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SEPTA on track for real-time bus info

SEPTA has a cure for the bus stop blues. "We're very close to rolling out our full-scale program for real-time bus information," according to SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch. SEPTA's BusView will revolutionize rider experience, using GPS tracking and online maps to provide detailed data on the current whereabouts of street level public transit. The BusView beta version is now live, with just two routes, 33 and 109. The system recognizes the position of buses every three minutes, and then BusView refreshes location information. The full scale version is just weeks away from rollout. Busch says, "Getting this type of real-time online feature for buses is a big undertaking. We have approximately 120 bus routes and 15,000 bus stops throughout the system, so it's a lot of data to process and get organized into something that is both reliable and user-friendly." 

SEPTA already offers a Regional Rail tracking function called TrainView, but it's a basic list of trains and status, not the enhanced map BusView promises. There's a mobile version of TrainView -- no word at this time whether BusView will provide info on the go as well. The big difference between the two modes of transit, and the reason BusView offers such great value to riders, is traffic variability. Buses, unlike their rail-bound counterparts, are subject to countless delays due to congestion, construction and accidents.

To use the prototype version of BusView, a rider calls up the master map, selects the bus route from a pull down menu at the top of the page, and clicks on a bus icon to see the actual number of the bus en route, the direction the bus is traveling, and the time the bus reported being at a specific location. Busch says BusView aims to be "a comprehensive, regular resource for our riders covering all bus routes."

Source: Andrew Busch, SEPTA
Writer: Sue Spolan
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