Have you been stuck waiting for a bus that was running behind schedule?
While BC Transit might not be able to control each delay, it’s aiming to help transit riders plan their trips more efficiently with its new NextRide real-time bus location technology.
Launched in Whistler on Tuesday, July 24, NextRide uses Automatic Vehicle Location technology to provide users with real-time data on the location of their bus and its predicted arrival time at stops along their selected route, as well as any alerts like detours or road closures.
Riders can access the technology from their smartphones or computers through BC Transit’s website. They’ll see a small bus icon represent their bus’ location, with that image being refreshed around every few seconds.
“This was one of our action items back in 2012, so I’m super excited to see it come into being now. I can retire in peace,” said outgoing Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden with a laugh. “The Resort Municipality of Whistler is absolutely thrilled to be one of the seven communities where BC Transit is implementing NextRide.”
The technology has already been rolled out in Nanaimo and Comox Valley. It was launched in Squamish on Tuesday as well, and will arrive in Kamloops, Kelowna and Victoria later this year.
NextRide is one of several initiatives highlighted in the Transportation Advisory Group’s Transportation Action Plan to make it easier for residents, employees and visitors to use public transit in Whistler, added Wilhelm-Morden.
Currently, about 80 per cent of BCTransit.com’s traffic is coming from smart devices, explained said Neil Corbett, program manager for BC Transit’s Smart Bus initiative, during the program’s Whistler launch at the Gondola Exchange.
“One of the top priorities for transit customers is to have a reliable system,” he said. “This really changes that reliability; we move from scheduling to being able to see their buses in real time … Being able to track your bus is going to change the way we travel.”
The initiative comes as a result of a partnership between BC Transit and municipal governments. The initiative also received funding from the federal government's public transit infrastructure fund.