost immediately after implementing KATSANA, the bus operator saw drastic drop in speeding incidences & traffic summons. The drivers know that they are now being monitored closely with detailed driving speed and behavior record stored in Katsana platform. The data allows bus operators to easily quantify and rank performance of drivers to discover outliers (such as the worst drivers against fuel consumption, or the best drivers overall etc).

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