Too often, riders are left waiting for a bus that may be early, late, or may never show up because of unforeseen issues. The stakes are too high for transit riders to have to guess when their bus will arrive. With the advent of technologies such as Google Maps, mobile phone applications, and vehicle tracking, it is possible to provide transit riders with up-to-date schedules as well as real-time bus and streetcar departure information from virtually anywhere.

We have long advocated for the installation of reliable hardware that can provide this data and for an open data policy that allows this data to be used by outside app developers. This is important as it gives individual riders a chance to use the system in a smarter, more informed manner. But it’s critical even for riders without access to an app as it will significantly improve the information given by the RTA’s Ride Line and will also be used internally to better identify bottlenecks and other problems areas to target for improvements.

Installation of the reliable real-time hardware – called CAD/AVL – began on transit vehicles in 2017. As of Spring 2018, installation is almost finished, and the RTA has started beta testing on a new Go Mobile app that doubles as a real-time transit vehicle locator and an improved payment platform.

We continue closely monitoring the rollout and anticipate a public implementation of the new system before the end of 2018 – and hopefully well before.