A blast of technology has taken the mystery out of waiting for the bus.
BC Transit has launched its NextRide system across the Greater Victoria Region, allowing passengers to see live updates of bus locations, get alerts and better plan routes through a more advanced GPS mapping system.
NextRide is a web-based program accessed by going to bctransit.com and clicking on the blue “NextRide” button. From there, passengers can select specific bus routes and bus stops to track upcoming buses. Passengers can also use a route-planning option to decide the best way to get to a desired location.
Along with the GPS tracking, upgrades to the bus fleet offer more accessibility options, including audio cues both on the exterior and interior of the bus, as well as visual cues announcing which stop is coming up.
“The added accessibility features of visual scrolls and audible stop announcements will be a great benefit to our riders who are hearing or sight impaired,” said Susan Brice, chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.
The website requires wifi or data to operate rather than an offline app, a decision that Neil Corbett, director of smart technology said allows for easier accessibility to updates and better cross-reference with apps like Google Maps. He added that currently, more than 80 per cent of people accessing the BC Transit website do so using a smartphone or tablet.
“We’re still looking at wifi on the bus, that’s something TransLink is doing, it’s something we’re investigating,” Corbett said. “But at this point in time it’s just the mobile app that you can check before you leave the house or if you have a data plan.”
NextRide technology is now tracking all 294 operating buses in the Greater Victoria fleet.
Coming up next, BC Transit is working on upgrading the fare operating systems in the Capital Region to allow for cashless fare, which could be installed by 2020.
Do you think you will use the new transit app? Take our poll and let us know.