Salt Lake City’s University of Utah is offering a new service for students, faculty and staff that allows them to track shuttle buses so accurately that they may never miss a bus again. The new cell phone texting feature added to the "Live Shuttle Tracker" features a global positioning system, allowing access to a real-time shuttle map to anyone with a cell phone.
The new tracker is designed specifically for text messaging. It allows users to simply send a text and receive an immediate response providing information on buses arriving at their current location.
The new feature works much like the existing Website, where users with access to the Internet can pinpoint the exact location of shuttle buses on campus. Now a person can text the characters "uofubus" and a corresponding number for the stop they want to 41411. Users are asked to remember to include a space between "uofubus" and the number of the stop they want to check for arrivals.
The university's shuttle system has more than 2.5 million riders per year on 21 different routes throughout the university campus and Research Park. Sustainability efforts by the university's Commuter Services have made the shuttles more popular in the last few years. The increase in demand for the service requires new technology that enhances the reliability and convenience of the shuttle system.
The text message route finder is proving to be extremely valuable and likely will be expanded to include additional stops in the future.
"This service is brand-new and many people on campus are already finding it to be very useful," said Collin Simmons, assistant supervisor of Commuter Services. "It is already receiving an average of 500 uses per day and we expect that to rise once word spreads about its availability."