When’s the bus coming? Text and find outMay 1st, 2014 by ed friedrich
Pretty soon, bus riders will be able to punch their bus stop
number into their cell phone and get a quick reply stating when the
bus will be there. One route can already do it.
Kitsap Transit is testing a new next-bus text messaging system on the No. 25 East Park route. Signs have been attached to the bus stops that include the stop’s number and a phone number. Text the number to (360) 550-3416 and you’ll get a reply detailing which bus routes serve the stop and at which times.
If your bus stop is down the street, for example, you can text in from the couch and see if you have time to finish watching Judge Judy.
The system is a bonus of automated passenger counters that were installed last year on routed and worker-driver buses. They send out side-by-side infrared beams and record when a person gets on or off, depending on which one is broken first.
Besides knowing when and where people get on or off the buses, transit officials will have information on how many people are on a bus at a certain time, how many get on or off at a specific stop and the buses’ on-time performance.
The devices were a huge priority of the transit board, which wanted a tool for matching service to demand.
The East Park test will run for a few weeks to see how riders like it and get any bugs out, said executive director John Clauson. Questions and comments can be made to (360) 373-2877. Riders will also be surveyed about their experiences.
The system’s vehicle locator ability could be expanded to electronic maps at transit centers showing where all the buses are, or electronic bulletin boards at ferry docks showing bus arrival times like at the airport.
“We’re just taking it one step at a time now, but we will look at it in the future,” Clauson said.