Starting this week, TTC riders will be able to check two different apps to get real-time bus crowding information.
The feature, which is intended to promote physical distancing, will go live on Friday, April 16. As of April 13, 732 TTC employees have contracted COVID-19, and 128 employees are currently in self-isolation.
According to the TTC, most buses are already equipped with Automatic Passenger Counting — devices that use infrared lights at the doors to count the number of passengers who board and exit the buses. This data will now be shared with Rocketman and Transit, who will then display one, two, or three grey person icons with the information on the next few approaching buses to indicate how crowded the bus is.
“This new feature will go a long way to helping customers feel safe on our bus network and helping riders feel comfortable when riding the TTC,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. “By providing volume data, the TTC is giving our riders an extremely useful tool to use when planning their trips on our bus system.”
One icon signifies the bus is at 0-30% capacity — up to 15 people on a standard bus or 23 people on an articulated bus.
Two icons indicate that the bus is at 30-80% capacity — 15 to 40 riders on a standard bus or 23-54 on an articulated bus.
Three icons indicate that the bus is very busy and is at greater than 80% capacity. This means more than 40 customers on a standard bus or more than 54 on an articulated bus.
Standard buses can typically hold up to 51 riders and articulated buses up to 77.
“We know our bus network is unique in the challenges it faces at this time,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “The vehicles are smaller than our other modes and serve high-density parts of the City where many people are working in essential front-line jobs. These apps will give customers valuable information to assess their own comfort while planning and taking trips.”
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Although most TTC buses have automatic passenger counting installed, about 34 of them do not. If one of these buses is approaching your stop, no icons will appear on the apps.
According to the TTC, the bus crowding feature on the apps is being introduced to promote physical distancing but will remain a permanent feature even once the pandemic is over.
Both the Rocketman and Transit apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.