Catching a bus gets easier
LTC riders can now get real-time details about their bus via computer or cellphone
Taking the bus just got a lot easier for the 75,000 Londoners who use public transit.
The second phase of London Transit’s smart bus technology program was announced Friday, with passengers now able to access real-time information — from their computer or a cellphone — about a bus’s location.
“We’re trying to make it convenient and easy so you can determine, at your convenience, what bus you want to catch and when,” said Gary Williams, vice-chair of the London Transit Commission (LTC).
The system’s website now allows riders to obtain real-time information about their bus locations and arrival times.
Choosing their route, direction and bus stop from a drop-down menu, riders can find the times the next three buses will arrive at their stop.
The website also features an interactive live map that allows users to see where their bus is in the city, where it’s going and where it stops.
Passengers who are out and about can also get real-time information about their bus using their cellphone, by calling 519-451-1347 and entering their stop number. Using interactive voice-recognition technology, riders can find out when their bus is expected to arrive .
Rachel Lee, who takes the bus to and from work daily, said she’d definitely use the LTC’s website and mobile features if the information is accurate.
“It’s a good idea, I’d probably use it as long as it works,” Lee said.
Larry Ducharme, LTC’s general manager, said London Transit has been testing its web and cellphone features for the last six months and doesn’t expect any glitches.
“We’re very, very pleased . . . blending what we do as humans with technology is good for (customers) and business,” he said.
The money for the $6.5-million enhancement came from the 2006 federal public transit capital trust and the Ontario government’s gas tax program.
Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best attended Friday’s unveiling of the new technology, along with other local politicians.
The technology “brings us to a new level,” DeCicco-Best said, adding city council could not have achieved its transit goals without the help of the senior governments.
Phase one of the smart bus program began in 2008 and included the addition of audio and visual stop announcements on the buses and automatic, on-street information signs.
Ducharme said he hopes to see further enhancements to the public transit system in future, including technology that allows buses to receive priority at traffic lights and on the roads.
DeCicco-Best said that with government aid, council plans to expand the transit system as the city expands.
“This is just the start of things to come.”
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