Big Blue Bus making real-time signs, lighting, and Wi-Fi upgrades

Posted on February 15, 2019

More than 500 BBB customers participated in an online survey that enabled them to vote for upgrades at their preferred bus stop locations.
Photo via BBB/Clean Energy
More than 500 BBB customers participated in an online survey that enabled them to vote for upgrades at their preferred bus stop locations.Photo via BBB/Clean Energy

Santa Monica, California’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) announced the retrofit of 190 high-volume bus stops with solar-powered real-time signs and LED lights. The advancements are underway and expected to be completed by mid-2019.

Also, BBB customers can now access free Wi-Fi onboard 19 of its newest 40-foot buses. BBB plans to retrofit additional buses and moving forward, Wi-Fi will be standard on all new buses.

“Through our community engagement efforts, our customers helped us prioritize investments, which included Wi-Fi, improved bus stop safety through lighting and the addition of real-time information,” said Ed King, director, transit services. “In revamping the 190 high-volume stops, we aim to enhance the customer experience by taking the guesswork out of riding transit. The new additions combined with existing real-time signs means that 76 percent of all Big Blue Bus customers will soon have access to bus arrival information.”

The solar-powered real-time signs with LED lights will be installed at 166 City of Los Angeles bus stops and 10 City of Santa Monica large bus shelters. Additionally, solar-powered LED lights will be added to 14 small bus shelters in Santa Monica. In total, these stops average 26,908 daily pick-ups — each weekday, improving the bus stop experience for 61% of all customers systemwide.

More than 500 BBB customers participated in an online survey that enabled them to vote for upgrades at their preferred bus stop locations. Customers provided substantial feedback on safety and performance. In addressing an essential need for improved safety, reliability of information, and convenience in BBB’s service area, customers can look forward to the following:

Enhanced Customer Safety

  • Equipped with two push-button activated LED lights.
  • Increased customer safety and enhanced customer visibility in low light conditions.

Greater Access to Real-Time Information

  • Bus arrival information can be easily read in daylight.
  • When the push-button is activated, a text-to-speech audio annunciator will inform customers when the next bus is arriving.
  • Information displayed will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act character size requirements.
  • Signs will be programmed to display timely information about detours and bus stop closures.

The real-time signs, lights and audio are powered by renewable energy, which is generated through solar panels located above each sign. The signs are fully manufactured in the U.S., using recycled aluminum and non-toxic batteries.

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