Oakville Transit launches real-time bus tracking system

Residents waiting for an Oakville Transit bus now have the ability to know exactly when it will reach their stop.

Oakville Transit introduced a real-time bus tracking system during a presentation at their facility on Wyecroft Road, Wednesday.

The real-time tracking is a web-based tool that uses GPS data to predict the arrival time of buses and is available to customers for use on their computer or smartphone.

Residents can access this tracking system by using the Bus Finder tool at www.oakvilletransit.ca or downloading the Oakville Transit app available in the iTunes App Store for Apple devices and in Google Play for Android devices.

“This is important because it provides customers with actual times. Paper schedules, which have always existed, create an expectation that often can’t be met because transit operates most often in mixed traffic, it is subject to weather, road conditions, traffic congestion. Those things impact our ability to maintain a schedule so if you tell a customer in a paper schedule the bus will be here at 4 p.m. and it doesn’t get there until 4:10 p.m., you have disappointed the customer,” said Barry Cole, Oakville Transit director.

“Real-time information manages the expectations better because it says to the customer ‘If you go out to the stop now you can expect that bus to be there in two minutes.’ Real-time information allows customers to plan their trips and provides them the opportunity to spend less time standing at a bus stop, looking down the street, wondering when their bus is going to come. That is the real advantage.”

Cole said the tracking system would make management of the transit service more proactive, efficient and effective.

“Traveling by transit in Oakville is about to become a whole lot easier,” he said.

The system’s Track by Text feature allows customers to text their bus stop number to find out when the next bus will arrive.

They can also sign up to receive personalized bus arrival information alerts via email or text.

“For nine, 10 years we’ve been dreaming of this,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

“Before Uber thought of it we had a dream you would be able to find your bus coming to you on your smartphone…that day has arrived and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Real-time bus tracking is a feature of Oakville Transit’s new Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) designed to make riding the bus easier and more accessible for everyone.

ITS also includes digital signs inside buses displaying next stop information, automated voice announcements telling passengers which stop is coming up next and large digital signs displaying real-time departure information at four key transit hubs-Oakville and Bronte GO stations, Sheridan College and the Uptown Core terminal.

Cole said the real-time tracking system also means Oakville Transit supervisors will be able to watch the progress of buses across Oakville and therefore will be able to identify and deal with any problems faster.

Oakville Transit staff said the tracking system took around two years to put in place at a cost of around $2 million.

For more information about real-time bus tracking visit www.oakvilletransit.ca.

Content courtesy The Oakville Beaver

Brandon Jones

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