MTA To Retrofit Buses With GPS Tracking

Bx 31
If the MTA has its way, their bus fleet will have GPS tracking in the future. Bx 31 departing Westchester Square. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit.

The last time I wrote about the MTA’s desire to retrofit their buses with GPS tracking was in November 2008 when the agency’s plan stalled due to the contractor being beyond schedule. 3 days ago, NYU’s university paper, Washington Square News had a report saying the agency is once again looking to get the plan in motion. Feiye Wang has more:

Commuting through the city may soon be a little less hectic with the help of a new program under development by the MTA that will provide tracking information for buses to passengers via GPS.

According to the MTA, the system is designed to eventually allow passengers to receive updates about their bus’ status, either on their cell phones or at their bus stops.

The public information system will get its data from another recent MTA project, Smart Cards — computer-embedded fare cards that allow passengers to tap rather than swipe to pay for transit. Each tap will be registered in a central server and will be used to determine the position of a given bus.

The project, however, is still in its early test phases and so far only eight MTA bus routes have been outfitted with the new Smart Card system.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, “The purpose of the pilot is to test the technology on several fronts, mainly interoperability and performance of equipment and software, cards and readers, and bus and subway in terms of availability, speed and processing/aggregation rules.”

He added: “We are commissioning a server which receives relatively raw location and other data from the bus, integrates it with route and schedule data, and provides the results.”

Click here for the complete report.

As I noted in that entry, it is a shame that our system lacks such common technology. Our system is arguably the most important & complex in the entire world yet we lag far behind others in terms of technology. Hopefully this program gets off the ground & our system catches up with the technology & needs of today’s riders.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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