New technology will make it more convenient for transit riders to track when exactly their bus will arrive at their bus stop. Photo: Capital News files

Kelowna transit to adopt NextRide technology

Technology to reduce time lost waiting for the bus

The frustration of waiting for the bus is about to become more predictable thanks to digital technology.

Kelowna is one of several regional transit service centres across the province where BC Transit will implement real-time bus location NextRide technology.

NextRide uses Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) to provide customers with real-time data on the location of their bus and its predicted arrival time at a stop. With the introduction of this technology comes a responsive website, enabling passengers to plan their trips from an internet connected mobile device or desktop.

“The government of Canada recognizes how important investing in transit infrastructure is to building strong communities and economic growth,” said Amarjeet Sohi, federal minister of infrastructure and communities.

“I am very pleased to see NextRide technology coming on board in B.C. communities, which will make transit services more responsive, convenient and accessible to all users.”

On board the buses, passengers will now be able to see and hear upcoming stop information as they approach the next stop. These additional features are designed to make BC Transit accessible to all users.

Select major bus terminals will have wayside passenger information displays that will also visually display anticipated arrival times.

“These service upgrades will be hugely helpful for people who already ride the bus, and a great incentive for more people to start,” added B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena.

“We are committed to making BC Transit service more convenient and accessible, and I expect transit users will be thrilled with these improvements.”

The Regional District of Nanaimo will be the first to implement NextRide technology with a full launch of the new services in May. The Kelowna transit service will adopt the technology this fall.

Other community recipients will include Nanaimo, Comox Valley, Squamish, Whistler, Victoria and Kamloops.

NextRide data will allow BC Transit and its partners to better direct buses for schedule reliability and to more easily push alerts out to customers in the case of detours, accidents or other events that may delay regular routing, says BC Transit president and chief executive officer Manuel Achadinha.

Strategic Mapping, Inc. has been contracted to install and monitor the technology. Funding for this project is derived from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), which was announced in June 2016 by the federal and provincial governments.

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