Friday, December 06, 2013
Bear Bus locator app now available for mobile devices
As winter weather approaches, Oakland University’s Bear Bus system is launching a free and convenient service that will help campus riders minimize their wait times in cold and inclement conditions.
Students, faculty and staff looking to make their way quickly across campus can now download a mobile app that provides real-time, GPS tracking of the Bear Bus system’s six shuttle vehicles. A free, web-based version of the software also is available.
Displaying shuttle locations on a campus map with three shuttle routes highlighted, the TransLoc Transit Visualization software can provide users with an estimated time of arrival for the next shuttle at any stop.
Jim Zentmeyer, director of university housing, said the app will help answer the question that Bear Bus managers and drivers get most frequently by far – namely, “When will the next bus arrive at this stop?”
“Building this technology into our system will make riding the Bear Bus a much more user friendly experience,” Zentmeyer said. “The software is incredibly easy to use, and the information it provides is really valuable – particularly to riders who use the more remote parking lots on campus.”
For riders who do not use smart phones, the tracking system will respond to text message requests for the estimated arrival time of the next shuttle at any stop. In addition, all app users receive updates and special announcements that will help them plan their shuttle usage.
Bear Bus manager Abuhassanali Young said that even before the launch of the tracking system, Bear Bus usage has increased from less than 17,000 rides last year to more than 40,000 rides estimated for this year.
Both Young and Zentmeyer advise that the system still has capacity for many more riders. This is good news, given that the tracking system will likely encourage regular use by more people within the campus community.
Bear Bus services are free to any Oakland student and faculty or staff member. For additional information on bus stop locations, schedules and more, visit the website at oakland.edu/bearbus or contact a representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.