The Client

ComfortDelGroCabcharge (CDC) is a joint venture between ComfortDelGro, one of the largest land transport companies in the world, and Cabcharge is one of the top 200 companies in Australia.

CDC is the largest private bus operator in NSW, and operates the Hillsbus, Westbus and Hunter Valley Bus services. In greater Sydney and the Hunter Valley area, the Company has a fleet of 1,176 buses, 13 depots and 1,450 employees.

ComfortDelGroCabcharge (CDC) Logo




Greater Sydney, New South Wales

The Challenge

CDC’s Hillsbus division operates Region 4 – one of fifteen Bus Contract Regions in the Sydney metropolitan area. Commonly known as the ‘Hills District’, Region 4 is the fifth largest contract area in terms of population and covers approximately 66,600 hectares.

Managing a fleet of 540 buses, each day Hillsbus provides up to 800 bus services, to and from the Sydney CBD as well as passenger transport services to western and northwest Sydney.

Following CDC’s opening of a new $500,000 Operations and Customer Centre (OCC) at Seven Hills, CDC engaged Mastercom to provide new communications infrastructure that would leverage new technologies, enhance customer travel experience, improve security on buses and create further efficiencies in service delivery.

The Approach

Mastercom engineered a solution using The Orion Network that would facilitate integrated digital voice and data communications between CDC’s new OCC in Seven Hills, its bus depots and bus drivers, including:

  • Transition of CDC’s fleet of 540 buses from a superseded analogue radio system to The Orion Network – Australia’s largest digital commercial two way radio platform, powered by Motorola’s MOTOTRBO™ Connect Plus digital mobile radio technology (DMR).
  • Establishment of multiple talk paths to provide flexible, rapid communication options to OCC operators, drivers, depots, supervisors and mechanics.
  • Implementation of TRBOnet – a fleet management application designed specifically to support dispatch centre operations – with direct access to The Orion Network via Motorola XRT9000 voice and data gateways.
  • Direct visibility of bus location, speed and status to allow proactive management of services.
  • Creation of ‘geofences’ – virtual boundaries drawn on digital road maps, which record bus arrival and departure times to allow detailed reporting of bus activities.
  • Establishment of pre-defined voice and text messages to enable drivers to provide real time status notifications to the OCC including “bus full” or “behind schedule” updates.
  • Automation of critical data collection to support new reporting requirements of the NSW Metropolitan Bus Service Contracts (MBSC).
  • Installation of a custom duress function to enable drivers to call for help, which instigates an automated email broadcast to a response group with bus location map.
  • Full voice recording functionality enhances emergency response efforts, with the ability for OCC operators to open an individual radio and listen to what is occurring.

The Result

Improved safety and operational efficiencies

  • Better street level network coverage across challenging CBD environments with enhanced voice clarity.
  • Dramatic improvements in response time have been reported with the ability to provide real time information to customers seeking service updates.
  • Automated text messaging has significantly improved communication efficiency between bus drivers and the Control Centre, reducing lag time for drivers requiring assistance.
  • Constant visibility of all vehicles once they leave the depot.
  • The ability to enact emergency response via text, email and voice command.

Cost efficiencies

  • Co-ordination of a staged installation schedule to minimise service disruptions.
  • Fixed communication costs provide certainty when budgeting for future operations – with no additional charges for variable talk times or volume of traffic.
  • Ability to re-route buses based on traffic status via an automated Control Centre message.

Future proofed

  • CDC now has the ability to measure performance against new benchmarks established by the NSW Government’s Metropolitan Bus Service Contracts, and the solution complies with the standards of the Transport NSW Customer Commitment Charter.
  • Future capacity to promptly inform registered customers of changes to services via text message and onboard displays/announcements.
  • Ability to remotely reprogram and upgrade radio terminal software reduces downtime and removes the need to return vehicles to the workshop for system updates.
  • The Orion Network’s partnership with Motorola ensures future access to the latest technologies and data applications without the need to change infrastructure or terminal hardware.

What ComfortDelGroCabcharge (CDC) Had To Say:

"CDC has raised the benchmark for Australian bus industry communications, making a significant investment in digital voice and data infrastructure to ensure safety and operational efficiencies. Mastercom’s ongoing partnership with CDC is critical to the Company’s commitment to improve customer experience while providing a reliable, safe and efficient travel service."