North Carolina-based Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) is offering a new tool for riders with their first real-time bus tracking system. Launching today, the GTA/Transloc bus tracker allows users to view the live status of any GTA or HEAT bus through an internet browser or a downloadable app. On the web page located at gtaheat.transloc.com, users will view distinctive-colored icons representing GTA and HEAT’s 27 daily and weekend routes updated several times per second.
Corresponding lines map the path of each route throughout Greensboro and nearby city, Jamestown along with arrows to distinguish direction of travel. A click on the icons will reveal the associated bus route number, name and unit number. A quick hover over any of the almost 1,100 bus stops will display the minutes remaining until the next two arrivals. Customers needing landmarks to help with navigation can simply turn on the Google Earth overlay for a satellite view of the surrounding area.
The downloadable app, available for iOS and Android, offers these same features in addition to the ability to set a mobile alarm that will alert the user when the bus is 15, 10 or even 5 minutes away. Using the phone’s location services, users can immediately identify the closest bus routes and stops and save favorites that will provide ongoing updates for travel.
Although GTA marketing research shows a vast majority of riders possess “smart” phones and devices, patrons with phones with a minimum of texting capability can also benefit from the GTA/Transloc bus tracking system. Users can send a text to 41411 and in the body of the text enter gtaheat **** where * is the 4-digit bus stop code. The user will immediately receive remaining times for the next two or three arrivals at the stop. For example, a text sent with gtaheat 4000 will return the impending arrivals at the J. Douglas Galyon Depot Transfer Center. For ease of identification, GTA is working to install numbers at each of the stops, but in the interim, users can obtain bus stop numbers from its specialized website, ridegta.com or by calling a help line.
“We are excited to offer enhanced technologies to our riders as long as it will greatly benefit the user” says Kevin Elwood, Marketing and Communications Manager for GTA. “The GTA/Transloc system will make trip planning and execution much easier for the frequent and casual rider. And when riding becomes easier, it becomes more popular.”