January 22, 2013

Calif.’s Omnitrans launches real time info

Omnitrans launched new NexTrip technology, enabling riders to text, click or call to access real-time information.

Riders can access NexTrip real-time bus information via mobile web browser, desktop computer, SMS/text, or calling 1-800-9-OMNIBUS and selecting the NexTrip option. Online, customers can view buses and stops on a route map with real-time tracking. They even can sign up for automatic alerts, such as notification when the bus is five minutes away.

Omnitrans CEO/GM Milo Victoria was instrumental in bringing the new technology to the agency. “We introduced this in D. C., while I was at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and our riders absolutely loved it. So, I promised our board we would implement it at Omnitrans,” he said.

To use NexTrip, customers simply provide their bus stop location information by bus route, direction and intersection or an Omnitrans bus stop number, located on all bus stop signs. GPS-enabled phones can automatically provide information for the closest bus stop. Omnitrans will install new signs with complete NexTrip contact information in mid-2013.  The signs will feature a QR code riders can scan, providing yet another option to access arrival times.

A small group of Omnitrans customers tested the system in early January and gave NexTrip rave reviews. “I like knowing almost exactly when the next bus was coming to my stop.” said hospice volunteer Krystal Wheeler of San Bernardino.

“The text system is very easy to use. It helps me pace my walk after work so I’m not spending a lot of time standing around at the stop,” said Chaffey College student Marcus Garcia of Chino Hills.

In 2014, Omnitrans will roll out NexTrip electronic message signs on all 23 station platforms on the agency’s sbX bus rapid transit line, now under construction in San Bernardino and Loma Linda.  Real-time information signs will be added to major transfer centers in the Omnitrans system as well.

The NexTrip system uses Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking satellites and advanced computer modeling developed by Nextbus, Inc. of Emeryville, California to provide accurate arrival information for all 2,500 bus stops in the Omnitrans fixed route bus system.  Taking into account the actual location of the buses, their intended stops, and the typical traffic patterns, NexTrip estimates arrivals with a high degree of accuracy.


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