This is the ultimate in those if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em stories. Edmonton Transit in introducing ‘smart bus’ technology to its 928 vehicle fleet so you can track where your bus is on every route, has listened to its customers and adopted the app from the competition.
“Transit App” is the favorite of the riders. Even to the point where the vast majority of users chose that private sector option, instead of the app the ETS was providing. So said a survey of 8,000.
Chief Operating Officer for Transit App, Jake Sion told a news conference that they and Edmonton Transit have over the last few months been working on ways to help each other. Data is being shared so ETS users can have a good app to ride with, while Transit App has an even better product to pitch to other markets.
“What ETS has done, and we’ve been very happy to work with them on is almost to create another model for other agencies across Canada,” Sion told reporters. “We know what we’re good at, and what Transit App is good at and we’re going to work in the best interests of our customers”
“There are definitely cities across North America where we’re doing something similar. The extent of our relationship with ETS has been more involved in what we’ve done elsewhere, especially in Canada and we’re looking forward to doing that in other places too.”
ETS general manager Eddie Robar said they’re working on service notification data, so the Transit App can tell you in real time how much more you’ll have to wait, when things are running late.
“As we start pushing towards that real time information it’s really about developing a frame work where they get that instantaneously. If a bus breaks down on the street obviously that time will start creeping up and you’ll see that now, but pushing those service alerts and getting to that point is kind of the next evolution of the product.”
It’s a question Robar said of taking the service reliability question of ETS buses being early if they’re one minute ahead of schedule, or late if they’re five minutes behind, and getting to the industry standard of three minutes on either side of the equation.
“We’re looking at the way we’re providing on-street operations, with a real focus over the next year to develop a frame work in-house to make sure we’re supporting that on-street operation, and service reliability every day. We have to change the way we do things inside of operations to do that, and we’ll be really focused on making sure that that happens.”